Posted by: maroonmaurader | September 30, 2011

Ig Nobel Prizes and the End of the World

Heads up: the Ig Nobel prizes for this year are out. A wasabi alarm and yawning turtles round out the lot.

On a related note, their Mathematics prize (to a series of doomsayers) ultimately led me to this excellent list of predicted ends to the world. It’s got all the classics – people predicting the end of the world due to moral decline (in 2800 BC), predicting the end of the world because things seem shitty right then (247 AD), based on arithmetic paired with a fundamental ignorance about the history of the world (before 500 AD), because it seemed like a nice round number (1000 AD), because of Astrology (Sep. 23, 1186), rescheduling the end when it didn’t arrive on time (1260, then 1290), errant predictions causing panic and chaos (Feb 1, 1524)…

It would appear likely that someone, somewhere in the world, has been predicting its end and getting taken seriously by at least a credulous few pretty much every couple of months as long as there has been a world to end and a person to make predictions thereof. Also, credit to Newton for giving a prediction that the world cannot end before 2060 (although any time after that may be fair game). And it seems likely he deliberately did not publish it because he was trying to avoid sensationalism.


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