Doomsday Is Coming

We are all going to die. Seriously. Nobody gets out of this life without dying.

According to various religious persons and the Ancient Maya (as opposed to the Modern Maya — yes, the Maya still exist, they just don’t have an empire anymore; kind of like the British), Doomsday is December 21, 2012! Except….

Okay, first there’s the problem of the missing 10 days in 1585 when Western Civilization transferred to the Gregorian calendar; how do those fit into the calculation? I’m a calendar geek, which is a side effect of having been a Y2K consultant. Yes, I was one of the brave project managers who averted the last great Doomsday, Y2K. But that’s another post.

Then there’s the fact that the Mayans aren’t worried about it. They consider their nicely accurate calendar perpetual. You get to the end? Okay, go back to the beginning and run through it again. And you have a big party, because you watched the calendar roll over to 0.0.0.0.0, which is always a good time.

But the Hopi agree — there’s a big blue star/planet/thingie coming to smack us hard! Except maybe there isn’t, if you actually talk to Hopi Indians/Native Americans/tribe members. Sirius is the blue star of the Hopi, and the blue star kachina dancing in the plaza and taking off his mask doesn’t sound like planet smacking to me. It actually sounds like a wonderful party. Again, pointing to a party instead of an apocalypse. Those first Americans know how to have a good time. Just sayin’.

Harold Camping thought Rapture was last May, no, October, no — I guess we stopped paying attention when he got it wrong twice four times (he started with sometime in 1994). Jesus said, straight up, “Look, nobody is going to be able to figure out when The End is coming, so don’t even try it.” Or words to that effect; he was speaking Aramaic, after all. And yet, all these people (including Isaac Newton, which is just bizarre) have tried to calculate when the end of time is going to be, disobeying the Son of God. A fallible human knows better than God, because…?

Then there’s the I Ching thing…which is so conspiracy-theory weird I don’t even get how it’s supposed to predict Doomsday. I think you have to put the long lines over the short lines and divide by 23, then look at it through the color blue (or was that Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?). I know the theory was developed under the influence of psilocybin mushrooms, and the author changed his date from one edition to the next to match the Mayan calendar. Bad form, changing the date. Regarding the mushrooms, well, I’m neutral. 🙂

I think what it all boils down to is this: Humans somehow need a doomsday threat. We’re just not happy without some horrible thing hanging over our heads sometime in the future, whether it’s a calendar rollover, a galactic lineup (what is the dark rift, anyway. other than a bunch of dust?), a blue star/rogue planet/comet leading a UFO, or a radio announcer calculating “the date.” Or any of the other Doomsday causes floating around out there — magnetic pole reversal, crustal slippage, the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, giant coronal mass ejections, the Yellowstone supervolcano’s overdue eruption, the list goes on. We just need something to look forward to, in a bad way.

Don’t like any of the above? Well, the Flying Spaghetti Monster could withhold his noodly appendage from the world, and then where would we all be?

If you’re not a Spaghettarian, the next computer doomsday is January 19, 2038, when 32-bit Unix runs out of time.

And, for the win, Nostradamus didn’t say a darned thing about 2012.

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