This story is satirical and not meant to be taken as a factual news story.
If you have been debating over whether or not to buy R.E.M.'s "End of the World as We Know It" ringtone for your cellphone, you may want to purchase it sooner than later. Satellites and other space junk are falling from the sky at an alarming rate. This means that you may not be able to download anything, much less call for help, when one lands in your living room.
We're living in "Wall-E" World
As Discovery News points out, the Mayans, an advanced civilization, used what is known as a "Long Count" calendar to measure different cycles. The first cycle is set to end on December 21, 2012. Some theorists believe that cosmic and geological upheavals will occur on that date, spelling the end of mankind.
Scientists have questioned the accuracy of such claims, however. What can't be disputed, though, is the amount of stuff that's orbiting the Earth at this moment. NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office estimates that there are 11,000 large objects zooming around the planet as you read this. That doesn't even take into account the stuff that is classified as "small."
What is even more alarming is how much of that debris is currently returning home at high speed. On September 24, 2011, CNET reported how NASA's 6.3 ton Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite plunged to Earth and broke up in the atmosphere. Chunks of the defunct science project were presumed to have fallen over a 500-mile impact zone.
Russia, who used to spank America back in the Sputnik days, isn't doing much better. Reuters News reported that back in December, the Russians launched a communications satellite that came back to Earth soon after it went up.
Let's face it: we're living in the movie "Wall-E" and choking on our own orbital trash. We don't even have a cute, cuddly robot to help sweep up the junk.
No signal? Better duck and cover
By all accounts, the Mayans were a sharp bunch of folks. It is possible that they saw the end of the world coming thousands of years ago. They gave us that cool Long Count calendar, but they didn't bother to mention how we were going to shuffle off this mortal coil.
Based on the communication satellites falling out of the sky, it looks like our own garbage is going to do humanity in. That's a double-whammy because if falling debris interrupts your cell phone service, you can't even call for help or order one final pizza before the end.
The number of bars on a phone used to be an indicator of signal strength and service. Now it seems those same bars are tracking the end of the world. If you have a loss of signal, better duck and cover. You may have just enough time to play that R.E.M. ringtone before the end.