META: Re: Garbage (apparently non-recyclable)

Damien Broderick (
Thu, 24 Jul 1997 14:46:05 +0000

At 04:38 PM 7/23/97 -0400, danny wrote:

>Somebody posted about an allignment on 5/5/2000 and I posted something on how
>people believe that allignment will cause a pole shift. Big deal! Lighten

Danny, work with us here, huh?

I made the original posting.

In it, I reported that an episode of the cult TV show `Millennium' had
claimed that a fantastically infrequent linear alignment of seven planets
would occur at that date (and dramatised the claim, allegedly showing us
viewers its truth on a Net-accessed orrery). I made my posting for two

1) While I found it extremely unlikely that such a coincidence would occur
shortly, I didn't have access to any astronomical database that would help
me test my doubt. Luckily, a number of extropians did indeed provide the
answer - which was, not surprisingly, that any `alignment' was so diffuse
and impressionistic that the image of a string of planets stretching
outward from the sun on 5/5/2000 was a blatant and misleading invention of
the scriptwriters. (Yes, it's fiction, but there's a dangerous DMZ between
willing-suspension-of-disbelief and misinformation.)

2) I knew that all manner of boneheads are concocting and promulgating all
manner of truly stupid memes linked to a year 2000/2001 `apocalypse'.
Among these is the good old Theosophical standby about polar flipflops, but
I didn't need to spell this out because everyone here is aware of the
deluge of crap washing back and forth through the badly trained brains of
many of the world's literate and semi-literate but essentially uneducated

I was initially concerned, therefore, that if an astronomical coincidence
of this kind was indeed due - as, it turns out, it isn't - we would be in
for a rough time as the boneheads ran around in circles squealing and
pointing at the sky. Hale-Bopp beam-me-up Redivivus, big time.

I did not anticipate that my sceptical scientific inquiry would start the
squealing here and now *on the extropian list*. That is, my post was not a
troll. But by golly it certainly chased some funny looking critters out
from the undergrowth. :(

Damien Broderick