The End Of The World Is Nigh!

My "BBC Breaking News" app on my phone was flashing wildly this morning.  "EARTHQUAKE IN BLACKPOOL."  I checked the date - April 1st - but thought it would have been a pretty sick joke as an April Fool prank considering recent events in Japan.

I wandered downstairs to find my 11-year old hanging off the edge of his seat, wide-eyed and agog at the news:
"There's been an earthquake in Blackpool, Mum." 
"I know, love.  Don't worry.  It's not like Japan." 
[in the style of a theatrical form of Nostradamus] "But it MEANS that 2012 is coming TRUE!" 
"What the frig are you on about?  Of course 2012 is going to happen.  Just like 2011 did and 2010..." 
"The world is going to end in 2012, Mum. 
Do you think the Olympic committee know about that?  All that money they're spending... 
But it's got to be true.  Everyone at school says so.  And now there's an EARTHQUAKE...
It took me back to 1984 and the earthquake that struck north-west Wales.  The same rumour hit every school in the surrounding area and we all panicked about what we would do if we heard the 'four minute warning' (out of interest, does anyone know what the four minute warning would sound like?).  We were only 12-14 years old at the time and back in the Eighties sexual advancement was nowhere near as prevalent as it appears to be now.  Most of us had decided to grab our diary, any pets, our make-up bag and our Sony Walkman and run for the hills rather than shag our way out of the universe if the world was going to end.

I would love to know who starts these rumours off, or at least who continues them, especially for them to include the exact information as 25 years ago.  Maybe the internet rumours about Nibiru and Doomsday are in some way to blame?  But for every person who interprets ancient scriptures to mean something dramatic, there is another expert on hand to dispel those theories.  I cannot help but try and work out why we appear to be having so many more 'natural' disasters recently (tsunamis, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, extreme weather, etc) but the sensible part of me says that it is just coincidence.

Wouldn't you just love to have the time and money to research things like that?  I know I would.  Anyway, we had better not be on a four-minute warning at any time in the near future.  I've not finished my quest for World Domination yet.