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May 21, 2011

Hacking the Rapture
Posted by Teresa at 08:40 AM *

So far, the best suggestion for the supposed end of the world is Eileen Gunn’s Rapture hack:

1. A bunch of inflatable sex dolls.
2. A tank of helium.
3. Rapture!

Comments on Hacking the Rapture:
#1 ::: S. Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 09:31 AM:

1. One old outfit.
2. Dry ice in shoes.
3. Arrange on sidewalk.

#2 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 09:34 AM:

*snort*

When I was a lad, a schoolmate who was a Jehovah's Witness told me that the world would end in 1975. I found that remarkably scary back in 1966. As I recall 1975 passed without the world ending (although it might have, and we all might have been replaced by simulacra with our antecedent memories).

#3 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 09:35 AM:

You could probably have a great deal of fun with hot-air balloons made out of dry-cleaner bags mounting LEDs.

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 09:42 AM:

It must be past 6 PM Saturday, somewhere on this planet.

#5 ::: arkessian ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:06 AM:

PJ Evans @ 4 : Well, yes, it may well be. But everyone who could confirm what happened at 6PM is mysteriously not on the 'net right now...

#6 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:12 AM:

The comic-book "Strange Girl" starts in Sacramento the Day of the Rapture and chronicles the adventures of a teenage girl Left Behind, who goes on to become the bartender in a San Francisco establishment catering to demons.

#7 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:15 AM:

A friend of mine in Australia reported a couple of hours ago (at 10 pm her time) the so-called Rapture is, unsurprisingly, a big yawn thusfar. So much for those earthquakes!

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:25 AM:

"Now write this: 'The greatest rapture of my life was afforded me on a boat in Nassau by Fatima Blush' and sign it 'James Bond, 007'."
"I just remembered. It's against Service policy to give endorsements."
"WRITE!"

#9 ::: philsuth ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:32 AM:

It's 10:30pm local (UTC+8), and I'm sitting in front of the closed combustion stove on a coolish night in a rural area near Cowaramup (about 250km south of Perth, Western Australia). There's no rapture to be seen or heard in the vicinity, and this is a fine thing as I'm sure such shenanigans would spoil the peace and beauty of the evening.

#10 ::: Stephan Zielinski ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Sadly, with an effective buoyancy of 1.094 grams per liter in air, a sex doll the same size as a fifty kilogram (and thus approximately fifty liter) human could only rise into the air if it massed 54.7 grams or less. Helium is also nonrenewable, and waaaaay too expensive these days to just throw it away.

#11 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:46 AM:

How about hydrogen? Extra existential-angst points if it catches on fire.

#12 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:53 AM:

Back in the days when you got porn in magazines with ads in the back (rather than on websites with browser hijackers in the back), there was a scam that involved selling "blow-up girls" with "a hole in the right place" by mail order. These would be offered at astoundingly low prices.

What the hapless lad who ordered one received was an ordinary balloon imprinted with a picture of a young lady. At what turned out to be, for what you got, an astoundingly high price.

If there's a warehouse full of those left over, they might serve. (Though I rather doubt the balloons were helium-grade.)

(See also the joke where the punchline is, "She farted and flew out the window.")

#13 ::: Dave Trowbridge ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 11:09 AM:

#3 Jim: We did that in college (sterno as the heat source), but LEDs hadn't been invented yet. Instead, we pinned cigarettes to the framework with firecrackers with their fuses threaded through them as a crude timing device. Flickering blue alien bomb-dropping jellyfish. Caused a small UFO scare in the surrounding community.

#14 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 11:19 AM:

Now it's 6:20 pm here in Southern Finland, and all is well. In fact, it's a lovely, clear spring day, perfect for a walk -- which I think I'll take now.

#15 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 12:03 PM:

So where does that story come from? I've seen it lately as a clip from "Six Feet Under," and before that it was an urban legend with a remarkable number of stupid coincidences that all had to line up for the punch line to take place. When did Gunn propose it? How old is the urban legend?

#16 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 12:53 PM:

To be fair, I think Jim over at Stonekettle Station, got there first.

#17 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 01:02 PM:

The Six Feet Under video clip.

(Longer version at YouTube, contains "adult content" warning and requires you to sign in.)

#18 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 01:25 PM:

I've posted that 'Six Feet Under' clip to several places over the past few days, usually to great appreciation - it's surprising how mant people are unfamiliar with it. However even more appreciated (though not Rapture-related) was this one:

http://kochblocked.com/

#19 ::: Anne Johnson ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 01:45 PM:

And it's 18.45 local in Edinburgh .. a couple of hours ago, the person selling me Isle of Mull cheddar and Teroldego wine at Valvona & Crolla suggested that one might as well buy and eat anything one wanted, just in case the world ended at 18.00 .. which it didn't, but both the wine and the cheese were good ..

#20 ::: Stephan Zielinski ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 02:10 PM:

Re: Lila's "How about hydrogen?": Hydrogen's effective buoyancy in air is 1.202 grams/liter, bringing the total lifting capacity of fifty liters of it to 60.1 grams. It'd also take 539500 joules to manufacture it-- which, checking Wikipedia's page on Orders of Magnitude (energy) , one can see is in the range for "the average kinetic energy of an automobile at highway speeds". And hydrogen in air is explosive in concentrations anywhere from 4% to 75%, and it can diffuse through METAL-- which means it's even better at oozing through a few hundred micrometers worth of cheap plastic. At which point one needs another number from the table: the energy of one gram of TNT detonating is about 4184 joules. Hence, our fifty liters of hydrogen, if mixed with air, could detonate with the force of about 128.9 grams of TNT. The World War II Mk II "Pineapple" grenade held about 56 grams of TNT.

(Back-of-the-envelope calculations like this are why I've loved as much right-wing science fiction as I have, you know. The military fetishists were the only authors who ever evinced the ability to count.)

#21 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 02:11 PM:

A front-pager at Balloon Juice post the following video this morning. It's quite funny.

http://www.youtube.com/somegreybloke#p/a/u/0/hmX-lZOYcVA

#22 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 02:11 PM:

Coming soon the end of the world due to heavy lifting: The Rupture.

#23 ::: Dave H ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 02:58 PM:

Stephan@20: I'm pretty sure it doesn't take that many joules to mix sodium hydroxide and aluminum. That'll -release- hydrogen rather than manufacture it, but it's still a useful source of the gas in, ah, hobbyist quantities.

Also, burning that much hydrogen at atmospheric pressure would make a nifty fireball, but without containment to build pressure it wouldn't be much of an explosion.

#24 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 03:12 PM:

I wondered if the guy had allowed for Daylight Saving.

#25 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 03:12 PM:

Frangano @2 -- Interestingly I find myself continually ceasing to exist and being replaced by a simulacrum.

#26 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 03:12 PM:

Eek -- please forgive the misspelling, Fragano.

#27 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 03:20 PM:

Stephan Zielinski @ 20:

To be fair, comparing the energy numbers isn't an apples-to-apples comparison; explosive power is also dependent on the rapidity with which the energy (and the produced gasses) are released. TNT releases energy much faster than exploding hydrogen, so its explosive power is greater.

Also, hydrogen likes to explode when oxygen (or some other oxidizer) and a little bit of water are present, without the water its much less likely to explode. Notice that the Hindenburg did not explode, it burned (and there's some doubt that the hydrogen was the cause of the fire). Now, if you were to put a bit of oxygen in a reducing atmosphere like hydrogen, that might be another matter ...

This pedantry is brought to you by the letter π and the number א ‭1‬.

#28 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 03:43 PM:

Helium is also nonrenewable, and waaaaay too expensive these days to just throw it away.

Don't get me started. The *best* case scenario for the future places wasted helium at the top of the list of things my grandchildren will hate me for.

#29 ::: becca ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 04:02 PM:

@24 He didn't allow for the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, either. By that, the Rapture happened about 14 days ago.

#30 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 04:05 PM:

becca @29: So that's what happened.

#31 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 04:29 PM:

Here's the story that 'Six Feet Under' opener was based on:

http://www.snopes.com/religion/rapture.asp

#32 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 04:37 PM:
1. A bunch of inflatable sex dolls.
2. A tank of helium.
3. Rapture!

They're doin' it in the air
Way up there
Completely bare!

Rapturous!

#33 ::: Stephan Zielinski ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 04:37 PM:

I had to go look it up: TNT detonates at 6940 m/s, and hydrogen-air (presumably the stoichiometric mix) detonates at 1968 m/s. (From here.) Not really a "low explosive", since that's way, way faster than the ~343 m/s speed of sound-- but still not in the 3000-9000 m/s range one would ordinarily expect before one could call it a "high explosive".

#34 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 06:24 PM:

The Modesto Kid #25/26: Which of you do I forgive, the original or the simulacrum?

#35 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 07:39 PM:

Iceland is having earthquakes and a volcanic eruption (not Eyafkjsdf;aljshdfa;oihndafl, a different one)

Modified Rapture?

#36 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 08:18 PM:

Nobody around here seems to have been taken up into heaven but then we're a pretty sinful lot around these parts. A lot of my neighborhood is decidedly non-Christian and I have broken several commandments on a regular basis so I really wasn't expecting much to happen here.

Is it possible that the rapture did happen and that no-one in the entire world was sufficiently righteous to qualify?

#37 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 08:30 PM:

"Conan the Barbarian" ended on AMC at 6pm.
It's now 6:29pm and "Conan the Deestroyer" is still on.

#38 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 09:22 PM:

36
We'll find out after they get all the missing-persons reports sorted out.

#39 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 09:48 PM:

It might be nice if the more annoying evangelicals got taken away, but I'm not holding my breath.

#40 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:15 PM:

Is it possible that the rapture did happen and that no-one in the entire world was sufficiently righteous to qualify?

Everybody is invited to the tribulations!

Fragano @34: The entity which identifies itself as The Modesto Kid at the point at which your forgiveness is received will accept it by proxy for me and previous instantiations.

#41 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 12:03 AM:

On the 'end of the world' theme, I invited a co-worker to check out episode 1 of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Hulu.

I was going to be lazy and let you search it out for yourself, but apparently I suffer from some form of link OCD.

#42 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 06:20 AM:

#35 --Iceland is having earthquakes and a volcanic eruption...

Modified Rapture?

Could be - anyone singing choruses in public?

Y'know, it's a loss to Savoyards that Gilbert never set an opera in iceland. Preferably one about Vikings interested in tinned goods.

#43 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:01 AM:

As one of my Twitter contacts said (in Dutch), maybe the Rapture did happen, and the memory of all the people taken up left the world with them.

Overnight, a subtle change occurred: former bedrooms became, and had always been, spare rooms; databases and their backups were untraceably altered*; the subjects of photos rearranged themselves in a million dusty albums. Authors and their oeuvres vanished, replaced by the works of the less godly (many of them previously self-published; the quality of Smashwords dropped by an immeasurable fraction).

And IP addresses. The format of IP addresses had to change so that we were still short of them, even after so many were freed up as their users went away. Before the Rapture, they were different.

----
* a God who can part the Red Sea can surely overcome referential integrity issues. What's omnipotence good for otherwise?†
† You should see His solution to the halting problem‡
‡ Or not; it burns out mortal minds like lightning through a lightbulb filament.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 08:15 AM:

It'd have been funny to see the likes of Pat Robertson start ascending to the sky, only to have a pilot-less jetliner crash into him.

#46 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 08:18 AM:

Abi @ 43... What you describe sounds like a standard Twilight Zone story, like the one where Jim Hutton and Rod Taylor are astronauts who should have died.

#47 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 11:07 AM:

abi #43: OK, that's even more disturbing if you think seriously about the intended meaning of the Rapture.

It's one thing for the "good people" to be rewarded, and perhaps revealed as such ... consider that a truly holy person has presumably done many good works, influenced others, inspired their fellows. And as a "reward" for their virtue, all those works are to be "unhappened", or perhaps reassigned to lesser folk? Every "living saint" forgotten, and their acts revoked?

<shudder>!

#48 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 11:13 AM:

David @47: but consider Œdipus' statement at Colonus that "the best thing is never to have been born" -- perhaps these living saints are truly receiving the ultimate reward.

#49 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 12:02 PM:

This whole thing turned out to be a Bum Rapt.

#50 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 12:10 PM:

Modesto Kid @48: Yes, but Oedipus is from a different belief system, one where the gods are pretty much acknowledged to be out to screw you over for their own amusement.

#51 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Modesto Kid #48: ... considering what he'd been through, who can blame him?

#52 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 12:42 PM:

The clearest evidence I've seen of the Rapture having occurred is a pair of abandoned flip-flops by the pool this morning. But -- does this mean the fellow was swimming naked in the kiddie pool, and if so, how did he qualify to be Raptured? It is to ponder. (I was not just wearing but also sewing clothing of mixed fibers, so I was okay.)

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 12:49 PM:

If the Rapture means leaving all clothes and fibers behind, what does this mean for knitters?

#54 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 02:34 PM:

abi @ 43:

I don't see how the God of PL/SQL can possibly be benevolent.

#55 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 02:41 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 54... I love the God of pl/sql, especially after having had to deal with the God of pro*C.

#56 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 03:38 PM:

People say Rapture, I think Debbie Harry.

#57 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 03:54 PM:

Tangentially related to the topic, through the medium of evangelical Christianity: the Tennessee State House of Representatives has passed a bill forbidding mention of homosexuality in the classroom (not yet taken up by the Senate).

George Takei offers a solution.

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Lila @ 57... I want the mug. I wonder if Tennessee would let TCM air the musical "The Takei Divorcee".

#59 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 05:02 PM:

Lila #57 ::: Ordering the T-shirt now. Damn, but that guy is baaad.

On the flip side, the site shows signs of its hasty assembly -- some of the info pages look like package defaults, and the site ID verification isn't set up properly.

#60 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 05:32 PM:

Abi @43, I think infallible precognition would trivially solve the halting problem, though it probably wouldn't constitute mathematical proof.

#61 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 05:35 PM:

Though it now occurs to me (a few seconds after hitting the Submit button) that the question "Will this concept destroy the consciousness of any sapient who attempts to comprehend it?" may, itself, be equivalent to the halting problem.

#62 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Soon Lee @56 -- Check this out.

#63 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 06:19 PM:

David, #59: My friend Janet (not any of the Janets here) said, "That man rocks like three geology conferences and the entire Sierra Madre range."

#64 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:00 PM:

And, getting back to the topic, another friend of mine notes that it's quite possible that the Rapture happened and failed to be noticed for an entirely different reason. "Jesus had a liking for the poor, weak, and meek. World-wide, a few hundred thousand of those vanish every day."

#65 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:00 PM:

In re. Œdipus, this has never occurred to me before but it cannot be an original observation: the foundation myth of Christianity is essentially an Œdipus story in reverse -- God impregnates Mary who then becomes God's mother. Oh my God, how can this not have occurred to me?

#66 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:14 PM:

@64 That sounds like the premise for an SF story I'd read.

(Actually, it sounds like the premise for an SF story I'm unlikely to get around to writing, but was discussing with my spousal unit on the way to dinner last night.)

#67 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:40 PM:

I actually have a half-written story called "After the Rapture," but the eponymous event isn't, despite the beliefs of some of the characters, the real Rapture. It's a biological macroweapon attack.

#68 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:42 PM:

There was in fact a 6.x earthquake in a remote part of New Zealand yesterday, but since they have about 14000 quakes a year, it's not a big surprise, just a bit bigger than average. And there was a 3.4 about 13 miles north of Oakland.

And as usual when anybody involved with Christianity does anything stupid, the entire religion is being insulted in ways that would be considered offensive and inappropriate if the target were any other religion.

#69 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:45 PM:

On the other hand, if you want a bunch of billboards, cheap, you can probably rent them for the rest of the month or quarter or whatever for whatever you're willing to offer.

#70 ::: 'As You Know' Bob ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:45 PM:

Rapture Cupcakes

#71 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 08:05 PM:

Bill 68: And as usual when anybody involved with Christianity does anything stupid, the entire religion is being insulted in ways that would be considered offensive and inappropriate if the target were any other religion.

As usual when someone says this, I remark a) not here and b) your "any other religion" is bullshit.

People insult Pagan religions (paleo-, neo-, and eo-) all the damn time and hardly ANYONE thinks it's inappropriate or offensive.

Paleo: Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess, Troy, every "myth" epic ever made, Stargate (the movie) and Stargate SG-1.

Neo: The Craft (despite having a Wiccan consultant, they still managed to have some really stooopid shit), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (much as I loved it, it insulted Wicca repeatedly without so much as a flinch from anyone), and of course the infamous Charmed (everyone involved in that at any point should be ashamed).

Eo: Stargate SG-1 again, them apparently having forgotten that there are people who still worship and whose ancestors always have worshiped the Hindu gods. Nirrti isn't a very popular goddess, but it's still insulting to Hinduism* to portray her as just a human with a parasitic snake in her head. Don't even get me started on the Hollywood bullshit about "witch doctors" and "voodoo" (yeah, Vodun is a religion) and the various travesties of Native American shamanism that appear in movie after movie and TV show after TV show.

So yeah, it's not OK to tar Christianity with the ridiculous, destructive behavior of self-professed "Christian" loonies. I object to that whenever I see it, and have done so time and again, online and in person.

But "insulted in ways that would be considered offensive and inappropriate if the target were any other religion" is itself insulting bullshit. Maybe my religion or that of 950 million Hindus doesn't count as "religion" to you, or maybe you just don't notice the insults that are constantly thrown at us. But insults (or whole religions) don't just disappear because you prefer not to notice them.

So if you don't like having your religion insulted, join the fucking club, dude. Seriously, I'm with you there. But don't try to act like you're the only member.

*In my opinion. I've never heard a Hindu complain, but perhaps they're used to being insulted by Christians who think their religion is fair game.

#72 ::: Marcos ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 08:08 PM:

#62: Cool. Could use a little more Rapture, though. :)

#73 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 12:22 AM:

One theory is that we missed the Rapture: it already happened, long ago. Long, long ago.

#74 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 12:40 AM:

Modesto Kid@65: Some while ago I came up with a bizarre Greek myth/Christian myth mashup, partly inspired by Hitherby Dragons.

It's part of the story of Athena's birth that Zeus got a child on the goddess Metis, then heard a prophecy that Metis's son would overthrow him, just as he had overthrown his father. In my cosmology, it wasn't the angel Gabriel who came to Mary, it was Zeus, who didn't know that Mary was Metis reincarnated. And Mary's child did indeed grow up to overthrow him.

#75 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 06:17 AM:

David @74: Interesting! And thanks for the reminder about Hitherby Dragons, that site had slipped off my memory rader.

#76 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 09:58 AM:

It's just so risky to engage in these predictions, as has been demonstrated before. I mean, you could make a list.

#77 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 10:03 AM:

My guess is that God didn't get the memo or that Heaven has a very good spam filter.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 10:17 AM:

Bob @ 70... coughgagsplutter!!!

#79 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 10:28 AM:

David Goldfarb: #74: Yup... I've commented before (prob'ly here, even) that Jesus fits right into the slot for that -- a Sun Child displacing a Storm King. Also, his general reliance on teaching rather than smiting would fit nicely with being a son of Metis.

#80 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 10:59 AM:

Thomas @ 35

Modified Rapture?

I am so going to steal that!

#81 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 12:35 PM:

A lot of the fun went out of the original topic for me when I heard the news about the woman in California who cut her two daughters' throats and her own throat when they weren't raptured, trying unsuccessfully to kill them and herself so they wouldn't have to live through the Tribulation.

I like the mythological reanalyses of Christianity, though.

#82 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 01:18 PM:

Clifton Royston #81: I can understand the sentiment, but.... At first glance, it would seem to "show the problem with evangelical Christianity" -- but even I (an atheist Jew) can spot that according to her own supposed beliefs, she would have been sending herself (definitely) and her kids (probably) straight to Hell -- that is, worse off than the Tribulation.

I say that's a case of mental illness gone murderous, and frankly, that sort of craziness does not depend on someone's religious faith.

#83 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 01:43 PM:

fidelio, #76: We did.

Clifton, #81: Yeah. I consider Camping to be morally responsible for that incident; even if the woman was going to go off that way sooner or later anyhow, he both invented and stressed the trigger phenomenon. It's the same process, though not from the same motivations, as stochastic terrorism.

Does anyone know how old those kids are? I haven't seen an article that mentions their ages.

#84 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 03:53 PM:

Lee, the girls are 11, and 14.

#85 ::: Stephan Zielinski ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Speaking of helium: Oscar-Winning Songwriter Dead in Apparent Suicide: "Joseph Brooks . . . had a plastic dry-cleaning bag around his head and a towel wrapped around his neck. A hose attached to a helium tank was hooked up to the bag."

#86 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 06:46 PM:

thomas @35: Eyafkjsdf;aljshdfa;oihndafl

Thank you! That's the first good laugh I've had all day.

#87 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 08:23 PM:

(not Eyafkjsdf;aljshdfa;oihndafl, a different one)

Note that there is currently an active campaign at Facebook to "rename the Grímsvötn volcano Gnoðlagardelluþverlverglarjökulskerlingarfjöll"

#88 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 11:05 PM:

Bill #68 : And as usual when anybody involved with Christianity does anything stupid, the entire religion is being insulted in ways that would be considered offensive and inappropriate if the target were any other religion.


Has no one noticed that the belief in this so-called "Rapture" is ascriptural and heretical?

#89 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:52 AM:

'Heretical' depends a lot on where you're standing, but there's been pretty wide reporting of the inconsistency with Matthew 24:36 and of the fact that a distinctly nonstandard and creative reading is needed to get the details of the End Times.

#90 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 04:26 AM:

thomas @ #35:

I still don't understand what's so hard about pronouncing Eyjafjallajökull (ey-yah-fyell-ah-yuh-cull; roughly).

Now, I can (sometimes) pronounce Irkutsksktskrattande, with all nine consecutive consonants individually pronounced.

#91 ::: sptrashcan ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 10:06 AM:

Ingvar M @90:

That's interesting. Language Log did a post on this a while ago and recommended a different pronunciation. According to them, the "ll" is pronounced "tl", so their suggested English pronunciation is Eh-ya-fyat-la-yuh-cuttle.

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2257

Maybe there's some variability in the pronunciation?

#92 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 12:12 PM:

Ingvar M @90: I still don't understand what's so hard about pronouncing Eyjafjallajökull

Prisencolinensinainciusol. Just sayin'

#93 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 12:27 PM:

Rapture recalculated!

Camping now says that the REAL Rapture will happen on Oct. 21. And no, he's not giving back any of the money donated to his failed campaign. I guess he wants to be sure HE can live high on the hog for the next 6 months, and the hell with any of his followers.

#94 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 03:53 PM:

The Modesto Kid #62:
On the topic of killer mashups: AC/DC vs Ghostbusters.

#95 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 09:08 PM:

93
Okay: he's decided we're not going to get the 6 months between the rapture and the end of the world (which he already had predicted for that date), or he's decided to shift his entire timetable six months later to hide the embarrassment of missing his first date.

Either way, his calculations were wrong and he isn't admitting it.

#96 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 09:44 PM:

I hope his follower/victims tear him limb from limb.

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 09:51 PM:

What if the world did end last weekend, but it then came back like in "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"?

#98 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 11:12 PM:

Serge: What difference would it make?

#99 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 11:13 PM:

@96: Deut. 18:20 would require it. I'm not sure of the method of execution, though.

Camping seems to be saying that the rapture occurred, but wasn't what he thought it would be. It was a "spiritual" rapture, whatever that means - perhaps God has chosen those who will be saved in October - which had no visible effects. There will be no tribulation before the end of the world, which is still due in October.

#100 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 11:14 PM:

PJ Evans @ 95: He forgot to carry a cubit.

#101 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 11:32 PM:

Xopher @ 98... Exactement.

#102 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 11:52 PM:

#95: P J Evans: ...he's decided to shift his entire timetable six months later to hide the embarrassment of missing his first date.

His first date? He missed his first date back in September, 1994. This one was his second time around. #3 is coming in October.

But, actually, it isn't. How do I know? Because it is given to no man to know the day or hour.

#103 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 12:05 AM:

So when a woman like Mother Shipton predicts the Rapture, we should be worried?

#104 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 12:18 AM:

102
You know that, and I know that, but Camping seems to have missed the message.

#105 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 12:30 AM:

The Greek texts don't say 'man'; that's the King James translation (likely from Wycliffe) avoiding the passive.

The Greek is closer to "the day and the hour have not been known".

Only worry if Agnes Nutter predicts it.

#106 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 12:53 AM:

Lee@93: I figured that a recalculation was in the works. William Miller put it at March 21, 1844, and then when nothing happened then, recalculated to October 22. Camping is doing the same thing. When October comes and goes with no Eschaton, it'll be a blow to him, but it won't kill his organization any more than the Great Disappointment killed the Millerites (now AKA the Seventh Day Adventists).

Thomas@105: You are misinformed. According to the online sources I checked, Matthew 24:36 says in Greek "οὐδεὶς οἶδεν", which is not passive at all, it's a perfectly straightforward "nobody knows".

#107 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 12:57 AM:

Newsflash! Rapture date miscalculated! 2 plus 2 does equal 4!

#108 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 02:09 AM:

David, #106: However, it is perfectly in character for the King James translators to have changed "nobody" or "no one" to "no man".

#109 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 09:24 AM:

sptrashcan @ #91:

I am filtering it through another Norse-family language and MAY be off by a bit, but probably not enough to be incomprehensible to an Icelandic native (although I think the purpose of the double-L is to shorten the preceding vowel).

#110 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 12:14 PM:

Ingvar, Jacque: And then there's Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl.

#111 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 01:11 PM:

The Popocateptl is not in Canada!

I still get a giggle out of the person who said they were tempted to start spelling the volcano Eyjafjallacthulhu and see if anybody noticed.

#112 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 01:41 PM:

Lee @111: thanks for the abrupt and water-filled laugh! (missed the keyboard, thankfully, but did make a snork noise)

#113 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 03:55 PM:

James #88 - When I first saw the "Left behind" books 9 years ago (courtesy of my sister, who even gave me one for Christmas), a swift bit of internet research later and it appeared clear to me that the writers were blasphemous and heretical. Putting words into Jesus' mouth! Using unscriptural 19th century interpretations of the bible! And so on.
Not to mention crimes against literature.

#114 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 04:12 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @110: Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl

Oh, that's who that is! There was a (now late, lamented) Mexican restaurant that had that image on their sign (and a non-obviously-to-gringos-related name), and I figured it Meant Something, but damned if I could figure out how to look it up.

#115 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 02:12 AM:

Lee@108: Well, to be fair to the KJV translators, "οὐδεὶς" is in fact a masculine form -- literally "no man". For the ancient Greeks as for the Elizabethans, the male gender was considered the unmarked state, so here "οὐδεὶς" includes everybody. And of course there are prominent examples of "no man" being used this way as late as 1966.

#116 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 10:28 AM:

Yeah, it took the appearance of THUNDER Agents to have us learn that NoMan was definitely male....

#117 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 04:03 PM:

Ingvar M @ #109 I think the purpose of the double-L is to shorten the preceding vowel

Written double consonants in Icelandic indicate a long consonant. (Though this does have the secondary effect of shortening the preceding vowel, as vowels are short before long consonants as they are before most consonant clusters. Vowel length, unlike consonant length, is not usually taken to be phonemic in Icelandic.) Moreover, "ll" is pronounced [tl] before a vowel and voiceless [tl̥] word finally (except in some foreign loans and personal names, where it's long [lː]).

(Information in this post derived from Icelandic by Stefán Einarsson (1945), and the Wikipedia entry for Icelandic phonology.)

#118 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 04:26 PM:

Ingvar M, Tim May #117. That's what I thought. And I had checked the pronunciation with a real Icelandic person (who even has an ð in his name).

Even if it weren't for the [tl] sounds it would still be a scary thing to have show up in your teleprompter without warning. Conducive to buffer overflow.

#119 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 08:10 PM:

thomas #118: a scary thing to have show up in your teleprompter without warning.

Heh! More like, conducive to "talking head 'asploding live on-the-air!"

#120 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 03:28 PM:

thomas #118 & David Harmon #119:

Local newsreaders are dodging the issue completely by referring to "last year's Iceland volcanic eruption" (Eyjafjallajökull) & "a volcano in Iceland" ( Grimsvotn ) for the current one.

#122 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 12:44 AM:

Malformed link there, I'm afraid. Try again?

#123 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 01:35 AM:

Well, if he dies on Oct 21, he will have been right about this world ending (for him). Not the first person to confuse the personal and the generic....

May he live a much longer life, and realize his errors.

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