Rand’s observation that the impending end of the decade, um, isn’t actually, any more than 1999 was the end of the last decade/century/millennium, dovetails in a way with an experience I had last week.
While visiting family in Michigan for Thanksgiving, I arranged to speak to my nephews’ middle school on space exploration, space settlement, and math and science. (Yes, a little shilling for Orion was involved, but mainly as an excuse to entertain the kids with cool space-y animations.) At least three times, in Q&A, the subject of the world ending in 2012 was raised.
Naturally, I explained it as a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar and associated legends, and as a repeat of the Y2K end-of-the-world hysteria from ten years ago. Nonetheless, it was a little disappointing to have it come up at all…I blame Hollywood.
On the other hand, it would have been entertaining to see their reactions to an explanation of the Singularity, which I remember once upon a time being forecast for the same year…