There's a black hole in the center of our Milky Way galaxy, and we now have evidence that it "acted up" during the 200 years of the Renaissance, around 1450-1650, sending out a massive blast of X-rays. How do we know? We've discovered evidence of extensive X-ray anomalies here on Earth. Could these emissions somehow account for the massive growth in art and intellect during that period of time?
The i108 website says, "The question then is how rare this X-ray blast really was. It appears that it's at least several hundred years between bursts--otherwise, we'd likely already have seen evidence of a more recent one--and it might be an altogether more cosmic scale than that. Perhaps this was a once in a thousand year event, maybe even once in a million years. It's probably a lot closer in frequency to every thousand years than every million." They add that astronomers must be "kicking themselves for missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime cosmic event back when it actually happened."
Meanwhile, scientists' theories about that mysterious substance they call dark matter making up most of the mass of the universe may have to be revised. The current theory says that around 4% of the universe is made up of normal matter, and around 21% of it is dark matter, but if this isn't true, it means that CERN, which is searching for dark matter, may not be able to see it. The existence of dark matter has not been proven, and these particles are extremely difficult to detect. If they do exist, they interact only very rarely with the matter we see and know.
Forget what happened in the past--what is worrying most of us is what might happen in the future, especially when that dreaded date of December 21, 2012 arrives. Sometimes a novel can tell you more than nonfiction, and Whitley Strieber's novel "2012" is one of these. You can get it from the Whitley Strieber Collection, and it will come with an autographed bookplate that was designed by Whitley!