Yesterday's New York Times Magazine
featured an On Language
column that had absolutely nothing to do with language, a Neal Pollack article
(about feeding his son hot dogs) that was so boring it made Adam Gopnik look like Hunter Thompson and an interview with Wesley Clark that featured the questions "Why do Americans eat hot dogs on July 4?" and "Do you think the Founding Fathers ate hot dogs?"
In short, the only thing that kept me from killing myself was this
assurance that I was going to die anyway, probably in 2012. Yes, the Times decided to do a six-page glossy spread on Mayan eschatology
. It even features soundbites from Anthony Aveni, an Colgate professor and archeoastronomer (if you don't know what that is, go here
). Maybe next week there'll be an article about phrenology
featuring two cryptozoologists
Besides sounding like Da Vinci Code fan fiction
(with sentences like "Jenkins was the first to reveal a major flaw in the synchronization between Arguelles's Dreamspell and the Mayan day count, and he has been involved in an extensive, long-distance feud with Calleman since 2001 over their differing approaches to interpreting the Maya and over Calleman's belief that the end time will be in 2011, not 2012.") there was something else that bugged me about the article. It was a quote from the archeoastronomer: "Jenkins and Calleman and Arguelles are the Gnostics of our time. They're seeking higher knowledge. They look for knowledge framed in mystery. And there aren't many mysteries left, because science has decoded most of them."
It's kind of silly to think that science has solved most of the mysteries of the universe. Just look at the What We Don't Know
from the February 2007 issue of Wired. The article was edited by John Hodgman (who also edits the Times Magazine's Funny Pages) and presents 40 different dilemmas that science has so far been unable to answer, ranging from "Why do we sleep?" to "Is the universe actually made of information?" Basically, this post is a long-winded way to say that you should check out the Wired article and everything else
John Hodgman does