I'm writing this in Adelaide, South Australia. We have one daily newspaper, "The Advertiser". It has a column running under the byline "What's your problem?" Readers write in with questions along the lines of "How do I remove stains from vinyl?" or "Who pays if my neighbour wants to erect a fence between our two properties?, stuff like that. Apparently the column has an editor who researches the questions, then prints the answers.
Occasionally people write in with interesting questions e.g., in this morning's column (Wed, Jan 5) there was a question about the ring around the moon before rain.
Now then. The other question and answer in today's column is reproduced hereunder -
FOUND MISSING DAY
I have read that space scientists at Green Belt, Maryland, have discovered the missing day of long ago. Can you enlarge?
We understand from a magazine article that space scientists in America were checking the positions of sun, moon and planets both 100 years and 1000 years from now. This information was necessary to plan the trajectories of satellities and other space vehicles to avoid the danger of collisions. The scientists ran computer measurements back and forth over the centuries but discovered something was wrong either with the information fed into the computers or with the results when compared with the calculated standards. The computers were checked for accuracy but they still showed that a day was missing. One of the team remembered the story in the book of Joshua (chapters 9 and 10) in the Bible which tells of Joshua coming to the rescue of Gibeon (?) and asking God to make the sun stand still. The space team checked the computer going back to the time of Joshua and found the elapsed time that was missing was 23 hours and 20 minutes, not a whole day but as the Bible account states "about a whole day". This left a disparity of 40 minutes. Again the Bible student came to the resuce remembering another occasion when Hezekiah, on his death bed, was visited by the prophet Isiah who told him God was going to heal him. Hezekiah asked for a sign and was given the choice of the sun going forward or backward 10 degrees. Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes. Adding this to the 23 hours and 20 minutes in Joshua makes up the missing 24 hours.
This sounds like one of those National Enquirer type "beat-ups". Any-one care to comment, pass judgement, provide further information?
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This story has been circulating in its NASA version at least since the 1960s, largely due to its promulgation by one Harold Hill, who says that he was present at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center when the above events allegedly took place. NASA denies that this ever occurred, and Hill, the former president of the Curtis Engine Company of Baltimore, was involved in diesel engine operations at Goddard and had no involvement with any computer operations.
The story predates Hill's NASA version, and goes back to Charles A. L. Totten's _Joshua's Long Day and the Dial of Ahaz: A Scientific Vindication_ (1890). Hill published his version in Harold Hill, as told to Irene Burk Harrell, _How to Live Like a King's Kid_, 1974, Logos International. (Logos International was a Christian publisher with no qualms about publishing phony testimonies--it also published Mike Warnke's _The Satan Seller_, Michael Esses' _Michael, Michael, Why Do You Hate Me?_, and Fernand Navarra's _Noah's Ark--I Touched It_, all of which have been debunked.)
There's more to the story than this!
I obtained a copy of some similar software, and tried projecting the positions _forwards_. I discovered that the program crashed whenever I tried to advance it past 11:59 PM, December 31, 65535 AD. No matter how many trials I ran, the program always failed on _exactly_ _the_ _same_ _date_. The only possible explanation is that this date marks the end of the Universe...that is, Judgement Day.
(Incidentally, this disproves Christianity, which claims that Judgement Day cannot be predicted in advance. Further research will be needed to determine whether Judaism or Islam is the One True Religion.) -- Charles Don Hall, Licensed Philosopher (firstname.lastname@example.org)