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[Practical Techie] Doomsday: UFO reports bring usual doom omen

As it happens, endings are always beginnings.

I say this amid the highly anticipated intelligence report by the Pentagon on UFO sightings or strange encounters by the US military.

This report is scheduled to be released by June 25. But, according to senior administration officials briefed on the report’s findings, the inexplicable may remain the usual: US military commanders concerned about Russian and China developing new weapons technology. The rest of the world, though, is more imaginative.

Because of this, the web is already brimming with doomsday predictions and worries about a takeover of Earth by extraterrestrials.

It’s déjà vu all over again with the proverbial end-of-the-world fascination. As always, those dire premonitions never come to pass, even when the usual prophets of doom insist on it. Let us focus on some of the failed apocalyptic predictions. 

CALENDARS — Remember the end of the world omens about Dec. 21, 2012. That legend of impending catastrophe brought with it all kinds of science fiction overtones, truly creative. The invisible dwarf planet Nubira was going to crush us. Killer explosions from solar storms. Asteroids smashing Earth. Or a major planetary disaster at the end of the cycle of time in the Mayan calendar.

Of course, Dec. 21, 2012, went by as another typical Earth Day, just another year coming to an end, a forthcoming chance for humanity to start over.

DOOMSAYERS — Ironically, when Christopher Columbus died in 1506, he was convinced the end was near. All his life he had been a quiet believer at the end of days. Some historians even say Columbus secretly searched for a new sea route to Jerusalem for Christians to save their souls at endtime.

What about this one? In 1780, the people of New England suffered a fog combined with smoke from a forest fire. The ensuing darkness lasted some 48 hours. Many thought it meant the world was ending. Of course, the artificial nightfall lifted, and it was business as usual, with no day of final judgment on the horizon.

Sometimes, even smart people jump on the fatalistic foreboding wagon. In 1974, a book written by two scientists, titled “The Jupiter Effect,” predicted the death of Earth in March of 1982 because of planetary alignment. Well, we are still here and kicking.

And take famous linguist Charles Berlitz, Yale magna cum laude who pioneered learning foreign languages on tape. He predicted the end of the world for 1999 with his book “Countdown to Apocalypse” due to famine, overpopulation, and climate change. He got our world problems right but blundered on the date for our downfall.

PULSATIONS — Planetary finality is never instantaneous, but gradual and only to give way to change. It is more sensible to prepare, to improve the world rather than to muddle on its doom. Why elucidate on apocalyptic endings for a planet that has been steadily evolving for four billion years?

Each new year is but a tiny pulse in cosmic time. And, if our galactic family has been visiting us unannounced, well, so far, they have been harmless. That is unless military commanders at the Pentagon decide to shoot them down and hostilities ensue toward annihilation. Me, I see any extraterrestrial visitation as the first step toward a brighter, cosmic-minded future. In short, and in a sense, the last day of the world will last an eternity because each finality is but a new beginning.

Author Details
Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.

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