Apocalypse 2012

What's left on our science to-do list before the Mayan doomsday arrives

Apocalypse 2012
The end is near. [Image credit: Pierre J.via Flickr]

As we all know, the Mayans predicted the end of the world down to the very precise date of December 21, 2012.* Naysayers beware! A John Cusack movie cannot be disputed.

So this New Year’s celebration is, in fact, our last, a thought both ominous and heartening. This should surely make our kazoo-ing and confetti-ing more mindful as the ball starts to drop. What do we have left to accomplish in only a year? Here are my top ten learned predictions for the final year of science.

1. The Jetsons

Science will finally make it possible for me to eat my Thanksgiving dinner in pill form. Dr. Siegal got the ball rolling in 1975 with a diet entirely of cookies, but we can do better.

2. Particle Physics

To the relief of many, the Large Hadron Collider will not create a black hole and annihilate the earth. But it will also fail to produce conclusive evidence of the Higgs boson particle, and the sheer frustration of physicists the world over will itself tear a hole in the fabric of the universe.

3. Hovercrafts

… Check. That one’s done.

4. Life on Mars

This year Australian scientists determined that life is possible on a large part of Mars, as published in the journal Astrobiology. NASA’s Curiosity rover, scheduled to land on the surface in August 2012, will dig a small hole and discover tons of aliens that were underground the whole time.

5. Astrophysics

Someone will figure out what dark matter is. I’m rooting for WIMPS.

6. Archaeology

In 2011 dinosaur lovers were stricken by the loss of Triceratops, which might just be an adolescent Torosaurus and not its own dinosaur at all. In 2012, archaeologists will finally admit that all dinosaurs are just one dinosaur with a crazy life cycle.

7. Microbiology

Remember a year ago when researchers claimed to have found an “arsenic-based” microbe in a California lake? It caused a big hullabaloo in the science world and spawned a popular twitter hashtag, #arseniclife. Much effort has been put into disproving the theory. Some new research indicates that arsenic is not a part of the DNA backbone of the microbe in question, and that it doesn’t even resist arsenic all that well. In 2012 we will discover that what they thought was arsenic in those DNA strands was in fact a different poison altogether: glazed sugary treats. Welcome to #doughnutlife.

8. Apocalypse Now

The world will end on December 21, and that Rapture guy Harold Camping will totally not see it coming. He’ll probably be sitting on the toilet reading a TV guide or something. So unprepared, that guy.

9. Apocalypse … Later

The world will NOT end on December 21. Those Mayan ruins in Georgia happen to contain an extension to the Mayan calendar that gives us another thousand years or so.

10. Just Like Season Eight of Dallas

Stephen Hawking wakes up and … it was all a dream

*disclaimer: the world is not going to end on this date.

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  1. The Mayans did not even predict the collapse of their own civilisation. If you have enough fortune-tellers, then statistically one of them will eventually be right. There is only one certainty… each of us dies.

    Steven N. O'Grady, January 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm
  2. thisd is no longer true, they have found out the calandar goes a ways beyond 3500

    ken, May 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm
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