Marvin, the manically depressed robot from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series (were *you* old enough to stay up and watch it?) makes a special “personal appearance” on the BBC’s flagship Kids’ TV show to “perform” his first vinyl single release. (Don’t know what you think, but I reckon he’s miming!) As ever, Stephen Moore provided the voice, with a special recording for the part where Marvin speaks to the BP presenters.
88-year old Harold Camping, was wrong about the end of the world once, but this time he’s sure he’s right. For 70 years, Camping has crunched the numbers, developing, he claims, a mathematical system of interpreting divine prophecies from the Bible. Camping laughs off all this 2012 stuff. Why who’d be silly enough to buy into that whale of a tale? According to The San Francisco Chronicle:
“That date has not one stitch of biblical authority,” Camping says from the Oakland office where he runs Family Radio, an evangelical station that reaches listeners around the world. “It’s like a fairy tale.”
The real date for the end of times, he says, is in 2011.
Okay… sure… but this isn’t the first end of the world date that Camping has predicted! He’s already gotten it wrong once:
On Sept. 6, 1994, dozens of Camping’s believers gathered inside Alameda’s Veterans Memorial Building to await the return of Christ, an event Camping had promised for two years. Followers dressed children in their Sunday best and held Bibles open-faced toward heaven.
But the world did not end. Camping allowed that he may have made a mathematical error. He spent the next decade running new calculations, as well as overseeing a media company that has grown significantly in size and reach.
You see, Camping is following the first—and by far most important—rule of the failed doomsday prophet: If at first you don’t succeed, DIG IN!
By Camping’s understanding, the Bible was dictated by God and every word and number carries a spiritual significance. He noticed that particular numbers appeared in the Bible at the same time particular themes are discussed.
The number 5, Camping concluded, equals “atonement.” Ten is “completeness.” Seventeen means “heaven.” Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011. “Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.,” he began. “Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that’s 1,978 years.” Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days - the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.
Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500. Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500. Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.
“Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story,” Camping said. “It’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved.
“I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that,” Camping said.
The above graph plots U.S. job growth by decade. Um, sobering, isn’t it?
The U.S. economy has expanded at a healthy clip for most of the last 70 years, but by a wide range of measures, it stagnated in the first decade of the new millennium. Job growth was essentially zero, as modest job creation from 2003 to 2007 wasn’t enough to make up for two recessions in the decade. Rises in the nation’s economic output, as measured by gross domestic product, was weak. And household net worth, when adjusted for inflation, fell as stock prices stagnated, home prices declined in the second half of the decade and consumer debt skyrocketed.
Dangerous Minds pal Marty Beckerman on why the 2000s were the worst decade ever. I think we all feel pretty much the same way, don’t we? (Except that I rate “Jersey Shore” as the decade’s final, crowning moment of painful redemption, its, uh, gelled-up crown of thorns, if you will…)
To paraphrase former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld?
If you’ve been thinking of giving up meat for the new year, read on. This article from The New York Times, cuts right to the chase and might push your decision over the edge… for good. The bit about McDonald’s, Burger King and grocery chains using Beef Products in their ground beef is utterly revolting, as bad as anything we learned from Fast Food Nation:
Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia.
The company, Beef Products Inc., had been looking to expand into the hamburger business with a product made from beef that included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil. The trimmings were particularly susceptible to contamination, but a study commissioned by the company showed that the ammonia process would kill E. coli as well as salmonella.
Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture endorsed the company?
Newsweek made a seven minute video mash-up of the past decade and it’s one of the most depressing things you will ever see. It’s positively painful! Memory, being kind, allows forgetfulness of certain events, but when you see them on display like this, there is no escaping what a completely shit decade it’s been. The video isn’t embeddable, so go here to watch it and see if you agree.
I have a love/hate relationship with CNN’s Rick Sanchez—I mostly like him, but his show can just as easily prove goofy rather than great. He’s CNN’s best showman right now, by far, but he can let off some real howlers from time to time, too (which, as I think about it, is probably why I find his show so watchable). Watch here as he really goes after scandal-chased—and conservative Christian, natch—Republican Senator John Ensign. The fun really starts at 1:32 in.