For decades, Nostradamus-obsessed doomsayers insisted on the apocalyptic significance of the month of July (or August) 1999.
Of course, that month came and went without such an incident – or much remark about the absence of such an incident, frankly.
All too predictably, the Mystic Apocalypse Industry shifted its attention to other predictions of doom. Nostradamus never went out of style, exactly, but he has since run second place to the new favorite, a bizarre reading of the Mayan long count calendar which holds that the end of the world will come on December 21, 2012 – next year's winter solstice, exactly one year from today.
So for over a decade, we have had to listen to a massive torrent of this nonsense.
One way or another, we'll find out the truth in a year. My prediction: I will be here, alive and well and on this blog, on an Internet as functional as ever, to remind everyone of what didn't happen.
But I doubt anyone will pay much attention. That "prediction" will be quietly forgotten, because that's what always happens, and the Industry will seize on something else and find plenty of takers, because that's what always happens.
Meanwhile, rational study of the real threats to our existence (ecological problems like resource depletion and climate change, for instance) gets ignored, or dismissed. It's far from fair, or for that matter conducive to our well-being, but all too predictable.
Until this time, next year, though, those who don't want to feel totally alone during the hysteria can check out 2012hoax, a wiki devoted to debunking the myth. They might also do well to check out NASA's Q & A on the subject.