Artist's conception of God particles
It has been a bad few years for we Apocalypsophiles and the news just keeps getting worse. First, the Rapture failed to happen back in 2011. Then the Mayans, given their chance to end the world, choked like they were the New York Mets, leaving us with no pending Doomsday at all. We only have the Computer Game theory of existence to pin our hopes on. This theory, proposed by a group of German thinkers, holds that all of existence is merely a computer game being played by advanced aliens, and they could exit the program at any time, or if they were playing the game on an advanced alien version of Windows, their computer could crash at the most annoying possible moment for them and produce a final moment for us.

This is hardly the sort of moon dripping blood into seas awash with poison Final Day that humanity has been looking forward to eagerly for millennia. Fortunately, scientists have now given us an alternative.

The good news is that these are real scientists, with their own Hadron colliders and PhD's in particle physics, not some addled old preacher in California adding up the ages of the prophets, or some smirking, practical joking primitive carving a big rock in the jungle or a couple of German grad students watching The Matrix while completely baked on hashish. The better news is that end of everything definitely involves God, or at least God particles. Having scoped out the nature of these Supreme Being bits, these physicists have announced that, over time, they will bring an end to the universe.

The bad news? It's sixteen billion years from now.

This is a long-winded decline, to say the least. I can already hear you saying "Isn't sixteen billion years a long time to wait for eternity?"

I feel your pain. "Wait a minute," you say. "Don't those exact same scientists say that in just 4.5 billion years, the Sun is going to swell up like Kirstie Alley on a cruller binge and engulf the Earth in its flames? Wouldn't that be a nice Apocalypse?"

Yes, it would be. And it could still end that way. But a lot could happen in 4.5 billion years. By then, the President of the United States will probably be a very, very smart phone. And we might have invented flying saucers ourselves. We'll be the ET's, streaking through alien skies, kidnapping and probing the cavemen of other worlds. It'll be fun.

But it also means when the earth goes kablooey, we'll be watching it from the orbit of Neptune, sipping anti-gravity flutes of champagne. And life will go on. For another twelve billion years.

So if you feel yourself being yanked heavenward by your underwear, relax. It's not the Rapture. It's that idiot neighbor of yours, sneaking up behind you and giving you a wedgie because he spotted you crouched over in your garden. While he's hanging around, make him give you back your leaf-blower. There's going to be another autumn. Put some money in your IRA.

And buy season tickets to anything you like.

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