Volcano, Mayans or pandemic?

January 24, 2008 at 2:00 am 1 comment

Regular ThinkingShift readers would know that I love a good doomsday prediction or two. Is the human race going to be kicking around still in another 1000 years or will we have been snuffed out by our own stupidity, a super volcano blowing its stack or the Mayans being right about December 21, 2012?

So today’s post brings you some of the latest apocalyptic End Times scenarios. Forget global warming, there are more serious things to contend with if any of these predictions turn out to be true.

Mayan calendar: 2012 could be it, kaput. Another four years to go. The Mayans created their calendar 5,122 years ago and they set the expiry date after thirteen 394-year baktun cycles. Just in case you’re not fully up to speed with the Mayans, that expiry date is December 21, 2012. Great…just before Christmas! We’ll go up in smoke accompanied by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and a comet or two smacking into us. But the author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Daniel Pinchbeck, thinks we shouldn’t panic because the concept of apocalypse means ‘uncovering’ or ‘revealing’ and so 2012 will be a catalyst for a transformation in human consciousness. Good to know: guess I don’t need to pack the cat just yet then. But there is a word of warning from New Age guru, José Arguelles, who says we should just accept the 2012 apocalypse, don’t fight it because those who do will be carried away on silver ships. To where, I’m not sure.

    If we don’t get wiped out in a Mayan inferno, then we might need to duck lava and hot ash spewing out of a super volcano. I’ve finished rereading Simon Winchester’s fabulous book, Krakatoa, which left me wondering when that famous volcano’s child, Anak Krakatoa, might blow up. Perhaps I needn’t fret because there’s a super volcano hiding under Yellowstone National Park in the US that could be far more to concern ourselves over. 640,000 years ago this volcano had a mega hissy fit and Greg Breining, author of Super Volcano, says this volcano is due for “another shake up” (witty guy). Should it erupt, it will take a chunk of Earth far larger than Mt Everest with it. Mmmmm….wonder if that chunk will include Australia. Apparently, the way to survive this cataclysm is to head west of Wyoming since the jet stream blows East and will carry far less ash and debris going West.

      Honey Holocaust. This one isn’t about super killer bees. Since 2006, honey bees have been vanishing. It’s said that Albert Einstein once muttered: “”If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live” – although Einstein most likely didn’t say this. Nevertheless, the disappearing bees is a serious matter. Bees pollinate more than a quarter of the world’s food supply, so no bees equals no honey, no fruit or veges and so on. The solution would seem to be to learn how to be a bee keeper super fast.

      Then there’s the usual predictions of pandemics but global health experts expect a global pandemic that might make the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918 look like the common cold. H5N1, aka bird flu, is seen as the likely suspect for a pandemic. Although not easily transmitted to humans, 61% of people who have contracted bird flu have died. Virologists think that should H5N1 mutate, the death toll would be in the billions. I must say that I’ve always thought that a pandemic is the most likely doomsday scenario – how many more people can our Earth withstand before Nature turns on us?

      Blue gold. We’ve heard this one repeatedly in recent years – a future scarcity of clean H2O – which may lead to conflict, famine and huge disruption of food supplies. More than a billion people lack access to safe water and 3.4 million people die each year from water-related diseases. An estimated two billion people are expected to have no access to clean water by 2050. China and India, superpowers-in-waiting, already face issues with the infrastructure necessary to distribute and clean water. The problem is really a fast-growing global population and its need for food rather than a lack of water.

      Resistance is futile. Here’s one I hadn’t heard of before. Do you know what telomeres are? The DNA of nearly every life-form contains telomeres—protective coverings on the ends of chromosomes that aid in replication and linking. Over the course of generations, telomeres degenerate and erode and this has been linked to ageing, cancer and diabetes. So it’s a ticking time bomb – a countdown to extinction. Some scientists are linking the increase in cancer, for example, with telomere degeneration.

      Gray-goo. The so-called gray-goo scenario was first suggested by nanotechnology pioneer K. Eric Drexler in his 1986 book, Engines of Creation. This is all about robots going wild. If nanobots break free of their controls, they’ll run amok, reproduce at an exponential rate and ” reduce the biosphere to dust in a matter of days”.

      Kick-ass chunk of rock. Didn’t think I’d leave this one out did you! The fatal impact of a comet or asteroid could wipe us out for sure. Maybe it will happen in 2029 when 99942 Apophis, a near-Earth asteroid passes very close to Earth. Most likely it will just be a close brush but this chunk of rock could set up a “gravitational keyhole” – a precise region in space no more than about 400 meters across, that would set up a future impact on April 13, 2036. Said chunk of rock will have a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting the Pacific Ocean or Denver, Colorado on Easter Sunday. That will sure spoil any chocolate eating on that day! And I guess Bruce Willis won’t be around to save us.

      Don’t mess with nature or space. Messing around with human DNA strikes me as not a good thing. And this scenario suggests that some dude in a lab coat could turn things horribly wrong and you might find a human embryo growing inside a rodent. Alternatively, you have the artificial worm-hole scenario. Scientists are suggesting that a short-cut or worm-hole in the space-time continuum could be artificially created. But those of us who spend our time watching Star Trek or Alien movies might wonder what sort of unspeakable horrors lie beyond our known universe just itching to slide down a worm-hole heading to Earth.

      Well, better mark my calendar for December 21, 2012 and April 13, 2036 – seem like possible glitches for mankind in the 21st Century, that is if water wars, pandemics, crazy nanobots and eroding DNA don’t get us first.

      Sources: Radar Online and Cracked.


      Entry filed under: Fun stuff, Future predictions, Science.

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      1 Comment Add your own

      • 1. Ginette  |  May 2, 2010 at 10:36 pm

        Do I’ve heard there’s an ‘end of the world party’ in Peru 31.12.2012; an underground, word-of-mouth deals.

        An unspoken understanding that Peru is the place to be: the world is going to end, might as well get front row tickets and party till the world collapses on itself like a dying star.

        I’ve practically already bought my ticket. See you there?


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