No, NASA did not predict the end of the world last week


Well the collapse of civilization might not be the end of the world.

And what if it’s already the Kali-Yuga?

Something that bugged me in all the breathless coverage of this study was the lack of links to the text of the actual study - or even things that would allow a google search that would reliably find the text (title, authors, that kind of basic information).

All of the links that ought to have referred to the actual study they were writing about, just pointed to some other media outlet’s coverage of the study. Generally a couple of clicks brought you to an article at the Guardian, which was a dead end.

Even the story at linked to from BB has a link that reads “The study” - but it’s not a link to the study, it’s a link to an article about the study on, which itself contains no further links to anything like a reference.

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This is a major problem with science journalism-- so many popular science articles fail to cite the original paper in any meaningful way.


If not, why the hell are we giving them any money? Tell us when it will end, science, or you’re no good to me!


Easy mistake to have made, though; it was actually the NSA that predicted that one.

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Can someone help me find the original study?

Is this it?

I found this one here which looks at a glance like the same paper except it’s dated a day later.

Phew, thanks!

Kloor quotes from the email Joseph Tainter sent him, after pointing out Tainter was referred to in the then unpublished paper, that Tainter himself unequivocally distanced himself from the paper. In his email Tainter is quoted as saying “Models depend on the assumptions that go into them.” This is an expert on the collapse of modern societies distancing himself from a paper that is positing a possible collapse of the present society (hmmm, which one?) pretty much saying some of us tend to see things happening based on what we happen to be thinking about at the moment.

I have to admit reading the Guardian article soured my mood when I read it, even if critical thinking kicked in shortly thereafter. I’m glad to hear it wasn’t very rigorous, anyway.

That is so last week.

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