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The ‘Reality’ of 2012

With the year 2012 fast approaching, the Institute for Human Continuity has announced that after “more than two decades of rigorous research from the world’s top astronomers, mathematicians, geologists, physicists, anthropologists, engineers, futurists…we know in 2012 a series of cataclysmic forces will wreak havoc on our planet.” In response, they have begun a series of initiatives aimed at ensuring ‘human continuity’ beyond the disaster, the details of which can be found on their website.

Now before you busily grab a shovel and start construction of your bunker, it’s worth pointing out that the IHC website is just a piece of viral marketing for Roland Emmerich’s upcoming disaster movie 2012 (along with and But the site is so well constructed and straight-faced that some are now saying – including Caltech planet-hunter Mike Brown – that it tips over the line from marketing into a dangerous hoax:

Brown found some spam among his email, an ominous missive that purports to be from the director of the Institute for Human Continuity. It warns: “The IHC has uncovered evidence indicating that the disasters of 2012 are both real and unavoidable. We believe with 94% certainty that … cataclysmic events will devastate our planet and many who inhabit it. December 21, 2012 cannot be ignored.”

A link in the email to the IHC’s supposed web site actually takes you to a site that is so cleverly designed, an unsuspecting person who doesn’t recognize the actors on the page might think the IHC is real, that the end is near, and that buying a ticket (to somewhere, on something, who knows?) is the only hope of survival.

…Brown, who is a pretty smart guy, admits that unlike many doomsday websites designed by quacks, it took him a while to figure out this web site is a fake.

“It is slick. It is professional. There is no obvious sign anywhere that this is the work of kooks,” he said.

The LiveScience story also inspired a follow-up which discusses the Planet X/Nibiru claims, and references NASA space expert David Morrison’s FAQ on the topic. It all makes for interesting reading – personally I’ve never seen too much of substance in the 2012 meme (and it seems a majority of TDG readers agree), but if you’ve got some good resources or insights to the contrary feel free to discuss in the comments section.

So what do you think – does the marketing for 2012 cross the line?

  1. nah
    It’s pretty clear it’s all just a marketing campaign. The Sony Pictures copyright is on the bottom of the page, and the people are obviously actors.


  2. IHC???
    Here in the good old Zealand of New the IHC stands for Intellectually Handicapped… is this an indication of the level of stupidity one may have to believe this hoax? 😉

  3. Yeah,
    the Sony text at the


    the Sony text at the bottom of the page is a pretty clear message about what the site is about. I don’t really think that marketing of that (prolly really terrible) movie is crossing any lines.

    The whole 2012-thing is personally interesting to me, because that date happens to be my birthday. It would really suck if Emmerich’s vision is right, because it wouldn’t be nice to party while the world is ending.

    On the other hand everybody would remember those parties for a really long time (if there’s anyone around to remember anything)…

    All the best,

    1. Agreed
      Sony Pictures, clear as day at the bottom of the page.

      So they’re going with the Nibiru/Planet X angle? Personally I would have preferred a scenario in which the Sun were the culprit of all the feared havok —something which I personally think might be closer to the truth, if indeed we’re going to experience something out of the ordinary in that specific date.

      Still, the philosophical implications of using a lottery system to choose the people who get a chance to survival makes me want to see this movie —even though the idea is not original, since it was already used in the movie “Deep Impact”, which was much better than “Armageddon”.

      To me, what makes these apocalyptic movies interesting is not how reliable they are in predicting possible Doomsday scenarios, but how they portray the dynamics of society in dealing wit such scenarios. That’s what catches my attention.

      It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
      It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

      Red Pill Junkie

  4. Lottery anyone?
    Even for the visually challenged, c’mon, a lottery? You think there’d be a slickly funded task force that puts up a lottery for human survival? an online lottery? Wanna buy some Florida real estate?

    Meanwhile, back at Nbiru, there is a wonderful thread in the Usenet archives circa 1989 where there’s this flame-bait group headed by one ‘Nancy’ who swarmed into sci.astro with a wonderful plan: being primarily engineers, scientists, academics and sci-fi buffs, ie folks who just can’t take a joke no matter how dead obvious (skepticists) the Nancy crew could easily bait them into a mock-debate over the then-encroaching Dark Star said to be headed our way for … wait for it … Y2K!!!

    but to keep it interesting, there was some other body/ship/moonrock that was hurling towards earth, due to hit within a reasonable panic-scale stretch of time. Within the year, iirc, despite it being said to then sit out beyond Saturn.

    It is visible if you go to co-ordinates X,Y” they’d claim, “We refuse to look!!” say the Scientists and the trap is set. It was debated like Cold Fusion as to whether there was any point in looking, and every time anyone would type an utterance that could in any way be snipped out of context and construed as ‘supporting opinion’, said scientist would find their name on the Planet X website signing a glowing endorsement!

    It was hilarious. Weeks went by. I tuned in every single day. “It is NOT” and “It is TOO” and finally the date and time and impact location was boldly stated and …

    why the sci.astro people could not realize that their very best strategy would have been to ignore the flame bait was completely beyond my understanding, but I didn’t know then what I now know about human behaviour and it’s special sort of primal logic 😉

    Finally I figured it was enough, its fun to meddle with the minds of small creatures but someone had to step in and stop it before it became nasty torture of defenseless Scientismists. I called the bluff and pronounced the “impact date” as nothing more than a performance opening at some theatre somewhere by some troupe of actors who have this space-themed event planned. It was, I said, marketing PR, nothing more.

    I don’t know if that had any bearing on the situation, but after my post, the Nancy posts switched off like a light, never to return (until new incarnations resurrected the technique many moons later). Planet X of course lived on in Sitchin et al,

    I was inspired. I wanted to call my band “The Darkstar Orchestra” but sadly the name was already taken, in honour of the Greatful Dead song.

    1. Another possible band title:
      The Nibiru Trolls 😀

      It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
      It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

      Red Pill Junkie

      1. Countdown to 2012
        NBC Peacock Productions approached me on their new little gig – “Countdown to 2012” – the fellow knew NOTHING about the Maya, only from what he heard from others he had spoken to on the phone or what he had read on websites. I told him that modern man has interpreted the ancient Maya – mathematical models have been made from tripping on shrooms and the Chinese ICHING (hexagonal geometry) – and that Egypt (the Sphinx marketing boys are saying that Osiris is going to rise and the Hall of Records are going to be opened – crock of crap) has nothing to do with the Maya and their Moon count and —– well – obviously it was a young fellow who only was into money and sensationalism and no truth – He had never heard of the Wall of Inscriptions in Tikal – never been to Central America – nothing —– this 2012 thing is blown out of proportion and another money making thing like when 2000 turned (except there were real problems with some computers due to the programming)……..

        There will be some Sun spots and the cycle of Mother Nature swinging, but all of this is new age stuff designed for the gullible who need some thing to entertain them – they are not necessarily searching for the truth – they are looking for an adrenalin rush and entrepreneurs and authors are gearing up for their likeliness con of the Moonshine Man.


        Dr. Colette M. Dowell ND
        Circular Times

    2. lottery bad
      I have a better scam than the lottery: life insurance.

      Your next of kin will only be paid if you die due to the end of the world.

      It is not how fast you go
      it is when you get there.

      1. Multi-billionaire!
        Earthling – if you advertised your life insurance scam, there are enough idiots out there that you would probably sell plenty of policies and end up very rich!

        Regards, Kathrinn

        P.S. If you do, please remember we’re your friends and share the wealth!

        1. The next best thing
          Earthling’s End-of-the-world insurance looks promising; but while he polishes his money-making scheme, here’s the next best thing to cash in on people’s irrational fears: A gold vending machine.

          It was developed in Germany, BTW. Everybody detecting a pattern here?? 😉

          It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
          It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

          Red Pill Junkie

      2. You’re in good hands…
        [quote=earthling]I have a better scam than the lottery: life insurance.

        Your next of kin will only be paid if you die due to the end of the world.

        Sweet! And if the ‘end of the world’ actually occurs, your company will be as extinct as your policy holders. You’d never have to see a single coverage enforced!

        Every red cent (less any pre-apocalypse tax) is yours.

        Gotta love it! Let me know if you need a partner…

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