While most experts agree that it is unlikely the world will end on December 21, 2012, no one knows for sure. What’s more, there are several technologies and trends happening in the world which could potentially end life as we know it.
So if the planet is going to suddenly be rendered into a blip in history a week from now, I’m inclined to blame one of the following – here are some things people are talking about this week, and some that are just pure hypochondria:
1. The “black hole” machine
Scientists have been working on a Large Hadron Collider, which is buried some 500 feet underground near Geneva, Switzerland. While this machine was built to test more harmless physics theories, it does have one alarming feature: the ability to create tiny black holes. While the scientists working on the LHC claim that the black holes would be tiny, and would collapse onto themselves almost immediately, skeptics have asked that the machine be regulated and even shut down. What we don’t know about the universe could come back to swallow us whole if such a black hole suddenly spread to the size of the planet, or bigger.
2. North Korea’s missile launch
News this week of North Korea successfully launching a missile, which effectively put SOMETHING into space, has officials worried all over the world. North Korea is a very secretive and reclusive nation, and even this launch went against several international watchdog agencies such as the UN Security Council. North Korea claims it’s just an “earth observation satellite”, but no one knows for sure. All signs point to this not being a big threat, but in a world that continues to build more and more powerful weapons, nothing is impossible.
3. Super flu outbreak
Increased international travel, worldwide inter-connectedness, declining conditions at factory farms, and flu viruses that seem to be more rapidly mutating every year could spread across the human population and take us all down. That said, with only a week to go and no signs of superflu in the news, I think we’re safe. Stephen King’s “The Stand” is a story that will have to wait for another apocalyptic ren dez vous.
4. Super volcanoes
Scientists are split on the existence of supervolcanoes having occured at various points in history. By definition a supervolcano is a thousand times larger than the normal volcano. If one of these mosters were to erupt, lava will spew across thousands of square miles, and ash will likely blanket the planet. It’s the end of the world as we know it, just as historians theorize may have taken down the dinosaurs. If the Mayans are right and this is our apocalyptic event, keep an eye on Bolivia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and even Yellowstone National Park as the likely culprits.
5. Asteroid Impact
Not the impact of the 1979 video game of the same name, we’re talking about the real deal: a big chunk of rock hurtling through space which finds the unfortunately collision course with our little ball of dirt. Toutasis is one such asteroid that regularly buzzes our tower, but this December it buzzed a little close for comfort. Only 7 million kilometers from Earth, this rock with an “unstable orbit” may not be the end of the world, but our inability to accurately predict things being thrown at us from outer space could blind-side humanity before the December 22 deadline.
Yes, exciting stuff! Surprising we made it beyond the fated Mayan “end of the calendar” on December 21. Of course now that we’ve survived this portending event, I’m sure the media will just fabricate another for us to get worked up about.