Mike and I would like to apologize for bringing about the end of the world.
According to human calendars, the world ended July 4 at 10:24 a.m. PST. But, thanks to some improbable and timely intervention, the world hasn't ended and won't do so any time in the immediate future. (Or will it?)
The beginning of the end started when, in the spirit of scientific discovery, Mike and I undertook a simple experiment designed to discover exactly how long we could go without blogging before the world came to an end.
Now, this was a bold experiment on a number of fronts. First, we knew that if the world were to come to an end, we would die along with everyone else, and even we are not without tremors of fear in the face of that unknown country. Second, we knew that with the world ended there would be no one to publish the results of our study in any peer-reviewed scientific journal, meaning that we would never get due acknowledgement for our insights. Third, the death of all humankind also meant that, even if correct, our conclusions would never achieve the status of scientific theory inasmuch as claims must be both testable and repeatable to become theory; the death of every human being would of course make repetition of our results impossible. (This is particularly true since our own deaths would make the re-commencement of blogging impossible in the first place, making repetition doubly impossible.)
Nonetheless, it was a burning question that we couldn't shy away from and in good conscience continue to call ourselves either scientists or bloggers. And so, immediately after my post of 10:24 a.m. PST on June 22, we stopped blogging.
It turns out that the world can endure without our blogging for precisely twelve days. On July 4, 2006 at 10:24 a.m. PST, the world came to an end. I don't have a lot of details, but trust me when I say that you don't want to know any of them.
Now, some of you may be thinking that it's still only July 2. Some of you may be asking how we know that the world came to an end two days from now. It's a fair point.
It turns out that many thousands of Earth years in the future, a race of aliens from a planet or galaxy whose nature Mike and I could never quite fathom (and whose name we can't pronounce much less render alphabetically), stumbled upon the slowly decaying remains of human civilization, including a few satellites still improbably clinging to low earth orbit.
Intrigued (or angry? again, I'm unsure), they traced the cause of destruction back to earth. For inscrutable motives, the aliens actually traveled back in time to about eight hours ago, where they "sat" down and explained to Mike and I what had happened. Although their grasp of English was poor and our grasp of their (telepathic?) language was even worse, they eventually communicated to us the melancholy fate that befell the human race two days hence. Having convinced us of the accuracy of their knowledge, they returned to their own time.
Mike and I have spent the last seven hours debating how to balance our sacred responsibilities as both scientists and unpaid pundits against our ethical obligations to the survival of humanity. In the end, both better informed and somewhat chastened at the having indirectly killed more than 6 billion people, we have decided to resume blogging. This will, of course, ensure that nobody in the scientific community will ever take the results of our experiment seriously, but then they wouldn't and couldn't have even had we pressed the experiment to its conclusion. Still, we are confident beyond doubt that the answer is twelve days.
Anyhow, we're back in business and, again, we apologize for wiping out the human race. Won't happen again. (At all.)
Two important postscripts:
1) This is for everyone: if you watch Independence Day in the next couple of days, remember that not all aliens are out to kill us on the Fourth.
2) This is for Eugene Thomas, 27, of Macon, Georgia: In terms of what will strike you as an excellent idea tomorrow night after you drink thirteen PBRs at the family barbecue, no. Just don't. The fireworks aren't meant for that, and those parts don't grow back.