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12 Gifts For The End Of The World

Dec 20, 2012 (06:12 AM EST)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=240144247


The world ends all the time, but only for specific individuals. Nonetheless, supposed seers, prophets, experts and fearmongers continue to predict the end is nigh.

Their record of success is dismal. Wikipedia documents some 150 failed predictions about end of the world. Perhaps being wrong is its own reward.

But to borrow words from the standard financial industry disclaimer, past results do not predict future performance. Sooner or later, someone will get it right -- the sun will go out, an asteroid will collide with Earth or it will turn out that Steve Jobs was speaking literally when he threatened to wage thermonuclear war to destroy Android -- it may be more than mere coincidence that Apple's new headquarters looks like an alien spacecraft designed for orbital bombardment.

Though the world will not end this month, not everyone is convinced they'll be around long enough to file 2012 tax returns. The winter solstice this year, Friday, December 21, coincides with the end of a 5125-year cycle described by the Mayan Long Count calendar. This, to a few fringe believers, translates into a coming cataclysm, or at least a merchandising opportunity. (Others thought it would happen on 12-12-12.)

NASA says it has received "thousands of letters concerned about the end of the world." Though mainstream scientists scoff at the idea, they nonetheless feel compelled to offer a rebuttal. "The world will not end on December 21, 2012, or any day in 2012," NASA recently declared on its website. That's helpful but NASA could have extended its declaration of continued existence a bit beyond this all-but spent year.

At the same time, there's reason to be prepared. Not for global annihilation, because preparation would be pointless, but for some lesser catastrophe, like zombies -- no less an authority than the Centers for Disease Control recognizes the zombie threat.

So it is that we've assembled a list of twelve gifts that will probably be more useful than a partridge in a pear tree when Armageddon comes to call. Happy holidays to you too.

The first is a 2013 Mayan Calendar. Note what that implies: 2012 will not be the last year for which a calendar is required. The idea of a paper calendar may seem unbelievably quaint in today's digital age, but paper has its advantages. This calendar will work when the power is out and can be used to fuel a fire should the need arise.




Save your end-of-the-world memories using this Polaroid Z2300W 10-Megapixel Instant Print Digital Camera. Digital images are fine for a world with electric power, but hard copies are better. Make sure to keep a lot of film on-hand: Reordering from an e-commerce website won't be an option after the collapse of civilization.

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When the lights go out you'll want a good flashlight, particularly one that doubles as a weapon. The Wicked Lasers Torch comes with a 100-watt halogen bulb that throws off 4100 lumens, enough to light paper on fire. Zombies gurgling "Brains!" will cry "Eyes!" when you take a shine to them.

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Consider a few Zombie Blast Energy Shots. They're thematically appropriate and, most importantly, full of caffeine. It can be hard to stay awake while on zombie vigil, even with the clawing at your door.

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When among those convinced that the world is coming to an end, rational argument may not be effective. But don't let this deter you from making a statement. A T-shirt proclaiming, "Stand Back, I'm Going To Try Science" is the next best thing to "I told you so."

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The Essentials Blackout Survival Kit can do more than sustain you amid the rubble. It may just prove useful on road trips. It includes a First Aid Kit, a hand-powered flashlight, mylar emergency blankets and assorted other helpful tools.

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You can find other hand-cranked charging devices, but only Sony's CP-A2LAKS is unpronounceable. In any event, you'll want one of these to keep your phone powered, to keep on top of tweets tagged #armageddon.

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The Swiss are known for their chocolates. You won't be getting any of that after society crumbles. But the Swiss also make fine water filters. The Katadyn Pocket works "even under extreme circumstances," circumstances that sounds like it fits the sort of end-of-the-Earth scenarios everyone has been talking about.

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Whether you're fleeing zombies or merciless gangs in the badlands around Thunderdome, you don't want to get lost. That's where the Garmin Fenix comes in. It's an altimeter; it's a barometer; it's a compass. It's a hands-free GPS device because you need your hands to defend yourself.

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Fleeing zombies takes a lot of energy. Why not track your movement and sleep data to better understand the cardio benefits of frantic flight and aerobic axe work? That's what the Jawbone Up was made for. It wraps comfortably around your wrist and collects data about your activities for display on your smartphone. It can also track your food consumption, if you have enough food in your post-disaster existence to warrant such consideration.

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Umbrellas can ward off scorching desert heat or torrential rains, but most aren't as useful closed. The Unbreakable Umbrella is an exception. It's really strong. It makes an awesome weapon to keep the zombies at bay. You'll be glad you have one when the sky starts falling.

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Having survived the end of the world in one piece, you'll probably want to rebuild. After you get the power grid back online, you'll want a 3-D printer to jump start prototyping and manufacturing. Try the MakerBot Replicator 2. Just make sure you have enough polylactic acid (PLA) filament on hand to form the goods you envision.

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