Sorry, I couldn't resist. LOL With everything crazy going on in the world, it seemed an obvious choice! Let's see if I can throw a little science into the mix...
Alright. So, it's 2011. Which means next year is 2012. Is the world as we know it going to end??
Short answer: Highly doubtful, but who the heck knows?!
Natural disasters, political craziness, economic collapse, nuclear threats, sunspots, 2012... The list goes on. Regardless of validity, "Armageddon" is a prominent thought in our global consciousness right now. But hasn't it been "The End Of The World" time and time again? Every generation has its doomsday fears; is now any different?
Humans tend to think we know an awful lot, what with all our research and science and data and all that... but the truth of the matter is, we've been living on this planet a comparatively short time. The earth is not a static ball of rock that we live on and have mastery over; it is a dynamic, living, constantly changing being of its own - and we happen to be one of the tiny creatures living on its surface! When natural disasters like the recent Japan earthquake happen, we all seem to go a little bit crazy asking ourselves, What could we have done to predict or prevent this from happening?
... And the answer to THAT question is: Probably not a darned thing. There are some warning signs out there when the earth gets unsettled, but whether anything monumental will happen (or not) is really anyone's guess.
Right now, for example, we seem to be in a period of extremely heightened seismic activity. There are largish earthquakes happening ALL OVER the globe on a daily basis. Magnitute 6+ earthquakes don't even make it beyond local news. To add to that, we are entering solar cycle 24 - which is predicted to be the largest in well over 100 years. Solar activity has been correlated with increased seismic activity. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, right? For those curious souls out there, here are a few hard science links that may be of interest. Unless you prefer the "ignorance is bliss" mindset - which is not always such a bad way to go. ;)
Seismic monitoring stations:
Yellowstone Seismic Maps
Pacific NW Seismic Network
SolarIMG (photos and graphs of solar activity and more)
Solar Terrestrial Activity Report
NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory
... What do you think?? I would love to know your opinion!!