All this worry over the fiscal cliff and chances are — some people think they’re pretty good, evidently — we won’t be here when we take the dive.
Mark your calendars for December 21. It’s either going to be the worst day you’ve ever had or…not.
The precise manner of Armageddon remains vague, ranging from a catastrophic celestial collision between Earth and the mythical planet Nibiru, also known as Planet X, a disastrous crash with a comet, or the annihilation of civilisation by a giant solar storm.
In America Ron Hubbard, a manufacturer of hi-tech underground survival shelters, has seen his business explode.
“We’ve gone from one a month to one a day,” he said. “I don’t have an opinion on the Mayan calendar but, when astrophysicists come to me, buy my shelters and tell me to be prepared for solar flares, radiation, EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) … I’m going underground on the 19th and coming out on the 23rd. It’s just in case anybody’s right.”
In the French Pyrenees the mayor of Bugarach, population 179, has attempted to prevent pandemonium by banning UFO watchers and light aircraft from the flat topped mount Pic de Bugarach.
According to New Age lore it as an “alien garage” where extraterrestrials are waiting to abandon Earth, taking a lucky few humans with them.
Russia saw people in Omutninsk, in Kirov region, rushing to buy kerosene and supplies after a newspaper article, supposedly written by a Tibetan monk, confirmed the end of the world.
The city of Novokuznetsk faced a run on salt. In Barnaul, close to the Altai Mountains, panic-buyers snapped up all the torches and Thermos flasks.
Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, even addressed the situation.
“I don’t believe in the end of the world,” before adding somewhat disconcertingly: “At least, not this year.”
My favorite theory on how the world will end is what I call the “WTF is that?” scenario which is the last thing you’ll say before a large chunk of the sun slams into earth destroying all life.
The hysteria is only going to get worse.
NASA has felt it necessary to take to the internet to scotch rumors of the end of the world:
On November 28th, NASA scientists took to the Internet to battle the rumors and calm the hype associated with the widespread misinterpretations of the Maya calendar which comes to an end on the winter solstice thus ending a calendar cycle called the 13th b’ak’tun. Many people around the world have come to see this date as a prophesy of the apocalypse, while others simply find it humorous, but NASA isn’t laughing.
The event held on Google+ and throughout social media, with an invitation for Twitter followers to tweet any questions they may have to the #askNASA hashtag, was in response to emails and letters which have been pouring in to NASA from people dealing with severe anxiety related to end day fears, many of them from young people and some of them claiming to be suicidal.
“While this is a joke to some people and a mystery to others, there is a core of people who are truly concerned,” said David Morrison, an astrobiologist at NASA Ames Research Center via a Google+ Hangout video chat.
The NASA website page and the video put out by NASA, debunk nightmare scenarios ranging from planet Niburu getting too close to the Earth, solar storms, catastrophic tidal effects caused by planetary alignments, meteors, and a massive shifting of the Earth’s magnetic poles, to name a few.
One should note that the Mayans don’t have much of a track record when it came to divining the future. After all, they didn’t see the Spanish coming, did they?
But as Glenn Reynolds might say, disaster preparedness is a good thing even if its based on a ridiculous premise. All those supplies can be stored away once December 22 rolls around in case they may be needed for a real disaster like a flood or earthquake.
In the meantime, businesses are cleaning up and there is little doubt that the one positive coming out of this nonsense is an increase in economic activity.
Then again, if you should find yourself floating in space on December 21 when the gravitational field of the earth is reversed, don’t blame it on capitalism.