World’s expiry date: 21 December 2012?

The world will end on 21 December 2012, claims “web-bot” technology that has pushed apocalyptic prophecy into the internet age.

According to web’s conspiracy theorists, the bots accurately predicted the September 11 attacks and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and now they believe that a cataclysm of some sort will devastate the planet on 21 December, 2012.

Developed in the 1990s to predict stock market movements, the software is similar to the “spiders” that search engines use to index web pages.

The bots crawl through relevant web pages, noting keywords and examining the text around them. The theory is that this gives an insight into the “wisdom of crowds”, as the thoughts of thousands of people are aggregated, reports The Telegraph.

George Ure, the project’s “co-mind”, says that his system predicted a “world-changing event” in the 60 to 90 days after June 2001, and on 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks happened.

Despite the vagueness of this prediction, many believed it to be genuine.

Now, the latest prediction is that 21 December 2012 signals the end of the world, possibly through a “polar shift” – when the polarity of the Earth’s magnetic field is reversed. Believers claim that as well as the bots, the 2012 apocalypse is predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar, the Book of Revelations, and the Chinese text I Ching. (ANI)

Astronomer busts Mayan calendar’s dire prediction for 2012

Washington,  The world won’t be coming to an end on December 21, 2012, as said to be darkly predicted by the Mayan calendar, says an astronomer.

Ann Martin, doctoral candidate in Cornell University astronomy department, points out that the Mayan calendar was designed to be cyclical, so the fact that the long count comes to an end in December 2012 is really of no consequence.

Simply, it is the end of great calendar cycle in Mayan society, much like our modern society celebrated the new millennium. It does not mean that the ‘world will end’, says Martin.

In fact, the Mayan calendar does not end then and there is no evidence to suggest that the Mayans — or anyone for that matter — has knowledge of the world’s demise, says Martin.

For the past three years, Martin has been a volunteer with Cornell’s ‘Curious? Ask an Astronomer’ service, a website founded by astronomy graduate students in 1997, says a varsity [^] release.

Curious? Ask an Astronomer features the answers to over 750 frequently asked astronomy questions, and readers who can’t find their answers there can submit a new question and receive an answer from a graduate student volunteer.

Principal held for molesting girl in Andhra Pradesh

Hyderabad, Nov 14 (IANS) The principal of a private school in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayanagaram district was Saturday arrested for allegedly trying to molest a girl student.

The incident took place in Bhogapuram in Vijayanagaram in north coastal Andhra.

 

Police said Srinivas Rao had called three girl students of Class 5 to his house for some work as the school was closed on account of second Saturday. He allegedly tried to molest one of the girls in a room.

 

Alerted by the screams of the girl, neighbours caught hold of the principal. The parents and other relatives of the victim and local people thrashed the principal after tying him to a pole.

 

A police officer said the 11-year-old girl complained that the principal tried to sexually assault her but Rao has denied the allegation.

 

Rao was arrested and a case has been filed against him, police said.

Mumbai engineer builds up a remote-operated machine to control brutal elephants

Thrissur (Kerala), Nov 14 (ANI): An engineer from Mumbai has designed and developed a remote operated mechanism to control the violent elephants in the state.

Zachariah Mathew with his son conducted the trial run of the device here on Thursday amidst the mahouts and elephant owners.

The duo has named the device ‘Violent Elephant Control Gear’ and it has been manufactured at their engineering firm in Mumbai.

This device weighing only 8 kilograms can be attached to an elephant’s legs and can be controlled from a distance of over 25 meters with the help of a remote.

Zachariah Mathew said that he developed the device after seeing the number of deaths due to elephant rampage in the state.

“Last year I saw in TV that in an area of Kerala, three people died of elephant rampage. So we developed this machine. The advantage of this device is that if an elephant becomes violent, then it can be controlled with the remote from a distance of about 25 kilometers. The elephant will be unable to move its legs after that,” said Mathew.

The remote control gear expenses around Rupees 30,000.

Elephants are used for temple festivals in southern India, particularly in long processions.

Elephants are deeply respected in India, with the elephant-headed god Ganesha one of the most popular in the Hindu pantheon.

But despite their divine status, hundreds of elephants continue to be ill treated and overworked at illicit circuses and temples, where they spend 9-10 hours carrying tourists and locals. (ANI)

Police station in Goa inaugurated with belly dance

Panaji, Nov 14 (IANS) The entire Goa Police top brass was treated to a belly dance performed by a scantily clad Russian dance troupe at a newly inaugurated police station in the state.

The belly dance was held at a function to celebrate the inauguration of the new premises of the Anjuna police station, 15 km from Panaji, late Thursday evening.

 

Officials at the Anjuna police station said that the dance had to be called off after the crowd comprising of police officials and civilians got unruly, and tried to climb onto the stage on which the belly dancers were performing.

 

‘The belly dancers came as soon as the home minister left the premises after the inauguration. All the senior police officials including the inspector general of police and senior superintendents of police were present,’ an official at the Anjuna police station said, adding that the show was conducted by a Delhi-based organiser of exotic dances called Yogi.

 

When contacted, Inspector General of Police (IGP) K.D. Singh said: ‘Yogi had approached us after which he was given permission. What is the harm? The place where the event was held was the police station premises and it was open to the public.’

 

The inspector general of police said the media was simply ‘raking up the issue’.

 

‘When there are naked people on the beach, going against our culture, it is not highlighted. But a dance event in the police station premises is taken wrongly…this should not be done,’ Singh said.

 

In another incident, late Thursday night four superintendents of police, two deputy superintendents and an inspector partying on board offshore casino vessel MV Casino Royale created a stir, after they locked themselves up in a bar room to avoid a media contingent who were invited on board for a press conference.

 

The senior officials stayed cooped up inside ‘Aqua’, the bar on board the casino vessel, until the media vacated the premises.

Sabarimala pilgrimage begins Monday, 40 mn devotees expected

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 14 (IANS) Sabarimala, Kerala’s famed temple, opens its doors Monday for the annual two-month pilgrimage that is expected to see over 40 million devotees visiting the hilltop shrine this year.

The health department has made arrangements for the devotees at the foothills and enroute to the temple top, including increasing the number of ‘oxygen parlours’.

 

The Indian Railways has announced it will operate more coaches while the state state government will run more buses.

 

Earlier, the Devaswom (temple affairs) ministers and secretaries of south Indian states met to discuss arrangements for pilgrims coming from their states.

 

Last year, a record 40 million devotees visited the temple. This year a 10 percent rise in the figure is expected, temple authorities said.

 

More than 5,000 officials, including around 3,000 policemen, will be deployed in the temple town in Pathanamthitta district to oversee the daily administration of the festival season.

 

Additional chief secretary and head of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) K. Jayakumar told IANS that all arrangements had been made for the new pilgrimage season.

 

‘Several review meetings have been held to look into the various pilgrim facilities for the smooth conduct of the festival,’ said Jayakumar.

 

Women who have attained puberty but not reached menopause are barred from entering the Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

 

Sabarimala temple is situated in the Western Ghats, at an altitude of 914 meters above sea level. The temple is accessible only by foot from Pamba, the main halting point.

 

Though the temple is now open throughout the year, the peak pilgrimage season begins on the first day of the Malayalam month in November and closes on the first day of the Malayalam month in January.

 

Some of the ardent devotees observe a 41-day penance before the pilgrimage during which they do not wear leather sandals, are attired in black dhoti and eat only vegetarian food.

Uttarakhand to get Rs.400 crore for Kumbh Mela Source: Uttarakhand to get Rs.400 crore for Kumbh Mela

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) The central government has released Rs.400 crore for preparations for the Kumbh Mela religious festival, to be held next year at Hardwar in Uttarakhand.

‘We are happy to announce that the central government has released Rs.400 crore for the preparations,’ Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said in his inaugural address at the India International Trade Fair here Saturday.

 

‘Visitors to the Kumbh Mela are not in lakhs but in crores. So our government is doing everything to manage things smoothly. Preparation is on full swing and with this financial support we will be able to make this event a success,’ Pokhriyal said.

 

The festival is scheduled to start Jan 14 on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, considered an auspicious day on the Hindu calendar.

 

He also welcomed the move to make Uttarakhand the focus state at this year’s trade fair, saying: ‘This will give us an opportunity to showcase our resources and tourism opportunities to international and domestic tourists.’