The year to end all years

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If you believe predictions of the apocalpyse based on the end of the Mayan calendar are right – and, let’s face it, who wouldn’t believe the wild prognostications of a bunch of shed-dwelling tinfoil-hat Internet weirdos over the reasonable protests of National Aeronautics and Space Administration eggheads who claim on their website that “credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012” – then you are one of the few people willing to bear witness to the true knowledge that we as a planet have less than 365 days left on this mortal coil.

Archeologists and anthropologists believe that the disappearance of the Mayan culture itself could have been the results of any number of factors: overpopulation and subsequent environmental catastrophe; disease; a peasant uprising; and more. It’s rather eerie – spooky, even – that these are all familiar circumstances of living in the 21st century.

So the staff of the Carillon sat down to figure out which of these, exactly, is going to be the big pillow that the universe uses to smother our collective face in 2012, the match that burns humanity’s house down so the cosmos can cash in on the insurance money, the cut brake line that, on Dec. 21 of this short year, slams us into an existential concrete wall. Our advice: stock up on beans, and if you think you might become a mutant, don’t saw off that shotgun just yet. Mutants with sawn-off shotguns are just the pits. /John Cameron

Geomagnetic Reversals Lead to Nuclear Kittens

Sometime late in 2012, the Earth will experience a massive reversal of its magnetic poles, a reversal that occurs almost overnight, flouting all of natural science’s predictions and sciences, causing mass societal distress, birds flying into fountains, and kittens scratching their owners’ eyes out. This “geomagnetic reversal,” it is discovered, was caused when the Earth’s core stopped rotating like the Mayans said it would, or something. In an attempt at saving the world, Prime Minister Harper calls on Eric Bana to call his Romulan buddies to drill to the centre of the Earth, so he can send in Hilary Swank and Aaron Eckhart to detonate nuclear weapons to restart the rotation of the Earth’s core. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t work, mostly because Romulans don’t exist.

The reversal of the poles takes down all satellite communication, throwing the world into chaos. The media, unwilling to let the 24-hour news cycle stop, resort to Dixie cups and string to communicate. Prime Minister Harper, in a panic, detonates the WMDs he had been hiding underneath 24 Sussex since 2006, technically declaring war on the United States. But since he can only communicate via an elaborate line of Dixie Cups, by the time his declaration of war reached President Obama, it had devolved into “I am Stanley the cat, and I am declaring kittens on dog.”

Ironically, the fallout from the nuclear weapons causes the world’s cats and dogs to be mutated into intelligent beings, and an all-out war between cats and dogs consumes the world. Those humans who survived the nuclear holocaust, and who weren’t taken by the cats and dogs as pets, retreat underground to live as mole people. /Jonathan Petrychyn

Systemic ecological collapse

If there is one thing that all humans love, it’s sex. Without our powerful libidos, we would have no motivation to propagate our species or invent all the wonderful things that help our species survive, like language, or cars that compensate for the size of our pensies.

In a ruthless environment like the prehistoric wild, an intense drive to reproduce was a must for survival. With each species competing for survival, replicating in mass numbers was the best way to ensure dominance.

Well, mission accomplished, humanity. We’ve won.

Humans are the most dominant species on the planet by far – we kill, enslave, and eat almost every other animal, we bulldoze natural plant life to build more comfortable living space, and we have become so powerful that we can even destroy the entire ecosystem. Hooray!

Now it’s time to stop.

Unfortunately, human libido doesn’t simply disappear when we are no longer in danger of going extinct. These days, we’re pumping out babies faster then ever.

Now we are in real danger of fucking our way into oblivion.

Scientists at University College London have stated that humans are “10,000 times more common than we should be.” We are already experiencing a lack of fresh water, excessive consumption of natural resources, and changes in the composition of the environment.

If you ask me, it’s time to throw some Black Death back into society and get our numbers down – or at least wear condoms. If we don’t, scientists estimate that, by the end of the century, the earth will no longer be able to support us. /Dietrich Neu

The collapse of the internet

Among other things, the United States’ proposed Stop Online Privacy Act, currently shuttling between Congress and the Senate, grants American courts the power to shut down websites that host links to online piracy. If it passes, it’ll be the catalyst for global collapse.

A Canadian tween posts a link to a torrent of his favourite band on his friend’s Facebook page. Because the link is on Facebook, Facebook ends up getting shut down

People lose their minds.

Without the ability to cyber-stalk people on Facebook, people turn to stalking other people in real life, because what’s the difference really. The economy collapses because people call in sick so they can follow around people they kind of knew in high school, who are themselves stalking friends of friends they met at a party once.

Protesters gather around the world to call for the return of Facebook so that people can go back to just cyber-stalking their coworkers. Eventually this turns into demanding that the Canadian tween who caused Facebook’s shutdown be brought to justice.

Seeing this as a campaign opportunity, Rick Perry promises that if he wins the US presidential election, he will rain hellfire upon Canada for oppressing white Christians by eliminating its God-given right to Facebook. Rick Perry wins in a landslide and goes on to nuke the piss out of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, the only Canadian cities he knows offhand.

Stephen Harper orders retaliatory action, but our aging fleet of fighter jets collapses and our military has to sit out the conflicts between America and Canada’s shared allies that inevitably engulf the globe, and nuclear war engulfs the planet. /Paul Bogdan

Epidemic diseases

In late 2011, a team of Dutch and American scientists developed an extremely contagious airborne mutation of the H5N1 bird flu virus at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Denmark. The new strain of bird flu could potentially lead to the development of vaccines that could prevent pandemics from emerging. Although many scientists argue that the benefits of the work with the virus outweigh the risks, it is surrounded by controversy. Of the 573 patients who have been infected with a non-mutated strain of H5N1, 60 per cent of the cases were fatal.  Critics claim this “Armageddon virus” should never have been developed, or that it should have been developed in a military setting. As well, the United States government has urged scientific journals not to publish details on the research, in the fear that terrorist organizations can use the information to develop biological weapons of mass destruction.

Fear of epidemic diseases is nothing new. In 2005, scientists recreated the Spanish flu, and no pandemic resulted. When there was an outbreak of the H1N1 virus, the public again panicked, and hand sanitizer sales went skyrocketing.

If a pandemic strikes, the fear of the disease itself – not the disease – will be to blame. Antibiotic misuse is increasing the number of drug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs. Often, if a patient starts feeling better, he or she doesn’t finish taking the full prescription of antibiotics, letting surviving bacteria develop a resistance to the drug, resulting in a new strain that isn’t treatable. Compounding this, as a 2006 study in Annals of Family Medicine points out, patients increasingly expect antibiotic treatment for routine infections such as strep throat.

The fear of a pandemic apocalypse is leading people to take more antibiotics, which in turn is increasing the development of the superbugs that people are so desperately paranoid about. If the world is going to end from an epidemic outbreak in 2012, it’s not going to come from a laboratory; it’s going to come from the unfinished pill bottles in our medicine cabinets. /Julia Dima

Peasant revolt

How close are we in the west to an old-fashioned bread riot? Young people are increasingly unemployed and broke. Meanwhile, plenty of rich folks have emerged from the last six years of economic downturn not only still rich, but with a lack of perspective and introspection that would set Marie Antoinette trying to figure out how much yeast she needs for a sourdough starter. (Republican presidential candidate and pizza magnate Herman Cain suggested to the media last year that unemployed people should go get jobs, fundamentally misunderstanding what a recession entails). Strings of riots and protests – not only Occupy Wall Street, but the increasingly brutal G8 and G20 protests of the last decade, the riots in London during August of this year, and more – are relatively commonplace, with disaffected youths seeking the outlet to challenge authority denied to them by democracies shot through with the influence of corporate power.

You want an apocalyptic scenario? Here it is: none of this changes. The unemployed youth of the global northwest stop protesting and start rioting en masse, leading to concurrent anti-tax protests that themselves turn into riots, which lead to civil wars. The world left standing consists of shattered NATO countries, still-developing Arab and African states, and global superpowers China, India, and Brazil.

The ancient Greek word apocalypse meant “revelation.” What the nation-rending civil unrest of 2012 will reveal is that no society that ties power directly to wealth can possibly hope to survive. And if you thought an apocalypse would be the end of the whole world, rather than just the end of the world as we know it, maybe you’re part of the problem. /John Cameron

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