Apocalypse Fail

by Steven F. Hayward

With the regularly scheduled end of the world coming tomorrow, CNBC offers up a good slide show of other failed predictions, among them the Y2K bug, the 2010 breakup of the United States, and the failures of the Beatles and the Internet to catch on. The list is rather odd for its omissions, and for what it gets wrong.

It omits all of the great enviro-scares like the population bomb, and it misuses a comment from Churchill, who said in 1939 that he was unimpressed with the prospect for nuclear weapons. In 1925, he wrote, rather more presciently than anyone else at the time: “Might not a bomb no bigger than an orange be found to possess a secret power to destroy a whole block of buildings — nay to concentrate the force of a thousand tons of cordite and blast a township at a stroke?” Seems to me that could be counted on the ledger of accurate predictions.

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