The definition of unprecedented is ‘things that have never been done or known before.’Unprecedented is the single most used word to describe all of the events that occurred throughout 2020. As the ball dropped, the world sighed in relief and set its sights on 2021, and the internet resumed its tally of the top 20s of 2020. I’m not so sure 2021 won’t unleash events that will require another word: annihilation.
What if 2020 is the starter pistol in an absurd race to alter the world as we know it? What if mother nature, celestial forces, and the human quest to be masters of the universe are destined to collide, throwing the world into carnage and chaos? What if my Chunky Monkey ice cream doesn’t hold out? These are all questions I am compelled to explore and examine for entertainment or enlightenment - your call.
#1 Ingredients For A Zombie Apocalypse: Yes, These Are Real
Have you ever thought that your cat is trying to kill you? And then shake the thought out of your head with a chuckle? I wouldn’t laugh quite yet; odds are, you are already infected. Meet Toxoplasmosis (T gondii). T gondii is a parasite that exerts control over its host (mostly mice) and considerably diminishes the fear of predators-or anything else really. It hijacks your brain. Cats are the primary carrier; however, scientists have found a new strain that doesn’t discriminate between animals or people.
“We realized it wasn’t just about having lost fear against the cat,” Soldati-Favre says. “Really, these mice are very open-minded, and they go everywhere.”
The fascinating thing about T gondii is that the parasite is zoonotic-can travel from the cat to any warm-blooded animal- or human. It is estimated that one-third of the population (approximately 500 million) people are infected worldwide. Naturally, countries with a higher population of cats have a more significant number of infections. I’m looking at you, France. T gondii can hide in cysts of tissue and remain dormant, safe from any immune response.
T gondii can alter human behavior and has been linked by research to schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. In others, it makes you physically ill with flu-like symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, you are exposed by devouring undercooked contaminated meat, infected cat feces, or mother-to-child during pregnancy.
Scientists have called for more study on the parasite’s ability to accelerate neurodegenerative diseases and human behaviors. Horror flicks have been made out of this stuff. Check out ‘The Happening.’ Nature infects humans and making them uninterested in their well-being, immediately ending their lives. T gondii isn’t the only thing out there controlling brains. It gets weirder.
The Jewel Wasp
The Jewel Wasp is a next-level zombie puppeteer. Remember the old saying that if there were a nuclear war, cockroaches would survive? Well, the Jewel Wasp taps into that belief. Female Jewel Wasps invest the minds of cockroaches and control them with a venom cocktail. She not only controls their minds, but the venom serves as nature’s refrigerator to keep the ‘meat’ preserved for her young.
First, she injects her venom into the cockroach with her stinger. The venom is applied directly to the brain, taking away that pesky sense of fear. Without fear, the cockroach is an obedient victim. The cockroach is compelled to start grooming itself for its funeral as a dopamine-like substance (feel-good juice) in the venom floods the brain while the wasp leaves to seek out a good tomb.
After she finds the ideal stage for her children and, um, their zombie caregiver, she returns to the now fully receptive to the biddings of its master. The wasp, tired from her flying, pop the cork on the wine-break an antenna off and drink the blood-to get her second wind. She then leads the cockroach to the tomb that she found using the antennae as reins to lead him.
Finally, she affixes her egg to the cockroach’s leg and seals off the tomb with her offspring and the zombie cockroach inside. Her baby’s first meal is preserved as the venom slows down the cockroach’s metabolism and boosting hydration to keep it alive until the younguns hatch and eat him.
How does this relate to human zombies, you may ask? The neurotoxic venom the wasp carries targets GABA-gated chloride channels. GABA is one of the essential neurotransmitters in insect - and human - brains.
Fun fact, people have paid more than $500 for a dose of venom to live the cockroach’s experience in zombi-ism. Humans have a blood-brain barrier that wasps can’t penetrate on their own yet. Other things can like T gondii and a brain-eating amoeba found in water called Naegleria fowleri.
What’s more disturbing is there are over 130 species of wasps defined as parasitoids, even one named after the dementors in Harry Potter, Ampulex Dementor-delightful. Cockroaches are not singled out as the only host. Wasps can insert their zombie control over spiders, caterpillars, and ants.
One type of wasp can turn their host into bodyguards that fight other predators to protect the host’s offspring, even if the offspring has already started to snack on them. Another controls spiders who build a cocoon to protect the young before it is eaten.
Nostrodamus Predicts Zombie Apocalypse in 2021
Prediction of a zombie apocalypse, or any horrific event, wouldn’t be complete without bringing in Nostrodamus. Nostradamus was a French astrologer, physician, and somewhat of a prophesier. He wrote a book of 942 prophesies, called quatrains, that have predicted world events rather accurately. Although it is said that you can match his cryptic foretellings up to anything once prophecy ‘happens’-the parallels of these near 500-year-old predictions to actual events are eerily similar. According to Nostradamus, the plague is the first event to signify the arrival of a series of atrocities and devastation. His words:
"Few young people: half−dead to give a start. Dead through spite, he will cause the others to shine, And in an exalted place some great evils to occur: Sad concepts will come to harm each one, Temporal dignified, the Mass to succeed. Fathers and mothers dead of infinite sorrows, Women in mourning, the pestilent she−monster: The Great One to be no more, all the world to end."
There is a lot there to decipher. Some have translated the she-monster that plagues the earth like a virus (talking to you COVID) or a biological weapon that will bring on the apocalypse. Isn’t it interesting that Scientists have conducted research duplicating the effects of T gondii and the zombie wasps? Even letting people pay to be injected and live the experience?
The Great One to be no more, all the world end? Hmmm, the United States? Amazon? Humans? Don’t fret too much just yet. In Nostradamus talk, an end to a thing usually means the beginning of another. In Astrology, 2021 is signified as the kick-off year to a 20-year change a little over time, not one big bang, bringing positive changes to all zodiac signs. End of the world? It all depends on who you ask.
#2 The Sky Is Falling - Literally
2020 was a big year for asteroids. Several zipped by the earth, some being very close. What’s close? Asteroids that come closer to us than the moon are considered noticeable and somewhat disturbing.
An asteroid called 2020 LD happened to do a flyby of the earth at a distance 80% of the moon’s distance without us detecting it. Scientists were a bit shaken when they saw it leaving the atmosphere 2 days later, with the added uneasiness factor of being the largest asteroid to come into our space since 2011.
That’s nothing. 2021 says ‘Hold My Beer’ as it prepares to show us how it can rock our world. We have already experienced our first meteor shower, which lit up the sky on New Years’ weekend. If you missed it, don’t worry, there will be 9 more, save the date.
Asteroids, meteors, and comets are a frequent occurrence, but the sky is enormous - not everything can be caught like the meteor that crashed into the earth last year in Europe. But they did find something.
An Asteroid that is so large that it has its own moon has been identified and monitored as a target that passes close to the earth. Its name is Didymos. Most telescopes should be able to see it soon, and we will all officially meet Didymos in October of 2022.
NASA has over 2,000 potentially hazardous asteroids in their catalog, which is why they have scheduled the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission for July 2021. NASA is going to slam a spacecraft into Didymos. They can’t exactly see it on the radar, but they can track its moon (Dimorphos), which is big enough to level a large city.
Courtesy of Nasa website
DART is a global defense effort to deflect the course of Didymos as well as gain information about the asteroid and its moon so we, as a world, are prepared to act on potential threats in extinction-level asteroid collisions. The timing couldn’t be more ideal (or coincidental), as this technology may come in useful for 2022 if we survive in 2021.
JF1 Collision Course
In 2009, an asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza was found speeding towards Earth with a .026% chance (Palermo scale) of colliding with us on May 6, 2022. In the minuscule chance that JF1 (the asteroid) hits earth, the impact would be 15 times stronger than the atomic bomb of Hiroshima and initiate a nuclear winter.
If it doesn’t collide with the earth, it is passing close enough to be noticed, and an asteroid this size would carry with it a good deal of gravity. Small asteroids can feel effects from Earth’s gravity when they pass. Our gravity can cause asteroids to have avalanches, rock falls, and other effects. So, is it unreasonable to say that a massive asteroid could, in turn, have an impact on the Earth’s gravity similar to the moon’s push and pull of the tides?
Nostradamus Again To Save The Day
Nostradamus predicted natural disasters, an earthquake that swallows California (we have been waiting on that one for a while), asteroid collision, and solar storms for 2021:
"In the sky, one sees fire and a long trail of sparks." (meteor showers and solar storms)
"The sloping park, great calamity, Through the Lands of the West and Lombardy The fire in the ship, plague, and captivity; Mercury in Sagittarius, Saturn fading." (audios Cali)
California that means November 25th is your due date. You may want to visit family elsewhere for Thanksgiving. As you can see, the predictions are a bit cryptic. The best offense is a good defense, right? Team NASA. Our French optimist, Nostra-boy, discusses famine, the death of a great leader, and World War 3. It’s going to be a busy year.
Are We Doomed?
Not likely. I’m not a doomsday type of person despite my dark sense of humor. If you take everything people say seriously or spend your time worrying about things beyond your control, you miss the magnificence of what is. It’s fun to spin conspiracy theories and watch the ‘pieces all fall together,’ but in reality, those pieces fall however you decide to line them up. Take a breath; it’s likely not the end of the world just yet.