The Data Behind Doomsday: Does The World Really End Tomorrow?

All over the world, millions and millions of conspiracy theorists, armchair prophets, numerologists, soothsayers, New Age hippies and the entire population of China are quaking in their boots at the impending end of the Mayan calendar and predictions of “global cataclysm” that will take place on Friday 21/12/2102.

These fortune tellers point to any number of apocalyptic events, including a mysterious planet hurtling towards the Earth, massive solar flares that cause the planet’s magnetic pole to flip, or even a seismic “consciousness shift” that will change the face of humanity as we know it. But just how likely are these events?

To answer that question, SiliconANGLE decided to dig a little deeper and take a look at the data behind all of these “Doomsday” scenarios and get a handle on the truth.

 

The Mayan Calendar

To understand why so many people are freakin’ out about Friday, it’s worth taking a little gander at the Mayan’s utterly bizarre and complex calendar and seeing for ourselves if the prophecies really match up. The following infographic from the Global Post helps to shed a little light on this…

(Click to view)

…although sadly, not nearly enough light as we need. As you can see, the Mayans calendar system – albeit annoyingly complicated – does seem to be rather accurate. So the confusion is not about the dates themselves, but rather, what happens at the end of this “Fourth World”. And it’s this point that the so-called experts can’t seem to agree on.

 

The Theories

With the uncertainty hanging over our heads about what the end of the Mayan calendar represents, it’s worth looking at some of the favorite “doomsday scenarios” a little more closely. The Guardian teamed up with Information is Beautiful to produce an excellently informed infographic that gets down to the nuts and bolts of the most popular apocalypse theories.

The ‘Doomsday data’ is thankfully rather reassuring, as it manages to rebuff most of the ‘believers’ arguments. First, it shows us that there’s actually a lot of disagreement about the end date itself, with scholars pointing out that different cities actually used slightly different calendars:

(Click to view)

Much noise has been made over the celestial significance of Friday 21, but thankfully the ‘critics’ seem to have rubbished most of these theories too. While ‘believers’ insist that the date marks the end of a 26,000 year celestial cycle, this ‘end’ actually lasts for a whole 36 years, and so in the absolute WORST CASE scenario, tomorrow will only be the ‘beginning’ of the end…

As for the actual cataclysms themselves, there’s fat chance of any of these happening. The rogue planet “Nibiru”  that’s said to be on a collision course with Earth simply isn’t there, those who worry about a magnetic pole shift forget that this actually takes several thousand years to complete, and the chances of a solar flare shooting out of the sun to burn the surface of the planet are bordering on fantasy.

 

Your Prospects

Sadly, no matter how much scientific evidence you throw in their faces, there will still be millions of ‘believers’ spreading panic and generally making fools of themselves. So to humor them a little, here’s one last infographic to give you a taste of what ‘could’ be in store for us all tomorrow.

But be warned, it isn’t pretty…

(Click click click)

About Mike Wheatley

Mike loves to talk about Big Data, the Internet of Things, Hacktivists and hacking, but he also hates Google and can never resist having a quick dig at them should the opportunity arise :) Got a REAL news story or tip? Email Mike@SiliconANGLE.com.