It’s been predicted by everyone from John the Revelator to Roland Emmerich, and the evidence is stronger than ever that The End is Nigh. Here are the top ten signs from the last decade that the world isn’t long for this world.
10. The Y2K Bug
It could be argued that the Y2K scare wasn’t really part of this decade, and it could also be argued that since it turned out to be a total non-event, it doesn’t belong on this list, but this is my column so shut up and stop arguing. The Y2K bug, more than any other event in recent memory, proved that mankind is still capable of both enormous ineptitude and colossal overreaction. Not only did we build the programs running all of our society’s infrastructure to be less robust than a $10 digital watch, but our solution to this problem was to stockpile toilet paper and cling desperately to our Tickle-Me Elmos while waiting for the end to come. Not a promising start to the new century.
9. SARS/Swine Flu/West Nile/Avian Flu/Mad Cow Disease/etc.
Nature never seems to lack for new ways to scare the shit out of me, and now in the 21st century I have to be scared of pigs and birds and African rivers cooking up viruses to kill us. How long until I have to watch out for Man-eating Crocodile Flu or SAERIOS (Severe Acute Exploding Internal Organ Syndrome)? Not too long at all, I’d wager.
8. 2008 US Presidential Election
In 2008, after reflecting on the preceding eight years of presidential “leadership”, we Americans went to the polls determined to elect a candidate that was definitely not George W. Bush.
A little over half of us voted for Hope and Change™; we didn’t really know what Hope and Change™ meant, but it sure did make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Real Americans (which, interestingly, amount to roughly 44% of the general population of the US), enchanted by the maverickyness (wink) of Sarah Palin and whoever that old white dude with her was, voted for Not Being a Foreign-Sounding Black Guy. After more than 200 years of refining the democratic process, those were our choices: “warm and fuzzy” or “not a black guy”. I’m looking forward to 2012, when our choices will probably be between “fond of shiny things” and “doesn’t eat own poo”. We are doomed.
With the end of the Cold War, the west assumed that stuff was going to be pretty good for a while. Our biggest worries were figuring out this new World Wide Web doohickey and deciding once and for all just what a president was and was not allowed to insert in his interns. September 11th, 2001, brought about a certain shift in our values. Suddenly the entire western world was caught up in the fun of hunting for guys with long beards and funny hats and we deduced that the causes of liberty and justice was best served through kidnapping and torture. This kind of reasoning doesn’t seem well-suited to the continued survival of our species, especially if questions like “should we try to blow up the moon” should arise int eh near future.
6. The Large Hadron Collider
Let’s assume, for a moment, that the universe begam as most modern physicists say it did: the biggest friggin explosion ever. As most of us know, explosions are not generally known for their constructive, life-nurturing attributes; on the contrary, explosions are usually a sign that things once structured and orderly have just been rendered non-existent and/or that things which were moments ago alive are now, post-explosion, very much no longer alive.
So imagine if you will, the biggest friggin explosion ever (hereinafter the Big Bang). Next, imagine the effect a relatively small friggin explosion would have on, for example, your face. Now, using your recently exploded face as a frame of reference, imagine the effect of the Big Bang on, say, all of existence. It would seem reasonable that the likely result of this would be, to say the least, undesirable.
Finally, keeping our previous thought experiments in mind, imagine spending 50 fucking billion dollars to build a machine designed to recreate the Big fucking Bang. This has actually happened. They have made a universe-exploding machine.