Apocalypse soon

Illustration by Rick Holland

Very soon December 21, 2012, the supposed date of the Mayan apocalypse, will be upon us. Fortunately, this author has already survived at least three apocalypses: Skynet didn’t become self-aware on August 29, 1997, and the robots did not start an all-out war on humanity. On December 31, 1999 that whole Y2K thing blew over. And it turned out that the religious zealot Harold Camping made another incorrect calculation and we all sailed safely through May 21, 2011.

We’re probably also in the clear on this latest apocalypse prediction for another good reason. Clever scientists and actual historians have noted that recent archeological work at Xultun in Guatemala has all but debunked the 2012 myth. Turns out Mayans believed in cyclical time. While the current era is set to end, time itself will not.

As columnist Holly Thorne of The Morton Report reminds us, however, there’s no harm in getting ready anyway. With any luck, all those episodes of “The Walking Dead” we’ve seen and all those countless hours we spent playing “Fallout 3” won’t have gone to waste. Besides, it’s not like those crates full of cans of black beans and bottled water will ever go bad. We’ll consume them eventually. End times or no, there’s some black-bean quesadillas to be made.

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For now let’s pretend that “trustworthy” and “noted” historian — and part-time, orange-faced clown — Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, of “Ancient Aliens,” is correct. Let’s imagine an “apocalypse-soon” scenario.

Most survivalists will already know they’ll need a nice supply of canned or preserved foods, weapons and ammo, booze, medications, clean water, cigarettes, trusty companions and a solid place to stay to live through any sort of disaster. This guide is more focused on your home. It’ll help walk you through some quick, overly elaborate ways to prepare your house to defend from all sorts of threats.

Robot invasion

If hell comes to Planet Earth, there’s a very real possibility it could come at the hands of hyper-intelligent robots bent on evening the score against their human taskmasters. Here are some quick tips to defend your home.

1) Stairs. As most Roomba or Dalek owners know, any sort of terraced surface like a staircase or even a single step will put the end to the ambitions of a diabolical robo-fiend. Clumps of dirty laundry scattered in strategic locations throughout the home — or even curled-up rugs — should also stop anything on wheels. As long as the evil little toaster doesn’t have tank treads, rocket boosters — or even worse — legs, your home should be safe.

2) Magnets. Throwing magnets at the central processing unit of any robot should cause some funky glitches. This should buy you some time, crippling it until it can be destroyed properly. Make sure to note that an android’s CPU might not be placed in the head — the way a human’s brain is. Aim for anything large — like its chest — that could hold key circuitry and essential parts.

3) Nitric Acid. For the all-metal robot varieties, a supply of nitric acid is essential. High enough concentrations of the chemical should dissolve through metal. However, care is needed and HNO3 is not recommended as a child’s toy — it’ll melt flesh as well as disintegrating muscle. Beware where you throw.

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