Yesterday's Sun newspaper had a different variation on the Mayan 2012 end of the world claims.
Two whole pages were devoted to Michael Carroll's feature on Cornish computer repair man Larry Peters, who is stockpiling food and attempting to live self-sufficiently in readiness for a giant solar flare striking the earth. The term sometimes used for survivalists like Mr Peters is preppers. Here is an insight into his thinking:
"By the end of 2012 a huge flare is predicted that will wipe all this out. It will be a total breakdown of society, complete anarchy. Lots of people are going to die. The government and the super-rich know this is going to happen and they are prepared. That leaves the rest of us to fend for ourselves".
Several problems emerge. Firstly no evidence is offered that the British government and the rich actually do know that the world is going to end this year, and no insights into changes in their behaviour or practices are offered. No scientific evidence is presented as to the likelihood of such a strike on earth. Rather like many 9/11 'truthers' it does emerge where Peters is getting his information from:
"Once he opens his computer repair shop, Larry spends three hours checking for solar flare updates, looks on You Tube for new conspiracy theory videos and catches up with preppers from across the world"
Clearly business is far from booming in the computer repairs world! Interestingly we also gain an insight into how Larry Peters reached the views he has - from reading a web posting on solar flares by US conspiracist Jessie Ventura. Then
"I watched his documentary and conducted my own research online"
And that sums up so much. No need to read a book, journal or speak to an expert in the field of solar flares, we can all do it ourselves on line. We are all experts. They only problem is, a lot of people aren't.