The End Is Near

The Mayan calendar runs out in 2012. That may be nothing more than the stonecutters’ equivalent of the Y2K Crisis. However, audiences have found in it a fresh reason for paying attention to science fictional scenarios of world-ending doom.  

The trend has led Andrew Fitzgerald to ask: If the world is ending, how will we find out? (Assuming this takes more than a couple of minutes, of course.) Now Fitzgerald is enjoying a mini-career as a commentator on apocalyptic journalism, recently guesting on NPR’s On the Media.

Worth reading is his blog post “Reporting the End of the World”, summarizing a discussion among journalists at the recent Newsfoo conference. What if aliens attack, as in Independence Day? How will journalists get information and distribute stories when broadcast technologies are shut down? These and similar practical concerns make for a very interesting thought experiment.

How are you going to post to your Alien Attack Liveblog and Alien Species Topic Page when there is no internet?? Other telecommunications? Thinking about 9-11 in particular, we realized that even if the aliens waited to zap our mobile networks, humans themselves would render them ineffective in a flurry of phone calls to Mother.

[Via James Hay.]