Category Archives: 2012

When Hurricane Sandy Pounded USA, I Was in Ellicott City, Maryland!


By T. V. Antony Raj


When Hurricane Sandy, unofficially known as the “Superstorm Sandy“, devastated the United States in October 2012, I was in Ellicott City in Maryland.

Hurricane Sandy was the second-costliest hurricane in the history of the United States. It was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It all began on October 22, 2012.

A Timeline of Hurricane Sandy’s Path of Destruction
Monday, October 22, 2012

Developing in the southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Nicaragua as a tropical easterly wave causing areas of cloudiness and thunderstorms, The depression strengthened and six hours later becomes Tropical Storm Sandy, with maximum winds of about 40 mph. It moved slowly northward toward the Greater Antilles and gradually intensified.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On October 24, Sandy became a  Category 1 hurricane, moved northward across the Caribbean and made landfall near Kingston, Jamaica with winds of 80 mph.

Although Hurricane Sandy’s eye does not cross the Dominican Republic and Haiti to its east, the storm dumped more than 20 inches of rain on Hispaniola. More than 50 people died in flooding and mudslides in Haiti.

A few hours later, it re-emerged into the Caribbean Sea and strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane. Off the coast of the Northeastern United States, the storm became the largest Atlantic hurricane on record as measured by diameter, with winds spanning 1,100 miles (1,800 km).

Thursday, October 25, 2012
Detailed map compiled by NOAA on October 25, 2012, that shows the track of Hurricane Sandy (Source:
Detailed map compiled by NOAA on October 25, 2012, that shows the track of Hurricane Sandy (Source:


Sandy strengthened as it moved from Jamaica to Cuba and made landfall in the historic city of Santiago de Cuba with winds of about 110 mph as a Category 3 hurricane.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sandy caused more devastation as it crossed the Bahamas and made a slight turn to the north-northwest.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sandy moved away from the Bahamas and made a turn to the northeast off the coast of Florida. Sandy weakened for a brief period to a tropical depression and then restrengthened to a Category 1 hurricane.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy continued moving northeast on a track parallel to the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. As it approached latitude 35 degrees north off the coast of North Carolina, the hurricane’s eye stayed well offshore. Even then, the storm still a Category 1 hurricane with peak winds of about 80 mph sent powerful tsunami-like waves onto North Carolina’s Outer Banks washing out some places in NC Highway 12.

Due to an unusual configuration of converging weather factors, meteorologists warned that the storm as it churns northward would likely morph into a powerful, hybrid super-storm.

A high-pressure cold front to Sandy’s north forced the storm to turn to the north-west toward major cities such as Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and New York. And the meteorologists expected that in conjunctions with the effects of the full moon Sandy’s storm to surge up to 11 to 12 feet in some places and a little higher as it made landfall.

Sandy expanded into a huge storm covering about 1,000 miles with strong winds.

Monday, October 29, 2012
This satellite image from NOAA shows Sandy on the morning of October 29, 2012 as it was about to begin its approach to the coast of New Jersey (Source:
This satellite image from NOAA shows Sandy on the morning of October 29, 2012 as it was about to begin its approach to the coast of New Jersey (Source:


At 12:30 pm, Sandy made its expected sharp turn. It curved west-northwest (the “left turn” or “left hook”) and then moved ashore near Brigantine, New Jersey, just to the northeast of Atlantic City, as a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds. The storm also has started interacting with other weather systems, gaining energy in the process. The storm dumped heavy snow in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.

During the afternoon, Sandy brought high winds and drenching rains from Washington, D.C. northward, toppling trees and power lines and cutting off electrical power for millions of people. The storm eventually affected more than 50 million people on the Eastern Seaboard.

At 8 pm, Sandy’s centre came ashore near Atlantic City, New Jersey. The storm was no longer considered a hurricane but classified as a post-tropical Nor’easter. But the storm’s unusual path from the south-east made its storm surge much worse in New Jersey and New York.


The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is flooded after a tidal surge caused by Hurricane Sandy, on October 30, 2012 in Manhattan, New York. The storm has claimed at least 39 lives in the United States, and has caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic seaboard. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel iflooded after a tidal surge caused by Hurricane Sandy, on October 30, 2012, in Manhattan, New York. The storm has claimed at least 39 lives in the United States and has caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic seaboard. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)


A high storm surge, a coastal flood or tsunami-like phenomenon of rising water occurred in New York City with a high tide of 14 ft (4.2 m),  a new record for a storm surge in the harbor, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. The surge tops the sea wall at The Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and floods parts of the city’s subway system. The surge also floods the Hugh Carey Tunnel, which links Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.


Spooky gray NYC skyline
Spooky gray NYC skyline


The wind, rain and flooding from the huge storm pounded New Jersey and New York throughout the night and through three cycles of high tides and low tides.


Tanker John B Caddell beached on Front Street, Staten Island (Photo: Jim Henderson)
Tanker John B Caddell beached on Front Street, Staten Island (Photo: Jim Henderson)


Staten Island also was hit very hard by the storm. The Seattle Times later reported that towns such as Oakwood Beach, Midland Beach, South Beach and Tottenville — which lost many residents who were police and firefighters during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 — were among the hardest-hit communities.

When I look back, I remember posting several times on Facebook on 29th and 30th October 2012 about Hurricane Sandy to benefit my friends and readers in the United States and to assure my kith and Kin in India that my family was safe:

7:00 am EDT:
From the Carolinas to Maine, Hurricane Sandy will affect 50 million people.

Hurricane Sandy is churning off the East Coast and is expected to join up with two other weather systems to create a huge and problematic storm affecting 50 million people. Here’s a snapshot of what is happening or expected, state by state.
The storm lashed barrier islands off North Carolina and rendered several homes and businesses nearly inaccessible. About 90 miles off the coast, a tall ship carrying 17 people was in distress; the Coast Guard was monitoring.

The number of power outages increased quickly in a state where utilities’ response to past weather-related failures has become a political issue. Connecticut Light & Power says hundreds of customers are without power. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy asked a task force to make sure fuel suppliers are fully stocked. Many residents along Long Island Sound heeded warnings and evacuated.

Hundreds of people fled to shelters as the rough surf pounded the coast. Water covered some roads.

Snow is expected in mountainous areas.

Officials predict coastal flooding and beach erosion, and utility crews have been brought in from Canada to handle anticipated power failures.

Baltimore is opening six shelters; several city intersections are closed because of flooding threats. Early voting, which began Saturday and was to run through Thursday, was canceled for Monday.

Utilities brought in crews from as far away as Texas and the Midwest to cope with anticipated power failures. Most schools and colleges have canceled classes. The Boston transit authority said it would continue to operate as long it was safe.

Gov. John Lynch put 100 National Guard soldiers on active duty to help with preparations. Two shelters are being set up, and some schools have closed.

Sandy’s center is expected to make landfall in New Jersey late Monday. By daybreak, more than 5,000 homes and businesses were without electricity. Thousands of people evacuated low-lying areas, and many inland towns hit by flooding from storm Irene last year issued evacuation orders.

Many residents left low-lying flood evacuation zones, and the subway system shut down Sunday night. A storm surge of 11 feet is possible, the highest of all coastal areas being hit by Sandy. The New York Stock Exchange and other U.S. financial markets shut down for at least the day. Thousands of flights were canceled at the city’s major airports.

Residents of low-lying areas and along Lake Erie were told to watch for flooding; utilities are anticipating high winds that could blow down trees and poles. Snow is forecast in some areas.

Many schools closed. Philadelphia shut down its mass transit system, and hundreds of flights were canceled at the city’s airport. Dozens of people took shelter at evacuation centers. Thousands of members of the National Guard have been told to be ready for deployment.

Several communities have ordered mandatory evacuations and many schools closed for the day. Big waves are expected to cause flooding along Narragansett Bay, which bisects the state. Authorities told people to be prepared for long periods without power.

Snow is expected in higher elevations, where a freeze warning has been issued. High winds are expected in many areas.

About 2,000 customers lacked power, and a utility said as many as 1 million could ultimately lose electricity. Many residents of Chincoteague Island, popular with tourists, shrugged off the idea of evacuation.

Gov. Peter Shumlin declared a state of emergency to provide access to National Guard troops in a state still recovering from the devastating effects of the remnants of Hurricane Irene. Culverts and storm drainage basins in some spots have been cleared of debris.

The capital area’s transit system shut down rail service for the first time since 2003, and the Smithsonian Institution closed for the day.

As much as 2 to 3 feet of snow were forecast in mountainous areas, and flooding was possible in some areas. Several shelters were put on standby, and power crews were mobilized to handle potential failures.

3:30 pm EDT:
Here in Ellicott City, Maryland, the wind speed is 41 mph NW. Not menacing at the moment.

3:40 pm EDT:
Landfall for Sandy within 3 hours time near Atlantic City, New Jersey shore with a wind speed of 90 mph in the center. The system moves at 18 mph.

8:40 pm EDT:
In Ellicott City, Maryland, the wind speed has risen to 49 mph WNW.
8:54 pm EDT:
Sandy landfall in Cape May, New Jersey around 8 pm.
9:00 pm EDT:
Battery Park in New York City is now inundated with 11.87 feet high. Water might enter NYC subway. Trains and buses won’t run on Tuesday (tomorrow).

9:30 pm EDT:
Waters from Hudson river has breached the Manhattan Broadwalk. Battery Park in New York City is now inundated with 13.7 feet high. MTA confirms that the subways are flooded.

1.5 million homes experience power outages in many states. In Maryland, 195,000 homes are without electric power. We have still not been hit by a power cut.

9:45 pm EDT:
Power surges, outages and flashes being experienced in the New York City area. Everything is dark over there. Manhattan is in darkness as well as the Statue of Liberty.

10:47 pm EDT:
All bridges were closed for traffic. Chesapeake Bay Bridge that connects Baltimore-DC area with the northern parts of Maryland such as Kent Island too was closed for traffic around 4 pm.

10:55 pmEDT:
Sandy is still on its way towards us playing havoc with everything in its path.

Sandy had its landfall in Cape May, New Jersey around 8 pm. Ellicott City, MD is about 210 miles from the landfall area. The system is moving around 20 to 25 mph and I expect it to come here on Tuesday (tomorrow) morning around 6 am EDT.

Tuesday , October 30, 2012

2:10 am EDT:
Hurricane Sandy plays havoc: Widespread Power outages have occurred in all the north-eastern and eastern states. In Maryland, 391,005 homes are experiencing power cut.

2:15 am EDT:
Sandy is 10 miles southwest of Philadephia, PA.

10:50 am EDT:
Sandy has passed us. We did not incur any damages. We did not lose any power.

I thank you all for praying for us.

However, my heart bleeds for those who have suffered and are undergoing hardships due to the havoc created by this “Frankenstorm” called SANDY.

11:00 am EDT:
Sandy: The loss to properties has been assessed between 10 and 20 billion dollars.

11:30 am EDT:
Sandy slammed New Jersey last night and early morning today. At least 16 deaths reported. Massive flooding, high winds, and widespread power outages hit the East Coast as Sandy moves inland.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy dissipated over western Pennsylvania, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its final advisory on the storm: “multiple centers of circulation in association with the remnants of Sandy can be found across the lower Great Lakes.”


Click on this line or the photo below to see photos of the effects of Hurricane Sandy. 

People scavenging for food in a dumpster where a Key Food supermarket has discarded spoiled food, due to power outages after Hurricane Sandy hit New York (Photo: Mr. Choppers)
People scavenging for food in a dumpster where a Key Food supermarket has discarded spoiled food, due to power outages after Hurricane Sandy hit New York (Photo: Mr. Choppers)



Black Friday and the United Stupids of America (USA)!


By T. V. Antony Raj



Last year when I was in the United States, a friend from India called me over the phone a week before Thanksgiving Day. He requested me to buy a laptop for him on Black Friday. He said that he had heard that on Black Friday electronic goods could be bought at bargain prices. Little did he know about the madness that inundates the United Stupids of America (USA) on Black Friday.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November. Also, traditionally, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season starts in the United States on Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day. Most major retailers open their sales outlets extremely early on Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season and offer promotional sales.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States and people celebrate the day with religious fervour.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.
Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.

People get together with their loved ones, invariably devour large amounts of food centred around an enormous roasted turkey, and like angels and saints praise and thank God for all that they have.

Black Friday - People waiting outside a mall.
Black Friday – People waiting outside a mall.

But on the following day, the Black Friday, they become United Stupids of America by transmogrifying from angels to demons. They stubbornly gather outside malls, some from midnight on. They while away their time chattering and shivering, undaunted by the bitter winter cold, and wait for the shops to open.

As soon as the doors open, the stampede begins.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

People behave like crazed animals. They barge into the malls like raging bulls. They trample and maul one another to buy more stuff that they already have or absolutely do not need; just 24 hours after offering thanks for how much they have.

That is Black Friday for you in the United States of America. No other country in the world can boast of such a frenzied day.

Though Black Friday is not an official holiday, many non-retail employers give their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.

Earlier, retailers opened shop on Black Friday at 6 am. However, in the late 2000s, many retailers opened their retail outlets at 5 am, and some opened at 4 am. Big names including Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Best Buy, etc. open at midnight. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, broke the Black Friday tradition in 2011 by opening its store on Thanksgiving evening.

Here is a video clip depicting the madness of the United Stupids of America for you to decide whether you too want to join these berserk folks and avail bargains on Black Friday.






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I Wish You All “A Merry Christmas”!


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


To All My Readers and Well-Wishers Around the Globe

Top Views by Country for all days ending 2012-12-24 (Summarized)


“Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis …”

” And peace on Earth to people of good will …”

“I Wish You All a Merry Christmas!”

“Ek wens dat julle almal ‘n Geseënde Kersfees!” (Afrikaans)

“Unë ju uroj gjithë Gëzuar Krishtlindjet!” (Albanian)

“أتمنى لكم جميعا عيد ميلاد سعيد!” (Arabic)

«Ցանկանում եմ ձեզ, որ Սուրբ Ծնունդ»: (Armenian)

“Mən bütün Merry Christmas arzulayıram!” (Azerbaijani)

“Nahi dut Eguberri guztiak ” (Basque)

“Я жадаю вам усім шчаслівага Каляд!” (Belarusian)

“আমি আশা করি সমস্ত একটি শুভ বড়দিন আপনি!” (Bengali)

“Пожелавам на всички Весела Коледа!” (Bulgarian)

“Els desitjo a tots un Bon Nadal!” (Catalan)

“祝大家圣诞快乐!” (Chinese simplified)

“祝大家聖誕快樂!” (Chinese traditional)

“Volio bih da svi Sretan Božić!” (Croatian)

“Já Přeji vám všem veselé Vánoce!” (Czech)

“Jeg ønsker jer alle en glædelig jul!” (Danish)

“Ik wens jullie allemaal een vrolijk kerstfeest!” (Dutch)

“Mi Wish You Ĉiu Merry Christmas!” (Esperanto)

“Soovin teile kõigile Häid jõule!” (Estonian)

“Hinihiling ko mo ng Lahat ng Maligayang Pasko!” (Filipino)

“Toivotan kaikille hyvää joulua!” (Finnish)

«Je vous souhaite à tous un Joyeux Noël!” (French)

“Desexo a todos un Feliz Nadal!” (Galician)

“გისურვებთ შობა!” (Georgian)

“Ich wünsche Ihnen allen ein frohes Weihnachtsfest!” (German)

«Εύχομαι σε όλους Καλά Χριστούγεννα!” (Greek)

“હું તમને શુભેચ્છા એક બધા મેરી ક્રિસમસ!” (Gujarati)

“Mwen swete nou tout yon jwayeu Nwèl!” (Haitian Creole)

“אני מאחל לכולכם חג המולד שמח!” (Hebrew)

“मैं तुम चाहो सभी एक मेरी क्रिसमस!” (Hindi)

“Azt szeretném, ha minden Boldog Karácsonyt!” (Hungarian)

“Ég óska ykkur öllum gleðilegra jóla!” (Icelandic)

“Saya berharap Anda semua Merry Christmas!” (Indonesian)

“Is mian liom tú go léir ar na Nollag Merry!” (Irish)

“Auguro a tutti un Buon Natale!” (Italian)

“私はあなたにすべてのメリークリスマスを望む!” (Japanese)

“ನಾನು ನೀವು ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಒಂದು ಮೆರ್ರಿ ಕ್ರಿಸ್ಮಸ್ ವಿಶ್!” (Kannada)

“난 당신에게 모든 메리 크리스마스를 기원!” (Korean)

“ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າຢາກທ່ານທັງຫມົດເປັນ Merry ວັນຄຣິດສະມາດ!” (Lao)

“Tibi opto a Verbum Caro!” (Latin)

“Es novēlu jums visu priecīgus Ziemassvētkus!” (Latvian)

“Linkiu visiems linksmų Kalėdų!” (Lithunian)

“Ви посакувам на сите Среќен Божиќ!” (Macedonian)

“Saya Mahu Anda Semua Merry Krismas!” (Malay)

“Nixtieq lilkom ilkoll Milied kuntenti ħienja!” (Maltese)

“Jeg ønsker dere alle en riktig God Jul!” (Norwegian)

“من برای شما آرزوی همه کریسمس مبارک!” (Persian)

“Życzę wszystkim Wesołych Świąt!” (Polish)

“Desejo a todos um Feliz Natal!” (Portugese)

“Vă doresc tuturor un Crăciun Fericit!” (Romanian)

“Я желаю вам всем счастливого Рождества!” (Russian)

“Желим вам све а Мерри Божић! ” (Serbian)

“ඔබට සුභ නත්තලක් වේවා!” (Sinhalese)

“Ja Prajem vám všetkým veselé Vianoce!” (Slovak)

“Želim vam vse vesel Božič!” (Slovenian)

“Les deseo a todos una Feliz Navidad!” (Spanish)

“Napenda wote Krismasi Njema!” (Swahili)

“Jag önskar er alla en God Jul!” (Swedish)

“உங்களுக்கு எனது கிறிஸ்துமஸ் (நத்தார்) நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்!” (Tamil / Tamizh)

“నేను మిమ్మల్ని విష్ అ మెర్రి క్రిస్మస్!” (Telugu)

“ผมหวังว่าคุณจะ ร่าเริง a คริสต์มาส!” (Thai)

“Seni bütün bir Mutlu Noeller diliyoruz!” (Turkish)

“Я бажаю вам всім щасливого Різдва!” (Ukrainian)

“میں آپ سب کو میری کرسمس کاش!” (Urdu)

“Tôi Chúc các bạn một Giáng sinh vui vẻ!” (Vietnamese)

“Rwy’n Wish chi i gyd Nadolig Llawen!” (Welsh)

“איך ווינטשן איר אַלע אַ לעבעדיק ניטל!” (Yiddish)

It is no secret what Google can do;

And if I can, YOU too can do!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas


Yes. It is the first snow for this holiday season here in Ellicott City, Maryland, USA. It started snowing at 1:15 PM on Monday December 24th, and hope it would be a White Christmas for us.



The full Nativity Story in 10 parts



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Now I Know Why the World Did Not End on December 21, 2012 as Expected

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


At sunrise on Friday, December 21, 2012, an era in the Long Count calendar of the Maya came to an end. Many different groups of people around the world expected the end of days catastrophes, and the dawn of a new, more spiritual era. However, the world did not end on that day as expected.

Now I know why!

Peruvian shamans perform a ritual at a beach to prevent the end of the world, in Lima December 20, 2012
Photo: REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

On December 20, 2012, at a beach in Lima, Peruvian shamans performed a ritual to prevent the end of the world. The shamans performed several rituals to ward off the forces that would bring about the end of the world.

Should not we thank these Peruvian Shamans for keeping us all alive today?



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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


It’s December 21, 2012: THE WORLD HAS NOT ENDED!

If you can read this, it means the Good Times have begun!

Mayan King Fisherr - They said it before


According to this calendar, the Good Times still continue!

Mayan King Fisherr


So, there can be only one agenda in a Friday meeting!

Get the party started

I have borrowed the above images from the Facebook page of
Kingfisher – The King of Good Times!


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December 21, 2012: Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere or Is It Doomsday 2012?

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj




The astronomical event known as the solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its highest or lowest excursion point relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. This event occurs twice a year.

On the day of the solstice, at local solar noon, the Sun appears to have reached its highest or lowest annual altitude in the sky above the horizon.


UT date and time of equinoxes and solstices on the earth


For any place other than the tropics the solstice day in summer is the longest day of the year, and the solstice day in winter is the shortest day of the year.

During the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as the Southern solstice that occurs on December 21st to 22nd, the Sun at noon would appear at its lowest altitude above the horizon, namely, at its southernmost point in the sky. On the other hand, in the Southern Hemisphere, the winter solstice also known as the Northern solstice occurs on June 20th to 21st each year.  On this day, the Sun appears at its northernmost point in the sky.

The axis of rotation of the earth directed towards the same point in the heavens is the result of its axial tilt and the gyroscopic influences of its daily rotation. As the Earth orbits around the Sun, the polar hemisphere facing the Sun encountering summer would after six months face away from the Sun to  endure the winter.

The solstices last only a moment in time. This year, winter solstice would occur today, December 21, 2012 at 11:12 AM UTC (6:12 AM EST; 4:42 PM IST).

Worldwide, interpretation of the winter solstice varies from culture to culture. However, all recognize the rebirth of the Earth that involves religious festivals, rituals, and other celebrations. The following lists a few observance believed to be directly linked to the winter solstice.


This brings us to the Doomsday Prophecy attributed by some to the Mayan Calendar. Though the Mayans never predicted that the world would end today, December 21, 2012, some doomsday soothsayers have been touting all these days that around 80 percent of the world population would be wiped out on this fateful day. Many who believe these scare mongers have left their homes; they have traveled to places where they think their chances of survival will be better.

Ten hours ago, I read an article titled “Global doomsday hot spots draw believers, revelers” by Vanessa Gera where she describes some of the world’s key doomsday destinations and other places marked by fear and fascination.



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December 21, 2012: Hello World, Did the Mayan Prophecy Happen?



It is 30 minutes past noon December 20, 2012, here in Ellicott City, Maryland, USA.

In some parts of the world December 21, 2012 supposed to be THE fateful Doomsday has dawned.

A new day will begin in India in about 60 minutes from now.

Hello friends in India, are you still there? Yes?

What happened to the much peddled Mayan Prophecy?

By the way, today is a unique day: 20122012.



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Day Before Yesterday NASA Released Video: “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday”


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


NASA is so sure the world won’t come to an end on December 21, 2012, that they already released day before yesterday a “Didn’t We Say So!” video titled “ScienceCasts: Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday” on December 11th, itself.

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3MIN News December 12, 2012: Geminid Meteor Showers

by Suspicious0bservers


Click on the image to see the video.

.3MIN News December 12, 2012 - Geminid Meteor Showers



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Doomsday hysteria grips Russia

Survival kits and trips to hell, doomsday hysteria grips Russia …

Source:  RT – 01 December, 2012

RIA Novosti / Sergey Yolkin

RIA Novosti / Sergey Yolkin

Doomsday hysteria has gripped Russia and some of its neighbors. Travel agencies are selling tours to either heaven or hell and people are stocking up on food and fuel. Officials are publicly denying the apocalypse, hoping to calm the hype.

Those awaiting Doomsday have three weeks to finish their preparations before the date of the much publicized apocalypse allegedly predicted by Mayan calendar, that is going to happen on December 21, 2012.

Thousands of people across Russia keep stocking up their back rooms and balconies with food, fuel and other supplies they might need when disaster strikes. Some are even moving outside of cities because of the widely spread rumors that cities would be impossible to survive in after an apocalypse on Earth.

According to one of the most popular scenarios, on December 21 the sun is going to line up with the center of our Milky Way galaxy which will cause an entire blackout on Earth and a wave of different natural disasters.

Doomsday merchandize offered in Russia and Ukraine include survival kits. In the Siberian city of Tomsk such itemsfor “meeting the end of the world” include ID cards, notepads, canned fish, a bottle of vodka, rope, a piece of soap, among other items. The packages are said to be popular among customers, more than 1,000 kits have been already sold, the company says.

Ukrainian entrepreneurs also offer a version of a doomsday kit. Just like Tomsk package, the Ukrainian one also includes alcohol: champagne for ladies and vodka for gentlemen. The rest of the kit consist of jack-knife, two-minute noodles, shampoo, soap, rope, matches and condoms.

Marina Mendelson wedding agency sells Last Day sets in Tomsk. (RIA Novosti / Yakov Andreev)
Marina Mendelson wedding agency sells Last Day sets in Tomsk. (RIA Novosti / Yakov Andreev)


Not all doom and gloom

An apocalypse kit is not the only way for the entrepreneurial minded to cash in on the end of the world hype.

One Ukrainian enterprise is selling tours to heaven and hell for December 21 promising full return of money in case of “not getting to heaven or hell.” A trip to heaven would cost about $15, while trip to the underworld is more expensive at around $18. The agency explains difference in price by saying that Hell should be more fun.

While Ukrainian trips are even said by the firm behind to be just for fun, some individuals in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod offered far more expensive doomsday fair – one being a salvation trip in an arc. An internet ad offered seats in the arc for just 80,000-150,000 rubles, which is approximately $2,600-5,000.

Bars and nightclubs are getting ready for apocalypse day in their own way announcing theme parties and inventing special cocktails like “Total Recall” – an extremely alcoholic drink that makes you “recall your entire life.”

But doomsday hysteria isn’t isolated to just the former soviet Republic. In France authorities had to ban access to a mountain that doomsday theorists believe will be the only safe spot during the apocalypse on December 21.

At the birthplace of Mayan calendar, Mexico and Guatemala agencies offer tours “The end of the world with Maya” and “The world of Maya 2012.”

Pictures advertizing tickets to heaven sold for $15. Images taken from pokupon.uaPictures advertizing tickets to heaven sold for $15. Images taken from


Russian officials cancel apocalypse

Meanwhile, in Russia rapidly growing doomsday hype has sparked a negative reaction from authorities.

Russia`s Emergency Ministry is not expecting any global cataclysms in the near future, the head of EMERCOM Vladimir Puchkov said on Friday, adding that those worried are free to call the Ministry hotline to talk about their concerns.

Another senior official took a more emotional stance about doomsday speculations. Russia`s Chief Medical Officer of Health Gennady Onishenko lashed out at those publicizing the apocalypse warning that they would end up in court.

“This directly influences people`s health. When they depress you and say that in less than one month everything is going to end, there are many people, who believe this,” he said.

Russian State Duma deputies wrote an open letter urging media to stop speculating about the doomsday. The deputy head of the Duma committee on Science and Technology publicly promised that no apocalypse is happening on December 21.

“In our committee there are academics and scientists, and with all responsibility we state that there will be no doomsday. Who made that up and circulates this around?” he asked.

Mayan legacy

The speculations about December 21, 2012, doomsday are prompted by the Mayan calendar ending on this very day.

The Mayan civilization reached its height from 300 AD to 900 AD was based in modern day Mexico and Central America. Mayans were good astronomers and created very precise calendars.

Their Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 BC, measuring time in 394-year periods known as Baktuns. The thirteenth Baktun ends around Dec 21, 2012, which first produced rumors about the end of the world.

Despite numerous scientists and Mayan descendants denying the connection between the end of the calendar and the end of the world the rumors quickly got out of control causing public hysteria.

It is not known why this particular end of the world theory became so popular. Over two dozen doomsday predictions have failed to materialize since the beginning of the 20th century.




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