- 70 AD: the fall and desecration of Jerusalem ended the world, according to the Preterists. Whoops.
- 500: Hippolytus of Rime worked out the Biblical ’6,000 year rule’ to apply to this year. For more fun with that same figure, keep reading.
- 989: Halley’s Comet always brings impending doom. Just ask Mark Twain.
- 1000: very little of an apocalyptic nature happened this year, aside from a bunch of Christians getting worked up about the rather flexible millennium date.
- 1874: the Jehovah’s Witnesses begin a long and lucrative career of predicting Armageddon, starting with this year. BTW: it didn’t happen.
- 1878: It didn’t happen this year, either.
- 1881: no, really…the JW’s were on a roll.
- 1910: again? Well, if you Witnesses say so.
- 1914: people are probably starting to wonder about Jehovah’s Witnesses.
- 1918: we like the four-year cycle, but could the Jehovah’s Witnesses maybe split it up into a summer apocalypse and a winter apocalypse?
- 1925: about this time, people may be forgiven for hoping that the world ends just to shut the Jehovah’s Witnesses up about it.
- 1975: they gave us a 50-year break (which included WWII, which was chock full of apocalyptic signs) but those scrappy Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t done yet.
- 1982: “The Christ is Now Here”, according to the Tara Center, who later state that He’s not ready to reveal himself after all.
- 1984: Orwell buffs and Jehovah’s Witnesses alike considered this to be a significant year. Unless Van Halen is the antichrist (not unproven), they were probably all wrong.
- 1994: Nostradamus tries posthumously to beat the Jehovah’s Witnesses record for most failed predictions. Luckily, he’s much more vague and obscure, so he’s never really wrong…
- 1997: No, really, the Christ is Now Here, according to Share International (a.k.a. the Tara Center). Interestingly enough, The Christ (a.k.a. Maitreya) tops the list of several groups who believe him to be the Antichrist instead. Either way is okay with us — we still get apocalypse!
- 1998: This is the year, says Nostradamus and others (and maybe not even him). For example, Eli Eshoh proved that the Rapture was going to happen, and by golly, it did (didn’t you notice?). We’re still not sure who were raptured, but those of us Left Behind should watch out for 2028. Two ends of the world for the price of one? Good deal!
- 2000: the change of the millennium makes a great date for the End Times. However, even the Y2K Bug turned out to be little more than a minor inconvenience.
- 2003: Ah, those wacky Zetas. They seemed so sure, and now Nancy and the rest of the earthworm-eaters simply claim that the Pole Shift of May 15th, 2003 was some sort of smokescreen or conspiracy, and the real day is still coming. But they won’t say when.
- 2008 2009 2010 2011: The Lord’s Witnesses (absolutely NOT Jehovah’s Witnesses, despite strikingly obvious similarities) are pretty sure that it’s all over one of these years. Well, as long as there’s still a World War I veteran alive, we’ve got nothing to worry about…so at least a year or two. Additionally, Harold Camping of Family Radio is pretty sure it’s all over in May. Or maybe October. Either way, he’s 100% sure.
- 2012: a very popular choice lately (and will probably remain so, up until the end of December). The basis for this date is Mayan calendars, Nostradamus, and sunspot predictions — and possibly a savvy marketing campaign by the Cults and Survival Gear coalition.
- 2014: Hey, this one comes from a Pope, so it must be true. In 1514 Leo IX gave us 500 years. You’d think that would be long enough to get our act together, but noooooooo…
- 2017: and then there’s the “Sword of God Brotherhood” (great name) who will be the only ones surviving this year, tasked with repopulating the planet. Hopefully there’s a Sisterhood as well. Or not…
- 2028: Eli Eshoe again. Anybody left after the great Rapture of 2008 (remember that?) and the ensuing tribulation (i.e., now) has until 2028 to prove themselves. Get to work.
- 2240: the Talmud says that the world as we know it will only last 6,000 years, starting with the creation of Adam (which apparently happened about 5770 years ago…sorry, Lucy). The Talmud is pretty discouraging about how much fun our final two centuries are going to be, but the world after Armageddon should be very nice.
- 2280: the Qur’an gives us 40 more years than the Talmud, according to Dr. Rashad Khalifa and a computer-assisted numerical analysis of the holy text.
- 3797: this one comes from Nostradamus, but so have quite a few other dates (past and future). Just in case this was the year that he really meant, clear your schedule.
Scientists have discovered two pounds of a dried plant that turned out to be the oldest marijuana in the world. Inside one of the Yanghai Tombs excavated in the Gobi Desert, a team of researchers found the cannabis packed into a wooden bowl resting inside a 2,700-year-old grave. It was placed near the head of a blue-eyed, 45-year-old shaman among other objects like bridles and a harp to be used in afterlife.
At first, the researchers thought the dried weed was coriander. Then they spent 10 months getting the cannabis from the tomb in China to a secret lab in England. Finally, the team put the stash through “microscopic botanical analysis” including carbon dating and genetic analysis, and discovered the stash was really pot.
The fact that the weed had a chemical known for psychoactive properties called tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase, or THC, led scientists to believe the man and his community probably used it for medicinal and recreational purposes. According to professor Ethan Russo of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Botany, someone had picked out all the parts of the plant that are less psychoactive before placing it in the grave, therefore the dead man probably didn’t grow his hemp merely to make clothes.
If marijuana aged like wine, pot users might now be in heaven. But the weed had decomposed over the years, so no one would feel any effects if they smoked the artifact today.
This week, I found time in my busy schedule to try heroin, and I have to say, it was an unusual experience, but it wasn’t all its cracked up to be. Neither, for that matter, was cocaine, which I also tried this week.
All right, I’m not actually talking about the illicit drugs themselves. I’m talking about I-Doser sound files, which bear the same names of various drugs and, according to i-doser.com, produce effects similar to their namesakes without health or legal issues.
I first became curious about I-Doser when my fellow columnist, Joe Dolan, told me about it. He said he listened to “crystal meth” for about two minutes, and it made him sweat and feel uncomfortable.
“Sign me up,” I thought, and went home to acquire some “doses” for myself.
Reading about I-Doser, I learned that the scientific name for the phenomenon that makes I-Doser work is “binaural beats.”
Apparently, by playing two slightly different, low frequency tones directly into each ear at the same time, brainwave activity can be altered to produce various sensations. This process is called brainwave “entrainment.”
Since the two tones being played are slightly different, headphones are required. Also, the Web site says it’s a lot more likely to work if you’re lying down, relaxed and concentrating on the tones.
The first one I tried out was called “anesthesia,” which was described as having a very strong sedative and numbing effect. Lying on the couch and listening to the hisses of static and incessant thrumming, I began to feel odd after about 15 minutes. I probably dozed off a couple of times, and at one point I was pretty convinced that my fingertips were numb.
While this may sound like pretty strong evidence that I-Doser works, I worried that I had been victim to the power of suggestion.
So, I talked my friend Dan into doing one without telling him what to expect. I selected one of the most ridiculous files I could find: “Masochist.” According to its description, this one combines an intense simulation of sexual arousal and orgasm with sensations of pain in the teeth and under the skin.
Thirty minutes after it had begun, the dose ended, and Dan called me in to report on his experience. He looked a little confused.
“Was it supposed to make me feel…aroused?” he asked me.
Apparently it worked fairly well. Dan said that about 10 minutes into it, he got an erection that, on a scale of one to 10, ranked at about a seven.
As far a pain goes, Dan said those sensations didn’t quite match the description, but he found himself clenching his jaws a lot and felt short of breath a few times, which was quite unpleasant.
I tried the heroin one and I almost fell asleep. I didn’t really feel like I was on heroin, I just felt tired and lazy, without the feeling of ecstasy that keeps junkies coming back for more.
Since I felt tired after listening to heroin, I decided to pick myself up by trying “Cocaine.”
I was mostly woken up by the headache I got about five minutes into the track. I did not experience the “mild- to high-degree euphoria” that the site said I might.
The next day I decided to try one called “Orgasm.” It was described a lot like the masochist one, but without the pain.
It didn’t work at all. I fell asleep. My dreams weren’t even sexy. I will admit, though, it was a pretty nice nap.
My verdict on I-Doser is that it’s pretty interesting, and to some degree, it works sometimes. However, the whole drug theme is pretty lame.
Instead of marketing a 30-minute sound file as “heroin” or “LSD” or some other drug that can hardly be simulated non-chemically, it should be marketed more honestly — as a 30-minute sound file that makes you feel kind of weird, or kind of horny or kind of like you want to take a nap.