20 July 2010

New date for the end of the world: 21 May 2011

A certain simpleton, called Harold Camping, has "proved", using "mathematics", that the world will not end in 2012, as the Mayans, allegedly, predicted, and as the recent Hollywood movie proclaimed, but in 21 May 2011.

Here is how he did it:
  • Jesus was crucified on 1 April 33.
  • 2011-33 = 1978 years.
  • 1978 x 365.2422 days (the number of days in each solar year) = 722,449.0716 days. That is, approximately, 722,500 days.
  • But 722,500 = (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17).
  • And the Bible says (so says the above simpleton):
  • 5 = Atonement
  • 10 = Completeness
  • 17 = Heaven
And then he said:
"I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that: 5 times 10 times 17 is telling you a story, it's the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you're completely saved."
Why, he is absolutely right! Perfect line of reasoning. No flaws, no nothing. Just the truth, a heavenly one, that is.

We know that this time, Camping is right. Indeed, we can forgive his earlier mistake:
On Sept. 6, 1994, dozens of Camping's believers gathered inside Alameda's Veterans Memorial Building to await the return of Christ, an event Camping had promised for two years. Followers dressed children in their Sunday best and held Bibles open-faced toward heaven. But the world did not end. Camping allowed that he may have made a mathematical error. He spent the next decade running new calculations, as well as overseeing a media company that has grown significantly in size and reach.[source]
And his efforts were redeemed: not only did Camping learn more mathematics (indeed, how could he ever come up with the complicated formulas above), not only did he read the Bible line by line, but he also asked for forgiveness for his previous error and is now, I suppose, preparing for the doomsday. Apparently he has more followers now.
Rick LaCasse, who attended the September 1994 service in Alameda, said that 15 years later, his faith in Camping has only strengthened.
"Evidently, he was wrong," LaCasse allowed, "but this time it is going to happen. There was some doubt last time, but we didn't have any proofs. This time we do."
Yeah! PROOFS! They have proofs. And so we must accept them. They are fullproof foolsproofs proofs.


  1. To reprise a recent XKCD comic, there are 2 minor problems with this:
    1. He forgot to carry the 1
    2. It's nonsense.

  2. Well Michael, these are MINOR problems. The end of the world is nigh, and that's what Harold Camping has "proved". Well, approximately.



What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant