How Believers Cope Post-Rapture

Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping estimated that 200 million people would be carried to paradise yesterday—they weren't, so how are his followers coping with the disappointment? 

What's the Latest Development?

For followers of Harold Camping's Christian talk radio show, May 21 was supposed to be the beginning of the end: The first day in a five month event that would see the universe completely destroyed on October 21, 2011. Now, as the sun has risen on the day after the prophesied rapture, Camping's disciples are likely to feel a keen sense of disappointment. "This could be a fairly sad day for these people," said Stephen Kent, a sociologist at the University of Alberta who studies new and alternative religions. "There will be some greatly disheartened people who may be terribly confused about what didn't happen."

What's the Big Idea?

Our minds are perhaps as resilient as they are malleable. Camping's doomsday prediction was not the first and probably will not be the last. In 1954, psychologist Leon Festinger infiltrated the doomsday cult called The Seekers. When the group leader's prophecy failed to come true, he observed some psychological calisthenics among the group's members in order to explain away all the evidence to the contrary. Steve Hassan, a counseling psychologist said: "A third of believers become disillusioned after a failed prediction, while another third find reason to believe more strongly. The remaining group members fall somewhere in between."

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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