With the calculations about the predicted end of the world having panned out about as well as everyone predicted, let's consider the predictions for the forthcoming beginning of the world. If we waited for the last minute we might oversleep, find the world's creation already came, and the whole subject would look ridiculous.
Those arguing the world hasn't begun have their hopes pinned on June 24, when we're liable to find a whole planet out there. They mean ours, and here. ``It should be something else,'' said Turtle Reginald Daly, renowned for the ``giant impact hypothesis'' regarding the formation of the human, turtle, and chipmunk Moons. We turn to the Turtle Reginald Daly because going to Zombie versions of people is pretty well played out, or at least it should be. ``I'm hoping we'll end up with something world-like with a few tweaks. For example, I'd like a world just like this except Twitter messages are limited to 150 characters.''
``That's crazy,'' insists mathematical physicist Goose Pierre-Simon de Laplace, who favors a 132-character limit, he says ``not for the obvious reasons''. But he looks forward to the creation of the world nonetheless, noting that it would be sure to spruce up a dull afternoon, assuming June 24 turns out to have an afternoon.
Multitalented polymath Redundant Short-Clawed Otter Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz has simpler hopes for the world, such as this time they never invented the hard pretzel, and instead rested after coming up with the cheese-filled soft pretzel, although he is willing to compromise regarding pizza-flavored Combos. ``Some things shouldn't be complicated,'' he said, without taking his eyes off a pond with a known or suspected fish, ``and shouldn't socks be ---'' and here he dashed off, chirping, into the water. Pressed for further comment he got all bitey.
The prophecies sound ridiculous to some people, such as the renowned scientist/philosopher/theologian Chipmunk Emanuel Swedenborg. While trying to fit several berries and a pebble that looks a lot like a tiny bird's egg in his cheeks Chipmunk Emanuel Swedenborg noted that most theories of the creation of the Earth put it at nearly seven billion years in the past.
Now we're in trouble again because that doesn't sound right at all. Chipmunk Emanuel Swedenborg explained, ``the last time I really studied this was about thirty years ago, when experts figured the planet was about four billion years old, and there were about four billion people in it.'' This didn't have much hope of resolving anything so you can guess the follow-up question.
``There's about seven billion people in the world now, so, the world must have got about three billion years older in the past three decades.'' We're pretty sure it doesn't work like that; in fact, we're pretty sure nothing works like that. But Chipmunk Emanuel Swedenborg was overdue for an appointment to hiss at some Oregonian mountain bluebirds.
Even if the world does begin in two weeks that doesn't mean we'll necessarily know it. Raccoon Bishop George Berkeley, whose tests came back negative for both rabies and naive realism, points out, ``if we don't get created too we're not going to enjoy any of its benefits'', which he hopes will include making it so when you address envelopes the recipient's name goes in the upper right corner and the stamp somewhere else, because he's tired of being the only one advancing this cause.
Science popularizer Beluga Whale Martin Gardner notes that predictions of the beginning of the world have been around for centuries, with a particularly intense belief that the year 1666 might see the start of creation, possibly in London. ``The Great Fire Of Walrus London naturally encouraged such foolishness, but by the end of the year nothing had happened, and they said you could go from one end of the British Isles to the Other End without finding anyone who admitted they believed it was coming.''
Those hoping to help the creation of the world, if it happens, are asked to write to the Beginning Foundation, In Care Of, which is a small town in south-central Vermont. Mention on the envelope that it's for the bluejays.
Trivia: A February 1891 issue of Electrical World reported there were 202 Edison central electric stations in use, compared to about a thousand Westinghouse and Thomson-Houston alternating-current central electric stations. Source: Empires Of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, And The Race To Electrify The World, Jill Jonnes.
Currently Reading: Empires Of Food: Feast, Famine, And The Rise And Fall Of Civilizations, Evan D G Fraser, Andrew Rimas.