I find it oddly disturbing that more people I know think 12/21/12 will be the end of the world then think humans are causing some climate changes. It makes sense if you think about it, though. Fake planets, ancient calendars and "solar tsunamis" are things nobody can do anything about. Climate change, if caused by man, can be controlled by man. It's always easier to worry about things you can't do anything about because then you're off the hook. If you worry about something you can control, then you have to take actions to control it or you look like some kind of an idiot. People will always choose to look foolish believing in things they can't prove as opposed to things they can. It goes hand in hand with taking zero responsibility for your actions.
The 12/21/12 phenomenon is much like all the other end-of-the-world scenarios that have come before it, and in some ways very different. This one combines "science" (there's a planet coming into our solar system which will disrupt everything) with prophecy (the Mayan calendar ends). Granted, none of this actually holds up under scrutiny. This mysterious planet, Nibiru, was supposed to be visible to the naked eye two years ago. Nobody has seen it yet with a telescope let alone their peepers. And, of course, our calendar ends, as well. 12/31/11. It also taps into a bit of the "savage" scenario. Since we are an "advanced" culture, any cultures before ours couldn't possibly know things about astronomy and whatnot, but this Mayan culture seemed to have magical powers and advanced science, so they must have been right. It all makes for Hollywood movies and interesting press, but is little more than science fiction that far too many people are taking as science fact.
We've had our end-of-the-world problems last year with some people claiming the date was given in the Bible. People quit their jobs, slashed their kids' throats, and took to the road to let people know the end was nigh. It wasn't. Jobs stayed lost. Throats stayed slashed. Motorhomes remained painted with poorly written predictions. And then there was Y2K. You know, all the computers were going to crash, stop lights wouldn't work, and gold would be the only currency worth anything. That was another bit of prophecial dysfunction, as disappointing as whiskey dick. The only thing that came true was that gold got hoarded and those who sold bulk seeds made a killing.
But all of that is ancient history, forgotten, as we forget so many other things, when something newer and bigger comes along. The idea of the Earth cracking in half and lava bursting up through our living rooms during So You Think You Can Dance? has such cool special effects built right in that you can't help but swoon. Couple all that with some earthquakes that got a lot of coverage, leading many to believe there is more activity than normal, and the scientists theorizing that solar flares will peak (in 2013, but that's no small matter), and you get a television-ready special event movie that wil prove to be disappointing and then forgotten. A new scenario will, of course, take its place (a virus? a black hole bomb? the Tea Party Parrots getting the White House?), and a new round of fear and exploitation will occur.
All of this would be fine if people didn't act on these made-up threats. They do act on them, though, and they do so negatively. Do I care if some moron jumps out his window because he thinks the end of the world is ten minutes away? Only if I happen to be walking underneath him at the time. I do, however, care, when parents end up killing their kids. I do care when a group of believers sends nerve gas through a subway hoping to pre-empt the end of the world. People who believe insane shit like the end of the world (each and every time it's supposed to happen) do insane shit. They are capable of doing insane shit. (It should be noted, however, that much with the way people live their lives, many people who claim to believe 12/21/21 is the end of the world are doing very little to actually prepare for that. It goes to show how beliefs are important ... until you actually have to do something about it.) If you know someone who believes this sort of thing -- or any other such nonsense -- you should question their sanity. (Maybe not to their faces. They are nuts, and if they believe in fake planets, they can just as easily believe you are an alien and stab you in the throat.)
Lunatics -- is there anything they aren't capable of doing?