Forget 12/21. The end of the world as we know it may begin today at 7:12 pm Eastern Standard Time.
That's when December 12, 2012, 12:12:12 arrives in American Samoa on the International Date Line.
Those with a less than altruistic streak are hoping the world's computer systems will implode in the great cascading failure Y2K was supposed to have been.
Enhancing the absurdity of the situation is the knowledge the potential disruption will be due not to obscure defects in the design of mind-numbingly complex hardware and software. Blame for the collapse can instead be squarely pinned to the banal bleatings of billions of blithering idiots.
They will be simultaneously e-mailing, posting, tweeting and blogging in a frenetic attempt to have their pointless communications endowed with that rarest of time stamps, 12/12/12 12:12:12. The load to computer and communications systems could be overwhelming.
While the chaos could proceed in an orderly, domino-like fashion as the earth spins through each time zone, it's more likely the most notable disturbance in the Force will be felt tomorrow morning at 7:12:12 am Eastern Standard Time.
That corresponds to 12/12/12 12:12:12 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). All systems containing intrinsic timekeeping functions are synchronized to UTC and display local time as an offset from the UTC base time. Nerds know this, and to make certain their messages are precisely timestamped, they'll post using the non-offset UTC, the planet's "official" time.
To paraphrase Padmé Amidala:
So this is how civilization dies... with your crazy Aunt Betty posting a cat picture to her Timeline.
(Thanks to Dave Dustin, whose musings on Twitter reminded me of the 12/12 business)