With all due respect to Douglas Adams, IT’S TIME TO PANIC!!! There is so much going on in this world right now, you can take your pick on what disaster will be your ultimate demise. From economic apocalypse, to ancient Mayan prophecies, rogue nation states and stray asteroids, to the super solar flares and climate change, there is a good chance that your number is up. You just don’t know it.
Global warming/climate change (the boiling frog) – whether you believe in science, numbers and facts (you know, the same things that Nate Silver believes in), the fact IS that the world is warming up. This leads to shrinking ice caps, more water in our oceans, damage to coast lines and lack of fresh drinking water from alpine run-off. Ask the people in OK, TX, the Plains and the Mountain West about lack of water, the drought and fire season. That’s the warming part of the change. On the flip side is the dangerous weather. Just ask the residents of Joplin, MO or the residents of NJ, NY and CT about super-storm Sandy. See what they say about how often they’ve seen weather like this in their lifetime.
The “fiscal cliff” (the white-out condition) – Driving headlong into the snowy night, as your parents are arguing with each other in the front seats, while you, the kids in the back seats, are sitting in sheer terror, is the United States, dysfunctionally heading toward a bend in the road. It’s an illusion (something I’ll write about later), but an impressive one that gives the talking heads at CNN & FOXNEWS something to blame everyone about. Look for roving bands of marauders, well-dressed in $1000 suits, wielding staplers and frayed umbrellas, banding together in the ensuing darkness in 2013 should we fail to do something.
Rogue nation states (blood in the water) – everybody thinks they can take a shot at the title, and it doesn’t matter on size. Syria tempts fate, moving it’s chemical weapons around, possibly forcing NATO’s hand (which may force China and Russia to defend its ally, Syria), while North Korea readies a long-range missile test this week. Even the U.S. ally, Israel, threatens Iran, rattling its sabers. And China now has an aircraft carrier. But, since everyone uses satellites, we launched our secret X-37B today. This mini space shuttle is believed to be a satellite hunter-killer. So, no provocation there.
Mayan Calendar (the Big One) – even though it’s been proven that the Mayan calendar maker forgot to get the last page to the printer on time (thus giving us 8000 years to burn the planet to a cinder), there is no shortage of Mayan end-of-world prophecies. I’ve been through these before (in sixth grade, we were told that an alignment of the planets would cause huge gravity shifts, so our gym teacher worked us extra hard, so that we’d be ready…), and I don’t expect much. But, if you listen to others, we’ll get the following:
Geological shifts – the earth’s crust will shift and we’ll all go surfing on the magma. I’m coating my life raft in asbestos this afternoon.
Solar output – every 11 years, the sun kicks up its solar flare output. Other than the fact that may not be able to talk on my BlackBerry or use the Internet, there may not be much trouble. Wait a minute…
Galactic alignment – supposedly, this hasn’t happened in 230,000 years or something like that, but our Earth will either dip below the galactic plane and into the intergalactic wind, which will rip everything off the planet, or an alignment with the black hole, planets and everything else in the galaxy will cause our planet to suffer terrible earthquakes and fall apart. I call king of this chunk!
Rogue planets – call it Planet X, Nibiru, Tyche, Nemesis or the unknown gas giant four times bigger than Jupiter in the Oort Cloud, evidently a runaway planet is going to slam into us or cruise by close enough to mess us up. I’ll take the Lars Von Trier film Melancholia way of looking at the whole thing and marry Kristen Dunst.
Asteroids – there’s a lot of them out there. As Bruce Willis and crew found out, it WILL happen again.
So, it doesn’t matter WHY you panic. Just panic. No one will blame you.
And, as you read this, just think that without the Internet on which you are reading this, I wouldn’t have been able to find all this crazy stuff to write about today.