How terminal is 2012?

Posted: 7th December 2011 by Max Plissken in Uncategorized

As the world approaches 2012, we are being presented with a flurry of apocalypse theories. A sizeable and popular proportion of these theories are based around doomsday convictions which hold 21st December 2012 as a reliable date for the End of Days. Most of the postulated apocalypse scenarios for 2012 involve natural disasters, and claim verification by either science or history. While we at Apocalypse U believe the 2012 scenarios have been sufficiently debunked by professional science, we would nonetheless be remiss in our duties and biased in our coverage if we did not allow you to make up your own minds.

The main cataclysms predicted in 2012 are one or a combination of: a coronal mass ejection (CME) and/or solar flares; a geomagnetic reversal; the near-passing or collision with planet X; the eruption of a super volcano; the star Betelgeuse going supernova; the Earth’s tectonic plates “coming loose” and floating freely over the liquid-iron outer core; and the “Galactic Alignment” in late 2012, which adherents say will either cut the Earth off from good radiation or bathe it in harmful radiation. Most of these are supposed to be related to the Galactic Alignment event in some way or another.

As always: make up your own mind. But we are confident that our students will not have to postpone any graduation parties on 22nd December next year.

Post-apocalyptic penthouses?

Posted: 27th November 2011 by Max Plissken in Uncategorized

The Vivos company, run by Robert Vicino, is in the process of constructing a series of massive underground shelters which can allegedly withstand the effects of multiple apocalyptic scenarios for up to a year.

 The shelters are designed to be deep underground and completely sealed from outside incursion/infection. They will stock sufficient supplies for one year of post-apocalyptic isolation, as well as using extensive recycling systems. Two Vivos shelters are claimed to be almost functional, with another ten being planned. Prices for a doorpass through the fortified entrances range from US$50,000 to $10,000. The shelters vary in capacity from a few hundred to a thousand.

While Apocalypse University is wary of justifications like Nostradamus or the Third Secret of Fatima, the shelters themselves are, to quote a phrase, just what the doctor ordered. Long-term survivability in a secure environment is the very essence of surviving the apocalypse. Not all of us can afford the fee, of course, and not all of us live in the USA. So the Vivos shelters are a good start, but only for the envisaged 6,000 people they can accommodate. Other companies are making similar enterprises, having noticed a skyrocketing demand for such insurance in recent years.

It slices, it dices – it protects you from the horde!

Posted: 27th November 2011 by Max Plissken in Zombie Outbreak

This year saw the design and publication of the “Vagabond Mobile Safe House Device” (v.MSHD). Unlike many conceptual zombie shelters, which are based on a massive scale, the Vagabond is designed to be easily portable by one person and able to be erected in 3 minutes.

The Vagabond is a passive defense structure, intended to keep a few people safe from zombie assault until the danger has either moved on or been neutralised. Its structure is designed to remain sturdy and grounded during rampages by the living impaired, and it contains systems for independent power generation and air recycling. Its exterior surface is highly reflective, allowing for added camouflage.

While the Vagabond is an extremely innovative design, we believe some independent testing is required to confirm its abilities, prior to mass production. The concrete bolts which anchor the shelter to the ground are only as strong as the ground on which the shelter is planted. In other words, the shelter might be uprooted if placed on unfirm ground. And even if it is anchored to solid concrete, a zombie horde is capable of exerting tremendous kinetic force. The shelter’s camouflage design raises the question of which senses zombies use to find food, and how effective such camouflage would be.

Alien tech used to make natural disasters

Posted: 26th November 2011 by Max Plissken in Alien Invasion

Well… we… I… you’re not going to believe this.

We all know the risk posed by invading aliens. And we all understand the threat of natural catastrophes such as earthquakes and tsunamis, yes? These are hazards which we live with. But what if the two dangers were both part of an insidious plot to keep down the human population by using alien technologies to stimulate such natural disasters? That is the claim made by Laura Eisenhower – the great granddaughter of none other than former US President Dwight Eisenhower – earlier this week at a UFO conference in Johannesburg. Eisenhower asserted that the efforts were part of a secret government/alien treaty, renewed at 10-year intervals, using bio-weapons and focused electromagnetic beams to produce the desired results, with the ultimate goal being the founding of lunar and  Martian colonies.

Hmm. We’ll say this much: the concept of alien technology being used to accelerate any of the other apocalypse scenarios is certainly intimidating. However we can’t say we think Miss Eisenhower is “onto something” just yet.

Superbugs evolving from resistant to impervious

Posted: 26th November 2011 by Max Plissken in Superbug Pandemic

Vast overuse of antibiotic medication is rapidly leading to the appearance of superbugs which render human treatments not just less efficient, but completely ineffective.


According to the World Health Organisation, the growing impotence of antibiotics is one of the top 3 health problems currently facing planet Earth (zombie infestation is not listed but may have been excised from the list in order to prevent a panic). Multiple highly resistant superbugs have appeared recently in Europe, and the crisis is coinciding with a massive decline in new antibiotic research by pharmaceutical companies, owing to the low profits involved.

It would seem that our only defense against the superbug apocalypse is being rapidly dismantled. While a virus would not have been affected by antibiotics in the first place, such medicine might at least have slowed the progress of a bacterial infection, if that were to be the source of our microbial massacre. But no. Our medicinal canon is being reduced to a popgun.

Chilean volcano shows the power of skyfire

Posted: 7th June 2011 by Max Plissken in Nuclear Winter

In an awe-inspiring display of nature’s tectonic power, the Puyehue volcano in southern Chile violently erupted last Sunday.


While thousands of locals have been evacuated from the area, the eruption does not look like causing substantial casualties at the moment. It does, however, provide a small-scale simulation of the Nuclear Winter scenario. The Puyehue volcano has expelled a column of ash and gas more than 10 km into the sky. This volcanic material has been blown across much of South America and reached Argentina and the Atlantic Ocean. The ash-filled sky has simulated a solar eclipse in parts of Chile, and covered the ground in thick layers of fallout. Locals fear for the safety of their crops and livestock.

<a report on the Puyehue eruption and its origins>

These perilous events are a tiny microcosm of what would occur during a Nuclear Winter. The ash cloud would be created by the massive explosive power of a fission detonation, and unlike the Puyehue volcano, the particulate matter would be highly radioactive, and would surge higher into the atmosphere. The higher the matter is propelled, the further afield it is blown by winds. The more material enters the upper atmosphere, the longer it takes to disperse, and the more sunlight is blocked. The villages near Puyehue which are covered in several feet of ash, would in a Nuclear holocaust be rendered uninhabitable by the radioactive fallout.

With modern emergency services, humans probably have little to fear from most volcanoes. Unless, of course, their awesome displays are a subtle hint of a dark future to come.

England follows German lead and gets sick

Posted: 6th June 2011 by Max Plissken in Superbug Pandemic

Yet another highly resistant superbug has been identified, this time in the United Kingdom. Although not as lethal or infectious as the enterohaemorrhagic E. coli bacteria currently threatening much of Europe, this new strain of MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) can still cause severe symptoms and even death, and poses a particular threat to injured or elderly patients, making hospitals a favourite target.

This is the second superbug to be identified in a matter of weeks. Additionally, late last year, the gene NDM-1 was identified in the New Delhi water supply. The gene itself is not a superbug, but transforms other bacteria into highly resistant strains, making it potentially even more dangerous than the bugs. Fortunately for the public, this latest superbug is not transmitted by raw vegetables like EHEC. It is passed on through contact with cattle, including cows’ milk. However, the pasteurization process kills all MRSA bacteria, rendering it safe for consumption.

<read a synopsis of MRSA and its behaviour>

All the same, this sudden proliferation of superbugs – one in Asia, one in Europe and one in UK – is enough to make the more cautious among us eat only out of cans for the next decade or so.

Earth paints a bleak picture of itself

Posted: 6th June 2011 by Max Plissken in Cultural Breakdown

Identifying news in the Cultural Breakdown scenario is difficult, owing to the more subjective nature of potential news. State collapse, for instance, could be seen as simply “out with the old, in with the new”. But we don’t have to wait until sand fills the deserted streets of the cities to identify a culture in danger as opposed to a culture in evolution.

Peak Oil is a pending crisis which is seen as completely undeniable to some, but blatantly fictional to others. Few can rationally deny that the world faces a genuine problem from the growing demand for energy and fuel production. The degree of that problem is potentially stabilised or vastly magnified by whichever forecast of planetary resources proves most accurate.

Overpopulation is another current crisis which is impossible to deny. Billions of humans are already poor and starving. Inflating populations and stretching demand for resources even further will inevitably lead to a higher proportion of humanity competing more and more desperately for the necessities of life.

Multiple simultaneous instances of independent state collapse are nothing new, but in an examination of a Cultural Breakdown, it makes sense to take stock of the current world political climate. The remaining superpower and military powerhouse is economically collapsing; the two emerging superpowers are home to hundreds of millions of poor and starving; states of the Middle East are in the depths of a violent democratic revolution; a huge proportion of Africa is fraught with conflict – wars, oppressive regimes, uprisings or civil wars (Egypt, the Maghreb, Ethiopia, Somalia, Libya, Nigeria, Darfur, Niger, Central African Republic, Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Chad have all suffered such conflicts recently, most of which continue); fundametalist-inspired terrorism inflicts murder, fear and excuses for oppression; 9 separate states possess nuclear weapons, intended to “deter” their enemies; egalitarianism and adherence to the Geneva Conventions seem no more than a pipe dream in most of the world.

Attempting an objective summary of the above: there are increasingly more of us, there is increasingly less to go around, and we just can’t seem to get along.

When Rome fell in the 5th century, plunging Europe into half a millenium of cultural vacuum, the Earth’s population was between 200 million and 300 million people. Today that figure is nearly 7 billion. That’s 7,000,000,000 humans. Could that many people survive for centuries until a new Renaissance? Or are we in a spot of bother?

Slumdog Bacterianaire

Posted: 31st May 2011 by admin in Superbug Pandemic

Just when we thought the identification of superbug NDM-1 in the New Delhi water supply was bad, there’s a vicious outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) in Germany, with suspected cases cropping up all over Europe.

<information on both the human toll and political fallout>

Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Britain, the Netherlands, Austria, France and Switzerland have all reported cases of this rare strain, with Sweden so far having the only confirmed death outside Germany. Regional authorities report more than 1,200 infected so far, and at least 14 dead. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has described the outbreak as “one of the largest worldwide and the largest ever reported in Germany.” The source of the outbreak has been traced to contaminated cucumbers, imported from Spain.

In typical human fashion, there is currently as much concern about the economic impact and laying blame for the initial contamination as there is for helping the infected victims. European authorities have offered the following advice regarding the bacteria: avoid eating raw cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce; wash fruit and vegetables before eating them; peeling or cooking can also reduce the risk of infection.

New Delhi Superbug

Posted: 29th May 2011 by admin in Superbug Pandemic

While it doesn’t seem to be wiping out any populations yet, a gene known as NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase) has been identified in the New Delhi water supply and classified as a superbug.

<information on the nature of the bug and of New Delhi’s response>

<elaboration on the study which identified NDM-1>

The gene’s danger lies in its capacity to make many other bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics, making them the actual superbugs. Indian health officials have disputed NDM-1’s origin in India, but not the fact that it exists in the New Delhi water supply. The British study which identified the gene also cautioned people against seeking surgery in India, much to the displeasure of the same Indian health officials. The study’s authors also expressed a concern that  NDM-1 had the capability to spread throughout the world.