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A doomsday prediction failed

Published March 01. 2014 09:00AM

Shades of Norse god Thor; in case you missed it last weekend, we apparently dodged another doomsday prophecy albeit this one was a little more subjective than others previously including the infamous Mayan 2012 prophecy.

Apparently there was a Norse prophecy as interpreted by a British museum Viking festival coordinator named Daniella Daglan who said that Ragnarok or the "fate of the gods" would take place on Feb. 22.

I don't know about you, but if the Norse pantheon engaged in a battle on Saturday they definitely made some great weather for the rest of the world even if their day was less than ideal. I say less than ideal, because the result of Ragnarok is the death of the gods in a vicious epic battle.If this battle did occur, it must have been overshadowed by Olympic coverage.

Like many major religions, the Norse followers believe in a biblical style Armageddon which they call Ragnarok. In the Norse pantheon, Odin is a leader of the gods much like Zeus.

Thor is the God of thunder or war similar to Ares and Loki is the god of mischief or trickery similar to Hermes. Freya is a goddess like Aphrodite who was beautiful but cunning.The Norse gods unlike their Greek counterparts were a more somber lot and much more dedicated to making war instead of enriching culture.It is only logical that their mythology would include an end time like Ragnarok.

The name Ragnarok comes from two old Norse words ragna and rok. The word "ragna" according to Wikipedia means "conjure" while "rok" means several things including "fate". Because the gods manipulate the world the conjure refers to them so collectively the word means "the fate or destiny of the gods or conjurers".

In the warlike culture of the Norse gods, this is foretold to be a final battle among the gods and their enemies resulting in the deaths of many of those beings including Odin, Loki, Freya and Thor. It is interesting to note Ragnarok shares several similar events with other major religious apocalypses.

For example in Christian prophecy, Jesus told his disciples to look for signs of the end times including a moon going dark, the stars falling from the sky, false prophets, uprisings and natural disasters.

Similarly Ragnarok is preceded by a series of natural disasters but unlike other religions the climax of Ragnarok is when the world submerges under the ocean while the gods engage in a battle to their deaths.After Ragnarok, the land resurfaces and two surviving humans named Lif and Lifbrasir would repopulate the earth. While promoting the Viking festival, organizer Daglan compared the last two low performing summers to the prophecies of Ragnarok which states that there would be three non-summers preceding Ragnarok. This is an extremely subjective interpretation and as evidenced by the fact you are reading this one week later, I think we survived intact and none the worse for wear.

Also mentioned on the Fox News science page last week was a cool story from Live Science about the age of the Earth as determined by dating zircon crystals.Apparently zircon contains trace amounts of uranium that decomposes at a slow steady rate and by using atomic analysis of uranium atoms, scientists were able to date a sample zircon crystal and surprisingly learned the crystal was 4.4 billion years old. Due to the analysis of the zircon and its composition, the scientists who made this discovery were also able to tell that our Earth had a friendly environment to life 4 billion years ago as well.

In different news, users of Google maps made a surprising discovery in the Egyptian desert. As seen from above, the maps program displays a circular mound with an indentation inside a pair of spirals.It is an amazing structure which the ill-informed might fancifully think came from aliens, but in actuality the structure is not a mystery nor is it made by an extra terrestrials. It is an artistic piece designed by a team of artists in 1997 and is called "Desert Breath". It was created according to the news story to "celebrate the desert as a state of mind; a landscape of the mind".The mound in the center was originally a small lake and one spiral was cone indentations while the other was raised cones. The lake has long since evaporated and the spirals and mounds are being reclaimed by the relentless winds of the desert, but it has not failed to thrill armchair explorers using Google maps to locate interesting features on the earth's terrain.

So in a week's worth of scientific news, we find ourselves looking at a 4.4 billion year world that artists occasionally terraform to make a statement as long as the Norse gods refrain from waging war on our planet. Isn't that a comforting thought?

I always find history amazing and interesting and there is never a lack of discoveries to make in the field.Our understanding continually improves about where we come from and where we are heading, but one must pause to wonder about the path that brought us to today.We are quick to assume we are the most advanced societies in the history of the planet but as we examine the past one has to wonder what the ancient peoples truly knew. After all we know they had batteries as evidenced in Iraq and their knowledge of astronomy is staggering when one examines the clues left behind in the stone formations and configurations throughout the world.

Thorough study shows these locations like Stonehenge were observatories making one wonder how they developed the mathematics and understanding to construct such sites.Maybe someday we will find the correct answer to these mysteries.

Til next time …

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