Monday, 16 November 2009

Man's best friend is less than friendly

We love climate change.

Let's be more specific... we love the way that EVERYTHING is to blame for climate change, if you look closely enough.

Some researchers have claimed that Spot may have got us into a spot of bother far sooner than the gas-guzzling road behemoth his owners bought to ferrying him around in.

According to a study titled Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living, dogs have a greater eco-footprint than Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), that's 4x4s to us backward cousins on the wrong side of the Atlantic.

They claim the amount of land needed to produce the food to feed a single pooch is more than double the amount required to produce the energy to power an SUV driven 10,000 miles a year.

But hark, is that a healthy note of scepticism in the air?

"When I saw the study I ran some quick numbers," Clark Williams-Derry, chief researcher at a the Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based sustainability thinktank, told the Seattle Times. "The average dog has to eat at least twice as much as the average person for this to be right. People are just heavier than dogs so, I just had to scratch my head at that."

BUY THE END IS NIGH #4!


Yes folks, you can now pick up a copy of THE END IS NIGH #4 through our so-cool-it-actually-reverses-global-warming website!

Crafted by our wonderful and patient-above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty webmaster, Mr Paul White, you can now buy a copy of #4, download a FREE copy of #2 and either get in touch or loop back round to this blog. There's a brand new opening page (yes, I have just got a copy of Fireworks, why do you ask?)

And there's even a quote from the living god that is Mr Alan Moore, speaking about how much he likes us. And we like him too.

To reap the contents of this issue:

Our first issue since 2006 sees writers Alan Moore and Iain Sinclair pay tribute to the post-apocalyptic genius of JG Ballard, we mark the forthcoming milestone of 1,000 days till the end of the world, we examine The Rise of the Machines, we ponder on which animal will unleash the next killer flu plague, we ask 'Is Obama the Antichrist?' ... and it all comes with a free game of END TRUMPS, where the fate of mankind truly is in your hands!

The whole thing is topped off with an amazingly apocalyptic cover by Defoe artist Leigh Gallagher! We also have contributions from writer John Reppion, along with 2000 AD boarders Ed Berridge and The Emperor!


SO NOW GO BUY THE END IS NIGH 4 ... BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

Friday, 13 November 2009

2012 hype "fuelling real fears"

While we're sure every snake oil salesman and book writer will be cashing in on the hype surrounding 2012 supposedly being the end of the world, we're also convinced that few of them will think about the consequences:

"NASA's Ask an Astrobiologist Web site, for example, has received thousands of questions regarding the 2012 doomsday predictions—some of them disturbing, according to David Morrison, a senior scientist with the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
"A lot of [the submitters] are people who are genuinely frightened," said Morrison, who thinks movie marketers, authors, and others out to make a buck are feeding some of the fears.
"I've had two teenagers who were considering killing themselves, because they didn't want to be around when the world ends," he said. "Two women in the last two weeks said they were contemplating killing their children and themselves so they wouldn't have to suffer through the end of the world."

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The computer says no ...

As pointed out in our latest issue, the year 2000 seemingly taught nobody anything. While we don't have a Y2K bug to scare us, that's not stopped the hype surrounding December 21st, 2012 from getting out of all proportion - even with more than a 1,000 days still to go.

What marks this one out as unusual is that NASA scientists have been forced to issue what constitutes the most comprehensive denial in history, after continually being deluged with queries from concerned citizens, demanding reassurance that they'll see at least another three Christmases.

Q: How do NASA scientists feel about claims of pending doomsday?
A: For any claims of disaster or dramatic changes in 2012, where is the science? Where is the evidence? There is none, and for all the fictional assertions, whether they are made in books, movies, documentaries or over the Internet, we cannot change that simple fact. There is no credible evidence for any of the assertions made in support of unusual events taking place in December 2012.

Well, thank goodness for that ...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Failed US doomsday prophet dies

The woman behind a Montana sect that prepared for a nuclear holocaust that never came has died, leaving her followers pretty much directionless.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet - "Mother" to her thousands of followers - died, aged 70, following a decade-long fight with Alzheimer's disease.

Back in 1990, such supposed made a doomsday prediction that, predictably, failed to occur. The Church Universal and Triumphant still keeps its 750-person underground shelters stocked with food, though attempts to find a successor to Mother have so far produced none:

"Since Prophet fell ill, at least 15 people have stepped forward claiming to be the next messenger"

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The end of the world ... YESTERDAY!!

The web bots and others are predicting total global economic collapse this coming week. Here is what George Ure writes (note the October 25th date has been delayed until November 9th)

Yeah, that's what we thought - it's gonna have to be put back AGAIN. Tsk. These dates, eh? Soooo unhelpful when you're trying to predict the end of the world. This pesky planet just KEEPS ON TURNING!

If I am right, here are the events that will occur before the end of November 2009:
1. Total global economic collapse.
2. The Rapture.
3. Destruction of Damascus.
4. War of Gog and Magog--Ezekiel 38 & 39.

And if he's wrong ... well, I guess I have to keep saving for Christmas presents, don't I...

Monday, 9 November 2009

The end was nigh ...


Well didn't that go splendidly ...

THE END IS NIGH #4 launched with a tea-and-cake-shaped bang at the Impressions Gallery in Bradford, with Plastic Scouse and cover artist Leigh Gallagher making an appearance to delight all with his artistic talent and marsh-like wit.

Pictured from left are some of the star attendees, including the delightful Gabrielle, APOCALYPSE OVERHEARD artist Oliver Redding, deputy director of Impressions Gallery Sarah Read, editor Michael Molcher (centre, with idiot grin on his face), Leigh (pointing) and his (for too) good (for him) lady Niki. Ta to Gallagher for the pic.

The editor's speech went down VERY well, considering he wrote it about ten minutes beforehand, and it even received one or two laughs! I know, it surprised him too. Especially as it was straight after he'd told a joke ...

The website should hopefully be updated soon, with a handy link through which you can buy THE END IS NIGH #4 for a more-than-palatable £3.99 (plus p&p)

Now, normal blogging shall resume ...

Friday, 30 October 2009

Finally ... THE END IS NIGH #4!

The next issue of the THE END IS NIGH will launch at Impressions Gallery in Bradford this Sunday (1st November) at a fantastic free event!

Our first issue since 2006 sees writers Alan Moore and Iain Sinclair pay tribute to the post-apocalyptic genius of JG Ballard, we mark the forthcoming milestone of 1,000 days till the end of the world, we examine The Rise of the Machines, we ponder on which animal will unleash the next killer flu plague, we ask 'Is Obama the Antichrist?' ... and it all comes with a free game of END TRUMPS, where the fate of mankind truly is in your hands!

The whole thing is topped off with an amazingly apocalyptic cover by Defoe artist Leigh Gallagher! We also have contributions from writer John Reppion, along with 2000 AD boarders Ed Berridge and The Emperor!

Keep an eye on www.endisnigh.co.uk after this weekend for the chance to get your hands on a copy - stocks are limited!

Here is the blurb about this weekend's event:

From the Large Hadron Collider to the end of Mayan calendar in 2012, our fascination with potential apocalypse is ever present. Inspired by our exhibition The Last Things, Journalist Michael Molcher and editor of zine The End is Nigh, will take an informed yet satirical look at the speculation surrounding the end of the world in his free illustrated talk at 2pm. Join us and help predict the date the world will end!

Throughout the afternoon the award winning independent Comic Book Shop OK Comics, will be transporting their Drink and Draw event over to Impressions. Like-minded comic fans, budding artists and designers will be able to meet, exchange ideas, sup free hot tea and scribble away. Paper will be rolled over all the tables in the Studio and pens left everywhere, so come along and draw whatever you feel like. Everyone is welcome no matter what your artistic ability and pro comic book artist Leigh Gallagher will be on hand to trouble shoot your illustration irritations at his drop in surgery.

OK Comics will also be bringing a selection of apocalypse themed comic books, which you can browse over a wedge of cake, or yours to buy and take away.

Amble into the gallery and you’ll have a last chance to see our exhibition The Last Things by David Moore before it closes on 8 November 2009. Described by writer Iain Sinclair as a "photographer of secret spaces", Moore provides an exclusive glimpse of the Ministry of Defence’s secret crisis management centre beneath the streets of central London. This hidden space, only to be used in a major national emergency, hides a strictly controlled working environment continuously on stand-by in which a looming sense of threat is ever present.


More details of the venue here.

So do come along, meet the team, be the first to buy the new issue and hang out in a great venue!

Friday, 23 October 2009

THE END IS NIGH 4 is nigh!

The next issue of the THE END IS NIGH will launch at Impressions Gallery in Bradford on Sunday 1st November at a fantastic free event:

From the Large Hadron Collider to the end of Mayan calendar in 2012, our fascination with potential apocalypse is ever present. Inspired by our exhibition The Last Things, Journalist Michael Molcher and editor of zine The End is Nigh, will take an informed yet satirical look at the speculation surrounding the end of the world in his free illustrated talk at 2pm. Join us and help predict the date the world will end!

Throughout the afternoon the award winning independent Comic Book Shop OK Comics, will be transporting their Drink and Draw event over to Impressions. Like-minded comic fans, budding artists and designers will be able to meet, exchange ideas, sup free hot tea and scribble away. Paper will be rolled over all the tables in the Studio and pens left everywhere, so come along and draw whatever you feel like. Everyone is welcome no matter what your artistic ability and pro comic book artist Leigh Gallagher will be on hand to trouble shoot your illustration irritations at his drop in surgery.

OK Comics will also be bringing a selection of apocalypse themed comic books, which you can browse over a wedge of cake, or yours to buy and take away.

Amble into the gallery and you’ll have a last chance to see our exhibition The Last Things by David Moore before it closes on 8 November 2009. Described by writer Iain Sinclair as a "photographer of secret spaces", Moore provides an exclusive glimpse of the Ministry of Defence’s secret crisis management centre beneath the streets of central London. This hidden space, only to be used in a major national emergency, hides a strictly controlled working environment continuously on stand-by in which a looming sense of threat is ever present.

Come along and meet the team, be the first to buy the new issue and hang out in a great venue!

In the meantime, this just popped into our inbox ...

"Richard Heene, the man suspected of the alleged "balloon boy" hoax, was driven by a conviction that the world will come to a cataclysmic end in 2012, according to a friend."

With friends like these ...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

First chickens tried to kill us all, then pigs, and now ...

In something completely unconnected with our intended theme for the next issue, a previously unknown virus that killed four of the five people it struck in an outbreak in South Africa last year has been identified as part of a family of viruses humans can catch from rats.

The virus, named Lujo, is an arenavirus that over nine days caused rash, fever, muscle pain, diarrhoea, severe bleeding, vomiting, organ failure and death, said Nivesh Sewlall, who treated the first patient at Johannesburg's Morningside MediClinic Hospital.

Which, fast on the back of piggy sniffles, is a little worrying. Other animal-derived diseases such as Ebola have failed to spread widely because while it is extremely infectious and incredibly deadly, it has only so far affected isolated areas and presents symptoms and then kill its victims so quickly that outbreaks can be contained. SARS, similarly, only becomes a problem in certain conditions.

The high death rate for Lujo is worrying, though the conditions in which its victims became infected, and their medical histories may well be a significant factor - just as many of the deaths from swine flu have been from people with previous, though sometimes unidentified, medical issues.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Oops I did it again ...

It's apparently only a matter of time before our number's up if we don't change our ways, as scientist have warned that human-made crises are 'outrunning our ability to deal with them'.

The world faces a compounding series of crises driven by human activity, which existing governments and institutions are increasingly powerless to cope with, a group of eminent environmental scientists and economists has warned.

Writing in the journal
Science, the researchers say that nations alone are unable to resolve the sorts of planet-wide challenges now arising.

Which makes you wonder quite how screwed we actually are, if you consider the inability to get international cooperation on climate change, fishing etc etc

Friday, 18 September 2009

Back on the shelf

But in some slightly-more-welcome news, President Barack Obama says the US has shelved plans for a missile defence system based in controversial bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The system, so beloved of former President George W Bush and Neo-Cons everywhere, was intended to blow a missile attack on the US out of the sky. They said it was to stop 'rogue states' such as Iran and North Korea from attacking. But since Russia is pretty much the only country that is a) not a mate of the US, b) has ICBM capability and c) is far nearer to Poland and the Czech Republic than, say, Iran, it's hard to refute Russian allegations that the system was aimed at them.

It's baaaaack ...

Doubled posting today, to make up for not doing so for ages.

And speaking of returns - swine flu looks to be on its way back, according to Sir Liam Donaldson, England's chief medical officer.

More worrying:

Meanwhile, the Health Protection Agency has reported one confirmed case and one possible case of resistance to the flu drug Tamiflu.

There has been less than 30 cases like this worldwide with experts monitoring them for signs that the virus is mutating.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Who's fool idea was this?!

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has announced that the country will soon take delivery of Russian missiles with a range of 300km.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Be prepared ...

Worried that you're not prepared? Concerned that you might be too far and too lightly-armed to make it back to your back-garden bolthole? Well worry no longer, as the latest in on-the-spot survivalist techniques makes it to your computer.

We are reassured that they can show you how to: "Get inside the mind of an angry mob of parents with hungry children so your family is the last one to be attacked and looted."

Or, more worryingly, an angry mob of pre-armed survivalists who believe they are preventing barbarism.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

1,200 and counting ...

Since we're *just* 1,200 days away from 21st December 2012, it seems fitting to revisit this particular apocalyptic curio.

Since the year 2000 turned out to be such a disappointment, 21/12/12 has increasingly become the new focus point for the apocalyptic community, apparently all based on the idea that the Mayan civilisation's calendar 'predicts' either the end of the world or, at the very least, some major event in world history. Armed with this snippet of half-baked information, every preacher and New Age crystal therapist under the sun has their own prediction about what WILL UNDOUBTEDLY HAPPEN!!

But who to trust? Do you believe those who reckon we're due an alien invasion or that it's The True Dawning of the Age of Aquarius or that it's finally the Rapture?

So it is with some relief that 'NY Times Bestselling author' Gregg Braden's Fractal Time: The Secret of 2012 and a New World Age cuts through the crap and tells us what we need to know, by revealing this little 'fact':

"On December 21, 2012, Earth will be perfectly aligned with the galactic center for the first time in over 5000 years — and attuned to the source energy of the Milky Way. Gregg believes this heralds "a rare opportunity to come together as a family on this planet, and to learn from the mistakes of past civilizations."

So there you go.

Friday, 4 September 2009

For goodness' sake, don't p*** him off any more ...

A US judge has thrown out a case against God, ruling that because the defendant has no address, legal papers cannot be served.

Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers sued God last year, saying the Almighty had "threatened him and the people of Nebraska".

After reading The Revelation of St John, we're inclined to agree with him ...

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Station ident: This is the end of the world as we know it ...

Apologies for the break in service - nothing too apocalyptic about that, just a temporary glitch :)

To reinvigorate your souls, enjoy the following sermon from the always-entertaining House of Yahweh, a sect out of Texas that has spawned branches in a number of other countries with their brand of fire-breathing apocalypticism (more about them in the next issue). Delivered by the man known only as "the only man who holds Yahshua's Authority on the face of this earth, the Greatest Teacher in the world, the Greatest Kahan, our beloved Pastor and Overseer Yisrayl Hawkins", it contains the most beautiful bit of post-failed-prediction justification ever ...

Basically, the reason the world didn't end when they said it would in September 2006 was because ... wait for it ... God decided to hold it back a bit.

No kidding, look:

The date that we gave, September 2006, that I found in Scripture was the same date that the hidden codes book shows would be the nuclear holocaust. Of course, that nuclear holocaust, they don't know it, but we know that it's being held back by YAHWEH as Revelation 7 shows. But this will be the beginning of The End of man's governments of the people and by the people.

So God left secret messages in the Bible about when the date of the end of the world would be, but then he changed his mind, but another bit of the Bible said he would anyway, but it's going to happen most definitely ... etc.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Apocalypse to be made worse by NIMBY survivalist nutters

If you're expecting the EOTWAWKI any time soon, surely you'd be more preoccupied with stockpiling tins of beans and rounds for your semi-automatic, rather than arguing over rights of way?
Well, not if you're a heavily-armed religious survivalist group from Craftsbury in Vermont, USA, which is currently embroiled in an escalating dispute over a 150-year-old road the town says is public - but the church says is theirs.
Several people - including a public official - claim they have been threatened and intimidated by the group
The religious group Mission New England reside in a 276-acre compound near the town and isn't keen on people using the public trail on Coburn Hill Road in Craftsbury. Maps indicate the trail is a public right-of-way through the group's compound, but members have erected 'no trespassing' signs and bared the way with a locked gate.
A group of cyclists claim that when they tried to use the trail, they were "surrounded by at least a dozen men who all came running out of what they had claimed to be a church".

Town Lister Willy Ryan says he has been threatened and intimidated several times over the years when he has gone to the compound to assess the property values. The most ominous came this year by a man packing a gun. "He said well you are now on private property and I would tread lightly if I were you, because your life might be in jeopardy," Ryan said.
Ryan says the man with the gun was John Maniatty, the reported leader of the church group. He has websites that detail how Mission New England is a born-again Christian group, explaining why its member are survivalists driven by the notion that the world is coming to an end. Maniatty owns a gun shop in Morrisville. On the websites he has instructional videos demonstrating how to fire high-powered firearms, including fully automatic weapons.
As for the town road issue, Mission New England has offered a land swap that would result in the disputed road being turned over to the survivalist group. It's unclear whether town officials are interested in that deal.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

World food/water/energy crisis "by 2030"

Just finished reading Make Room Make Room, the Harry Harrison book upon which the film Soylent Green was based. I can heartily recommend it as a challenging piece of apocalyptic dystopia, describing a world starved and parched by rampant overpopulation and mismanagement of resources. It came complete with an afterword by Harrison in which he said he 'hopes he's proved wrong'

Well, according to "the UK government's chief scientific adviser" John Beddington, the world is doing all it can to make sure he's not ...

The BBC is reporting Beddington's warning of a possible 'perfect storm' crisis in 2030.

As the world's population grows, competition for food, water and energy will increase. Food prices will rise, more people will go hungry, and migrants will flee the worst-affected regions.

Specifically, he points to research indicating that by 2030 "a whole series of events come together":
The world's population will rise from 6bn to 8bn (33%)
Demand for food will increase by 50%
Demand for water will increase by 30%
Demand for energy will increase by 50%

Monday, 24 August 2009

It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere ...

While the rest of us are understandably concerned at the cheery news that the effect of global warming heating the oceans could cause Earth's axis to tilt,we now find the NASA scientists have suggested that the best way to stop our planet from overheating would be to move it to a cooler spot!

All you have to do is hurtle a few comets at Earth, and its orbit will be altered. Our world will then be sent spinning into a safer, colder part of the solar system.

Well, that's alright then ... !

Greg Laughlin, Don Korycansky and Fred Adams of the Nasa Ames Research Center in California came up with the plan, which involves carefully directing a comet or asteroid so that it sweeps close past Earth and transfers some of its gravitational energy to Earth, nudging it slightly away from the Sun. Since life on Earth is able to thrive thanks to the planet's position in our solar system's Goldilocks Zone ("not too hot, not too cold"), shifting it around to control temperatures isn't that crazy. Actually, scratch that - read further into the article and you'll soon realise just HOW crazy it actually is ...

Engineers would have to be very careful about how they directed their asteroid or comet towards Earth. The slightest miscalculation in orbit could fire it straight at Earth – with devastating consequences.

It is a point acknowledged by the group. ‘The collision of a 100-kilometre diameter object with the Earth at cosmic velocity would sterilise the biosphere most effectively, at least to the level of bacteria,’ they state in a paper in Astrophysics and Space Science. ‘The danger cannot be overemphasised.’

There is also the vexed question of the Moon. As the current issue of Scientific American points out, if Earth was pushed out of its current position it is ‘most likely the Moon would be stripped away from Earth,’ it states, radically upsetting out planet’s climate.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Water, water everywhere ...

... and, increasingly, not a drop to drink.

Having just spent a couple of weeks in Kenya and seeing the ecological, political AND humanitarian effects of lack of water, this piece by Brian Richter, director of the non-governmental Global Freshwater Program at The Nature Conservancy, is very alarming.

The front pages of Kenya's newspapers are still dominated by the Mau controversy over the near-total destruction of one of the country's key forest 'water towers' that has left the nation's capital. Nairobi, facing severe water shortages and power black-outs, with a dry summer undoubtedly about to lead to crippling food shortages. And that's just one country, a single country that technically shouldn't be facing a water crisis - if only politicians hadn't handed out publicly-owned forest to ordinary people, which they understandably then converted into farm land.

And the world is only going to get thirstier ...

Let us start with our global population, expected to rise from nearly seven billion to nine billion in just a few decades. That is why more than half the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030.

At the same time, in populous nations such as China and India, improvements in living standards and personal incomes are linked to greater consumption of clothing, meat, and water.

It takes 140 litres of water to produce one cup of coffee; 3,000 litres to make a hamburger; and 8,000 litres to create a pair of leather shoes. All of these processes require a vast amount of water to grow crops, feed cows, or produce leather.

On top of that, climate change will bring less rain to many regions, and cause it to evaporate more quickly almost everywhere.

Accordingly, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that "the proportion of the planet in extreme drought at any time will likely increase".

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Keep going or start over?

Is there any point in fighting to stave off industrial apocalypse? Well, in a fascinating debate, Paul Kingsnorth and George Monbiot argue it out over the idea that we should actually allow civilisation to collapse ...

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Great Global Fart

Vast, ancient reserves of frozen methane, an even 'greater' climate change gas than CO2, may now be in the process of being released as the planet warms - potentially triggering 'runaway' climate change, a theory that's been doing the rounds for a little while and something we mentioned here last year.

Deep in the Arctic Ocean, water warmed by climate change is forcing the release of methane from beneath the sea floor.

Over 250 plumes of gas have been discovered bubbling up from the sea floor to the west of the Svalbard archipelago, which lies north of Norway. The bubbles are mostly methane, which is a greenhouse gas much more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Obama's Armageddon-proof helicopter kitchen ... no, we're not kidding

Amazingly, US President Barack Obama has said he doesn't need a new presidential helicopter with an "Armageddon-proof kitchen".

While the President, his opponents and US media are more concerned with debating the merits of so-called 'pork barrel' military projects, we're more intrigued by the idea of a) a kitchen that could potentially withstand the end of the world and b) the logic of putting it in a helicopter that ... well ... wouldn't.

"It would let me cook a meal while under nuclear attack," Obama mused, said AFP. "Now, let me tell you something: If the United States of America is under nuclear attack, the last thing on my mind will be whipping up a snack."

The US Navy charged Lockheed Martin to build a new fleet of 28 helicopters to serve as Marine One in 2005. The new helicopter was to be based on Lockheed's EH-101 aircraft, currently produced by a British-Italian partner.

The new generation of iconic green-and-white helicopters are said to offer the president greater protection and a higher range than current Sikorsky models -- some of which are up to 40 years old.

Braaains, braaains, our braaains hurt ...

Aaaaaand, we're back ... tanned (thanks to all the radiation from the old nukes crumbling to dust in the bunker) and skint (Armageddon-proof holidays don't come cheap, y'know) ... and so to work.

A double whammy of news for you today, and we're sure we're not the first to point you in the direction of this story - with scientists having another 'no shit, sherlock' brainwave. Actually, that's a bit unfair as it's actually quite useful to study an outbreak of revanantism in the context of it being a 'contagious disease'.

Their conclusion? ...

If zombies actually existed, an attack by them would lead to the collapse of civilisation unless dealt with quickly and aggressively.

In their scientific paper, the authors conclude that humanity's only hope is to "hit them [the undead] hard and hit them often".

Welcome back everyone ...

Monday, 10 August 2009

A little apocalyptic holiday reading ...

The End is Nigh is off on holiday for a week, so no updates while we're busy sunning ourselves on an artifical beach entirely contained within a decommissioned nuclear bunker, drinking various apocalyptically-themed cocktails ...

However, we thought we'd leave you with a little something to remember us by. You may have seen the hoo-ha around former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler, who was 'revealed' by the papers to now be a transvestite living in a squat in rural England. What we *didn't* spot at the time was that he has supposedly become spouting some delightfully apocalyptic ideas.

Enjoy:

"Shayler told the local weekly paper: "I have realised that I am Christ and I am here to save humanity. In 2012 it is widely predicted that the world will end. It is predicted there will be a massive change in people's consciousness and we will see the end of Babylon and the end of the world as we know it. My job is to show people the way when this happens. Like Jesus I have been put in prison and punished and have come to see the way."

"He now also maintains a website entitled ''I Am Messiah'' dedicated to his views. It describes how he was convinced that he was the Messiah after seeing a headline in a London newspaper about a US rapper.

"He said that his mission to save the world included growing large quantities of hemp both for food and biofuel. He also admitted smoking large quantities of cannabis."

See ya.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Neo-Con thought on Iran and the Millennium

We thought we'd seen all the permutations on the Millennium, from Christians who thought it was the date of the Rapture to the people who made a tidy sum by panicking people into thinking planes would fall out of the sky.

But The Iranian Time Bomb is a fascinating angle on turn of the century paranoia, this time roping in Iran long before the current on-going issues. Ledeen is well known for his theories that would make even Dick Cheney blush, but this one really does take the biscuit. It appears that foreign leaders believing in the end of the world is justification enough for wiping them out, but it's okay for your own leaders to do so ...

"They openly welcome the end of the world, which would usher in the millennium, under the sway of the long-vanished 12th Iman. They say they intend to precipitate the millennium by using atomic bombs on Israel. That is a chiliastic vision that embraces the murder of millions 0f us."

Chiliastic?

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Will Obama bring about Ragnarok?

A brilliant piece of lateral thinking here - with a smattering of Norse mythology and metaphysical trickery it becomes possible that not only is Barack Obama not a natural-born American citizen, as demanded by the US Constitution, but his legislative programme will also bring about Ragnarok, which must be proceeded (as we mentioned in The End is Nigh #2) by Fimbulvetr, three years of winter with no summer in between.

"What does this have to do with Obama? It’s simple. Obama has been essential in pushing through cap and trade legislation through the United States Congress, and his Administration has made it a major part of its agenda. But as Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle point out in their tome Fallen Angels, preventing the greenhouse effect would lead the Earth into a devastating ice age. In other words, Obama’s Cap and Trade Agenda will directly lead to Fimbulvetr. As no real American would sponsor legislation that would lead to the Twilight of the Gods, it was necessary for Loki to use his powers to make Obama appear to be an American citizen so that Obama’s election to the Presidency would be assured. "Clearly, Loki’s influence into American Presidential elections should be stopped and Obama should be immediately impeached for making use of a foreign power to obtain the Presidency."

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

"I'm dreaming of an apocalyptic Christmas ..."

We recently brought you news that the Doomsday-machine that never was, the Large Hadron Collider, was due to begin smashin' dem atoms again in September.

But sadly, Earth will have to wait to be sucked into an artifical black hole*, as its long-awaited restart has been postponed until the winter.

CERN attributed the delay to a number of technical difficulties, including vacuum leaks in two sectors of the LHC that had been cooled down to 80 K.

* joke!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Terrorists "could use internet to spark nuclear war"

Terrorists groups could soon use the internet to help set off a devastating nuclear attack, according to new research, the Guardian says.

The claims in a study commissioned by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) suggest that under the right circumstances, terrorists could break into computer systems and launch nukes at another nuclear state – triggering a a devastating retaliatory attack.

Without better protection of computer and information systems, the paper suggests, governments around the world are leaving open the possibility that a well-coordinated cyberwar could quickly elevate to nuclear levels: "Though the paper admits that the media and entertainment industries often confuse and exaggerate the risk of cyberterrorism, it also outlines a number of potential threats and situations in which dedicated hackers could use information warfare techniques to make a nuclear attack more likely."

Monday, 3 August 2009

The End will be Twittered ...

Tonight, why not pop ouside and have a look up at the night sky. Assuming it's a clear night, it's pretty isn't it?

Unfortunately, all those stars may look glittery, timeless and above all else, stationary, but we're in a crowded neighbourhood and there's quite a few lumps of spinning rock out there with 'To whom it may concern' stamped on the side.

According to Wired's The Real Twitpocalypse: Asteroid Alerts Come to Twitter, NASA has set up its own Asteroid Watch Twitter feed to keep you up to date on all the comets, asteroids, and other celestial objects that pose a threat to the Earth. The feed is a companion to the newly-launched Asteroid Watch website, operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

So that's a relief. We already guessed Twitter was a sign of The End, but who knew it'd be the first place we'd hear of it?

And if you're looking for recent near-misses, you can also check out Tom Taylor's lowflyingrocks feed.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Let the sun shine, let the sun shine ... AARRGGHH!! It burns!!

While scientists remain baffled about just how low the sun's activity has got during its regular 'solar minimum', that's not stopped others deciding that its current quiet period is THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM!!!! Thanks to this little piece of solar scaremongering, we now know that "The sun is unusually quiet right now and has been for some time but there should be an increase in solar activity at some point in the near future."

The best bit, though, is the leap of logic (in the 'leap buildings in a single bound' sense) from the knowledge of a 'solar maximum' to this: "The best current scientific estimate for the next solar maximum is 2012. If this estimate is correct, there is still a few years to try and prevent the potential of a future global disaster. A disaster that would begin on the surface of the sun and could end with tragedy on earth.

However, we prefer to turn to NASA, who have said that although sunspot counts should pick up again soon, the solar maximum in 2012 or 2013 should be of "below-average intensity".

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The REAL moment the Cuban Missile Crisis nearly erupted into war

Declassified documents, revealed at a conference on the Cuban Missile Crisis in Havana, show that events edged closer to global nuclear war than previously thought.

The most dangerous day of all was apparently October 27, 1962 - when a US Navy destroyer dropping depth charges off the Cuban coast almost accidentally hit the hull of a Soviet submarine carrying a nuclear warhead.

The U.S. military "did not have a clue that the submarine had a nuclear weapon on board," said Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archives.

The nonprofit archive at George Washington University collected many of the documents for study during the three-day conference back in 2002.

The depth charges "exploded right next to the hull," Vadim Orlov, the submarine's signals intelligence officer, said in a written account of the incident. "It felt like you were sitting in a metal barrel, which somebody is constantly blasting with a sledgehammer."

At first, submarine crew members considered using the nuclear weapon, thinking war had erupted. But they ultimately surfaced, showing themselves to their American pursuers and defusing the tension.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

What do you need to cripple the United States of America?

Well, the New England bit of anyway ...

Well, according to Republican House of Representative member for Maryland Roscoe Barlett (great name, fella), you need a boat, $100,000 to buy a scud-missile launcher, and a crude nuclear weapon. Then you fire it into the sky and set it off.

The electro-magnetic pulse from such a weapon "might not paralyze the entire United States, Roscoe concedes, "But you could shut down all of New England. And if you missed by 100 miles, it’s as good as a bulls eye"."

Hardly a doomsday weapon by any stretch of the imagination, though surely if any rogue state or terrorist organisation actually HAD such a system they'd go for the wide-spread and altogether more attention-grabbing loss of life by firing it AT a major city, rather than wasting it inconveniencing a few New Englanders who find their TVs don't work no more?

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Waiting for the End Times Part 2

This post could be sub-titled "Still Waiting" ...

Jehovah's Witnesses, those darlings of the failed prophecy community and adherents to the idea that Judgement Day could be "any day now", continue to ... well, watch.

So do enjoy this charmingly sedate report about a Philadelphia district convention.

"Sister Odell Davis of Philadelphia, who said she had been waiting for Judgment Day since 1963, ... is "not at all disappointed" that it has not yet come."

Monday, 27 July 2009

Waiting for the End Times Part 1

End Time Watching is big business - just ask those preachers through the ages who have only been too happy to bandy the apocalypse about. There's nothing more likely to get the faithful handing over their precious cash like the thought that it might buy them a one-way ticket to Paradise.

But make no mistake about it, it's as popular now as it was when all you needed was the birth of a two-headed cat and a pulpit to stand in. At least now cynicism can make a rough stab at standing up to blind faith, and the vast majority of reasonable, logical people needing only to cite that last failed prediction to take the wind from the sails of your average Armageddon seller.

Yet even the boom in recent years of scientific scaremongering (which we've reported on here, there and everywhere), whether by scientists themselves or a headline-chasing media, has not meant the fervent have gone away. No, if anything they're even MORE convinced that the end is nigh - bending reality still further to support their claims.

But why do they continue to get away with it? Why do people still believe them? Why do they not listen to sensible, thought-out demolitions of these absurd ideas?

It's refreshing to see a deconstruction of the mechanics of modern religious doomsaying, even though it does strain its metaphors somewhat ...

"Academic dishonesty seems to be the norm when passages don’t coincide with what the prognosticator has already concluded about a topic. Doctrinal concepts, conveyed in actual verbiage, considered malignant to the purveyors’ point of view, are given a sort of theistic chemotherapy, while others are transplanted to help prop up preconceived opinions. The outcome of these tactics is that we find ourselves in an intellectual gymnastics match, with those holding to the sensational being the Romanian all-stars and those who adhere to more realistic views being a team of overweight Slovakians with uni-brows. The irony here is that the latter, despite appearing to be tremendously outmatched, eventually emerges victorious. Why? Because truth always trumps error, no matter how nicely adorned or well groomed that error might be."

Friday, 24 July 2009

Games console nearly sparks Armageddon!

Occasions when electronic video games consoles are appropriate: while relaxing at home, a distraction on long journeys, entertainment while on holiday ...


Occasions when they are NOT appropriate: GUARDING A HIGH SECURITY NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANT!


Three guards have been suspended for bringing video game devices, including one with transmitting capability, into the heart of a the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.


Spokeswoman Courtney Henry confirmed that the three security police officers were suspended without pay for an incident three weeks ago at the plant after they brought electronic game devices into the plant's "protected area" where warhead parts are made, dismantled and recycled.


Not even mobile phones are allowed in there, yet one of the players was a portable Sony PSP with "transmission capability".


The plant has since issued new rules requiring that guards personal bags be checked before they are taken into the area.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Will the Antichrist be a homosexual ... ?

... clearly not our words, but most definitely those of Ron Hamman, pastor of the Independent Baptist Church of Wasilla. You may remember Wasilla as the hometown of former vice-presidential candidate and now outgoing governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

Marvel in the theological vitriol of Rev Hamman as he posits the idea that as homosexuality is "the greatest of sins" it follows that the Antichrist would be he who sins the most. Ergo, the Antichrist would/will be gay:

"While the word “homosexual” is not in the Bible, the behavior of those who practice homosexuality, and God’s estimation of them, very definitely is. When the word came into existence I cannot tell you, but what we can say for sure is that when Noah Webster published his first dictionary in 1828, it was not included. This means that homosexuality is a modern word invented to replace the word Noah Webster did include, sodomy, defined as a crime against nature"

Would it be too churlish to point out that the word 'Antichrist' isn't in the Bible either ... ?

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Don't panic! ... (but has swine flu started to mutate?)

The Telegraph, always keen to ask the questions that other feel are moderately irresponsible, is asking whether the ol' piggy sniffles* virus is starting to mutate and become more virulent.

Littered with phrases like "very difficult to be sure", it succeeds only in proving how little we actually know - so speculating really helps no-one.

As our next issue is due to explore, if anything the focus on "AM I GOING TO DIE?!?!?" hides a more important point with a cloak of panic - doesn't the swift and unstoppable nature of swine flu prove that even with all the world's preparation and vigilence we would still be utterly helpless in the face of a more deadly virus?



* we'll get tired of calling it that eventually ... honest!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

"Mayan" crop circle warning sign of End Times

A 350ft crop circle of an ancient Mayan symbol, "said to be a sign of an impending apocalypse", has appeared next to Silbury Hill in Wiltshire.

According to the Telegraph, "members of the crop circle community believe the mystic symbol is a signal of the end of the 5,126-year Mayan 'Long Count' calendar on December 21, 2012".

Karen Alexander, a crop circle enthusiast, said: "This is one of the most interesting crop circles I have ever seen. It is definitely a Mayan symbol and we are sure it is linked to the Mayan calendar, which ends in 2012.
"It appears to be a warning about the world coming to an end when the calendar does. For the ancient Maya, reaching the end of a cycle was a momentous event, so we are taking this crop circle very seriously as an indicator of a possibly huge event in 2012."

1) the Mayan calendar doesn't "end" in 2012
2) the Mayans didn't "predict" the end of the world
3) buy The End is Nigh #3 if you want the full rundown of why
4) as "warnings" go, it's pretty poor
5) and since when were a Mayan headdresses and a Phoenix now signs of the end of the world?
6) a little research appears to show that Karen, who "has been researching crop circles for over 15 years", has been the 'go to' for a lot of lazy, lazy journalists ... still, she *does* have a book out ...

Monday, 20 July 2009

'Armageddon' alarm bell rings over Pakistan

All is not well in Pakistan.

The north western region of Buner is only 65 miles from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, yet it has become a stronghold of the Taliban after locals allowed them operate with impunity in exchange for the local implimentation of Sharia Law.

This underlines the growing concern that the Taliban are a significant threat to the Pakistani state - something echoed by former CIA Middle East expert Bruce Riedel - who is now warning about "Armageddon in Islamabad".

In February, President Barack Obama appointed him chair of an inter-agency overhaul of US policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan. His latest assessment says, "A jihadist victory in Pakistan ... would create the greatest threat the United States has yet to face in its war on terror ... [and] is now a real possibility in the foreseeable future." It would bolster al Qaeda's capabilities tenfold, Mr. Riedel concludes.

It would also give terrorists a nuclear capability.

"A jihadist, nuclear-armed Pakistan," says Riedel, "is a scenario we need to avoid at all costs."

Back in May, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif claimed Pakistan’s nuclear command and control system was "safe and more secure than that of any other country in the world", yet the Taliban insurgency in the north of the country has only heightened the fear of the US and its allies that, unless stopped, the militants could conceiveably gain access to nuclear weapons. Assurances that their missiles could be scuttled in the event of a Taliban victory have done nothing to allay fears, as even basic nuclear material could be engineered into so-called 'dirty bombs' that require no delivery system more complex than a van.

It has long been assumed by Pakistan and others that the main threat to its security was the long-standing emnity with its regional rival, India, and its first nuclear test 11 years ago sparked fears of a serious local nuclear arms race between the rwo - the flashpoint assumed to be the disputed region of Kashmir. Pakistan now has between 35 and 120 warheads, all within the 25-36 kiloton range, and they also possess the means to deliver them - their Shaheen-II missiles have a range of 3,500km.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Panic as Penultimate Pope 'rushed to hospital'

We at Doom Towers don't believe in the end of the world. You might think that's odd for a bunch of people who produce a magazine about the end of the world but from the general tone of this blog it shouldn't really come as much of a surprise.

Yet even we, with all our sneering and cynicism, felt our hearts jump into our throats when we saw the 'Pope rushed to hospital' headlines pop up a few hours ago. Y'see, we've been watching Pope Benedict for a while now and, well, we've been praying that he avoids a ... somewhat untimely fate.

For according to the so-called Prophecy of St Malachi, Joseph Ratzinger is due for a very short stint in the top job. As reported in The End is Nigh #3, Malachi supposedly penned a list of all the popes "up till the Second Coming". When Ratzinger was elected in 2005 he became, according to that list, the 'penultimate pope' - the last before the final pope, who would either be the Antichrist or the one ushered him in.

There is plenty of evidence that the list was made up long after Malachi died (not the least of it being that it's remarkably cryptic and requires quite a stretch of the imagination to 'fit' each pope to their description), but if you're a believer then you'd know that Ratzinger would supposedly reign only for a short time before dying.

And, since he's only been in post since '05, we ... well ... we were worried for a moment there.

Luckily, we stopped panicking when we saw this - turns out he just had a bit of a spill.



Phew.

Ring a ring o' particles ...

The Large Hadron Collider, the massive science experiment which broke down last year within days of being switched on, is to start up again in September - a year after it was first activiated.

Amidst the hoo-ha that in the race to discover the so-called 'God Particle' it would create a black hole and bring about the end of the world, the activation of the machine produced not even the slightesy hint of anything apocalyptic. And then it broke.

The machine is currently being readied for its restart and the first beams of particles will be fired around its 17-mile ring in September with the first collisions will follow about a month later.

The LHC, based at the Swiss headquarters of the European nuclear research organisation Cern, was switched on in September last year amid a fanfare of publicity. But just 10 days later an electrical fault led to a catastrophic leak of helium used to cool the machine's powerful magnets, causing a complete shut-down.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Iranian nuclear chief 'resigns'

The BBC is reporting that the head of Iran's nuclear programme has resigned.

No immediate reason for the resignation has yet been revealed, but back in April during one of the inumerable stand-offs between the US and Iran over the latter's nuclear programme, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said Iran had increased the number of centrifuges - required to enrich (and, the US claims, weaponise) nuclear material - it is running from 6,000 to 7,000 in February.

This little piggy went to hospital ...


The excellent BBC interactive map showing the spread of H1N1 'swine' flu gives a real sense of how patterns of travel and migration have spread the disease to specific countries.
At the same time, the UN's top health official, World Health Organization head Margaret Chan, has said that the spread of the virus worldwide is now unstoppable.
"As we see today, with well over 100 countries reporting cases, once a fully fit pandemic virus emerges, its further international spread is unstoppable," Dr Chan said in her opening remarks.

The virus has entered more than 100 countries, infected more than 70,000 people and killed more than 300 worldwide. While Mexico has seen swine flu cases decrease, the peak of the flu season is approaching in South America - Paraguay has reported its first fatality, while in Central America El Salvador has also recorded its first swine flu death.

A notice and some good news

I guess it wouldn't be THE END IS NIGH without the unexplained and prolonged silences, followed by intense bursts of blogging, followed by more inexplicable breaks ...

But we're back! It's been a bit of a busy few weeks, apocalypse watchers - what with the piggy sniffles cutting a swath through the tabloid press and further dire warnings of impending climate disaster.

So I hope you'll be pleased to hear that, after a FOUR YEAR hiatus, the next issue of THE END IS NIGH is due to be published in October.

More details, and hopefully more regular blogging, here soon ...

Thursday, 19 March 2009

The End is Nigh: The Conference!

Y'know, while reading coverage of this year's International Prophecy Conference I'm not actually sure what scares me the most. It's either that preacher Mark Hitchcock has penned *20* books on apocalyptica or that there's a CONFERENCE where people go and talk.

It's no surprise to see Tim LaHaye, he of the bestselling Left Behind series, down as one of the speakers at this conference, though Hitchcock's latest title (The Late Great United States, What Bible Prophecy Reveals about America's Last Days) is a sobering reminder that the evangelical Christian community in America is very much alive and well and busy claiming the current crisis as a sign of the times. He's also author of the cherrily-titled Could the Rapture Happen Today? and Iran: The Coming Crisis.

Hitchcock confidentally proclaims that America will NOT be a superpower during the End Times, meaning it will have already be brought low by "anything from "a nuclear 9/11'' to an economic collapse to the expected Rapture that could swoop 30 million believers into heaven"

"We don't want to be obsessed with it,'' he said. I really hope the irony of that statement is clear.

Global crisis 'to strike by 2030'

A "perfect storm" of food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources threaten to unleash public unrest, cross-border conflicts and mass migration as people flee from the worst-affected regions, the UK government's chief scientist is warning.

In a major speech to environmental groups and politicians, Professor John Beddington, who took up the position of chief scientific adviser last year, will say that the world is heading for major upheavals which are due to come to a head in 2030.

He will tell the government's Sustainable Development UK conference in Westminster that the growing population and success in alleviating poverty in developing countries will trigger a surge in demand for food, water and energy over the next two decades, at a time when governments must also make major progress in combating climate change.

"We head into a perfect storm in 2030, because all of these things are operating on the same time frame," Beddington told the Guardian.

"If we don't address this, we can expect major destabilisation, an increase in rioting and potentially significant problems with international migration, as people move out to avoid food and water shortages," he added.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

I need a hol-i-day, a nuclear hol-i-day ...

Love is all around at the moment. Nuclear love, that is, as Russia announces a "comprehensive military rearmament" from 2011 - partly in response to perceived shortcomings during the recent war with Georgia and also in reaction to NATO's expansion and America's continued plans for its missile defence shield (no word on that yet from the Obama administration?) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev specifically named his country's strategic nuclear forces as being in need of the $140bn (£94.5bn) boost.

Meanwhile, China has voiced concern about the rising tensions in Korea over the forthcoming North's rocket test launch - with Japan even suggesting it could deploy a vessel equipped with missile interceptor technology to the Sea of Japan (East Sea) to destroy the rocket. Worries continue that North Korea is slowly but surely building an arsenal capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

And British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told Iran it should "let the world help it get civil nuclear power" and announced that an expansion of nuclear power was needed globally to meet carbon reduction targets. This less than a month after Iran and Russia started tests of the Middle Eastern country's first nuclear power plant.

Edit:
Further to coverage of Gordon Brown's warning to Iran, the BBC (where would I be without them?) helpfully did a nice little feature on the issue of Iran's civilian nuclear programme, but one which makes it clear that the UK is involved in this nuclear rearmament race, even if it is by stealth.

Elsewhere in his speech ... the UK leader also proposed to further reduce Britain's own nuclear warheads in the run-up to the next five-yearly proliferation review conference next year. These warheads now number fewer than 160.

The weakness in his argument, other governments might say, is that at the same time Britain is also starting on a major programme of renewing its nuclear weapons. It is planning to build four new submarines, will take part in an American programme to extend the life of the Trident D5 missile and is examining an upgrade for its own warheads.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Scientists anticipate 'more bad news' on climate change

More than 2,000 climate scientists gathering in Copenhagen are expected to give a much clearer - and up-to-date - picture about the effects of climate change.

The scientists are concerned that the 2007 reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are already out of date. Latest data suggests greater rises in sea levels this century.

For the scientists, this conference is "about removing as much wriggle room as possible from the political negotiations on a new global climate treaty taking place in December".

In the context of the wrangle over the language used when talking about the effects of climate change, it will be interesting to see what conclusions a sober, research-based and non-political analysis will come to. The acid test will come when the politicians meet later in the year and what tactics they will employ to evade acting over what will undoubtedly be a pretty miserable prognosis.

Monday, 9 March 2009

N Korea gets jumpy, threatens war

Good to see the stand-off in Korea continues to bubble along nicely*, while talks over North Korea's nuclear ambitions remain stalled.

North Korea has warned that any attempt to shoot down a satellite it says it plans to launch will result in war, while also putting its military on full combat alert as an annual military exercise by US and South Korean forces begins. North Korea is always rankled by the annual drill, which tests the joint forces' ability to defend the peninsula.

The South and the US believe Pyongyang could be preparing to test-fire a long-range missile under the guise of a satellite launch.

In January, N Korea scrapped a series of peace agreements with the South over Seoul's decision to link bilateral aid to progress on "denuclearisation".

* irony

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

'Close shave' by space rock

An asteroid which may be as big as a ten-storey building has passed close by the Earth, astronomers say. The object, known as 2009 DD45, thought to be 21-47m (68-152ft) across, raced by our planet at 1344 GMT on Monday.

The gap was just 72,000 km (44,750 miles); a fifth of the distance between our planet and the Moon.

International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Centre (MPC), which catalogues Solar System objects, lists the closest recent flyby as 2004 FU162, a small asteroid about 6m (20ft) across which came within about 6,500km (4,000 miles) of our planet in March 2004. The latest object, 2009 DD45, passed by our planet at only twice the altitude of satellites in geosynchronous orbit.

So what's your favourite apocalypse?

Got a favourite prediction for the end of the world? Or even one of your own? Which doomsayer has caught your eye?

Pop your top prediction, plus a link, in the comments box and we'll publish a selection in the next issue ...

Deadly shipment 'under threat from terrorists'

According to the Times yesterday (no, go and find your own damn link!), Greenpeace is claiming a French consignment of reprocessed nuclear fuel to Japan contains enough bomb-grade plutonium to make 225 nuclear weapons and is at risk from being hijacked by terrorists.

The shipment of mixed oxide (MOX), a blend of plutonium and reprocessed uranium, is being carried on two ships from the British-based firm Pacific Nuclear Transport from Cherbourg this week. Areva, the reprocessing company, confirmed the shipment and said the vessels would be "armed and protected by specifically trained guards from Britain".

Just so you know, you recover bomb-grade plutonium by re-processing spent nuclear fuel and separating the plutonium from remaining uranium and waste fission products.

Radioactive relic found

A bottle discarded at a waste site in the US contains the oldest sample of bomb-grade plutonium made in a nuclear reactor, scientists say.

The sample dates to 1944 and is a relic from the infancy of the US nuclear weapons programme.

The type of plutonium in the bottle - known as Pu-239 - is a so-called alpha emitter. These alpha particles are too bulky to penetrate skin or paper, but they can cause poisoning if swallowed or inhaled.

It has a half-life (the time it takes for half the radioactive nuclei in a sample to decay) of 24,110 years.

The bottle in question was discovered in a burial trench at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state, north-western US.

Established as part of the Manhattan Project in 1943, Hanford was home to the world's first full-scale plutonium production facility.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

The End is Nigh for Twitter!

Yes, The End is Nigh now has its own newsfeed through Twitter - regular updates on all the apocalyptic news that's fit to scare your socks off!

How to survive the 21st Century

The New Scientist has provided a blueprint for how mankind might make it through the next 91 years, if Mr Lovelock's direst predictions actually come true ...

Life "doomed" by four degree rise in global temps

James Lovelock, the former Nasa scientist and chief proponent of Gaia theory, has hit the headlines again with 'doomsday' predictions of the effects of climate change.

Climate change will wipe out most life on Earth by the end of this century and mankind is too late to avert catastrophe, a leading British climate scientist said.

Lovelock, 89, has said higher temperatures will turn parts of the world into desert and raise sea levels, flooding other regions.

His apocalyptic theory foresees crop failures, drought and death on an unprecedented scale. The population of this hot, barren world could shrink from about seven billion to one billion by 2100 as people compete for ever-scarcer resources.

"It will be death on a grand scale from famine and lack of water," Lovelock told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. "It could be a reduction to a billion (people) or less."

More worryingly, he claims that even if the world found a way of cutting emissions to zero, it is now too late to cool the Earth.

Ironically, this comes just a few weeks after experts at Britain's top climate research centre launched an attack on scientific colleagues and journalists who exaggerate the effects of global warming.

Talking up the apocalypse

We've talked before about the language of the apocalypse, particularly in issue two in reference to natural disasters. In the verbose excesses of a globalised media, analogies of apocalypse and disaster are easily employed to strike home to the reader or listener the gravity of the situation in a natural, almost knee-jerk reaction to events that seem too big to be true. Such words are not the preserve of the doom-monger, as even those who promise relief and rescue from a frightening and seemingly overwhelming situation find it all too easy to create a backdrop of despair, against which their efforts shine even more brightly.

But what effect does this have? What seeds does it sow? According to the latest report from the Global Language Monitor, 'words of hope in the global media have given way to those of despair and fear relating to the economic meltdown in a three-month period since the US presidential election in November'. The way we use language fundamentally affects our view of the world and as people are bombarded with words such as 'armageddon', 'meltdown', 'doomsday' and 'apocalypse' their emotional reaction to the situation will inevitably shift towards feelings of fear and despair. Couple that with the genuine problems faced by people around the world, such as rises in food prices and shortage of commodities, and the consequences can be significant. As people panic, so do their leaders. As a climate of fear evolves, so does the situation where drastic measures seem reasonable.

There are some who inevitably see these societal 'collapses' as precursors for social unrest and, eventually, war; so the way we talk about a crisis deserves attention. Are we playing things up for effect? Are we at risk of affecting the outcome of this economic depression just because of our choice of words? Are we making things worse due a simple poverty of allegory?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Seriously ... what?!

'Many have seen how crowds react to his speaking and have wondered “Is Barack Obama the Antichrist?”'

Many?

We're all for refreshingly new points of view, but this odd blend of post-millennial anxiety, Biblical prophecy that even Joseph Smith would snort at, pseudo-Kenyan nationalism and mis-translation makes even my head hurt.

Of course, many figures have been fingered as The Antichrist, of Revelations fame - the Pope, Henry Kissinger, even JFK. But Obama? It's notable that this prophecy comes out of Kenya itself, rather than from certain right-wing evangelical Christian commentators in America who suggests their new president's moves to repair/improve American relations with the rest of the world means he's due to become some kind of 'President of the world' which, of course, would mean he'd be the unifying Antichrist ...

No, I don't get it either.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

A little New Year's treat for us all ...

Wondered how long it would be before H5N1 reared its ugly little head. Expect hysterical Daily Mail headlines within a month ...

Bird flu re-emerged as a threat in Asia today after China reported the disease killed a woman in Beijing and neighbouring Vietnam said a girl had contracted the virus.


The cases are the first involving humans in the two countries in nearly a year, and mark a reappearance of the H5N1 virus as Asia moves into the cold winter months that typically favour the spread of the virus.

Oh, and happy new year - let's all hope we make it through 2009!