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6 Times the World Was Supposed to End in the Past Decade

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According members of the eBible Fellowship, a Pennsylvania-based online religious sect, the world will end on October 7, 2015 (that's today, for those who don't have a calendar handy). This prediction is tied in part to last month's super blood moon, which, they say, started a chain of events that would culminate in the apocalypse.

The Guardian reports that Chris McCann, the eBible Fellowship's leader, insists that the world will be "annihilated" today, though he's leaving some wiggle room. "There’s a strong likelihood that this will happen,” he said, “which means there’s an unlikely possibility that it will not.” This is prudent given the resounding 100 percent failure rate of past doomsday predictors. Here are six examples of supposed ends of the world, all of which were forecasted to occur sometime over last 10 years.

1. SEPTEMBER 12, 2006

Yisrayl Hawkins, leader of the Texas-based religious sect The House of Yahweh, told his followers to prepare for the end of the world on September 12, 2006. Nuclear war would wipe out the majority of humanity, he said, but the members of his church would survive. This info was all explained in his newsletter (archived titles include “If You Don't Believe Me Now, You Will Believe Me Soon!…” and “Amazing Prophecies Showing The Exact Date When Nuclear War Will Start And Where").

Did the world end?: No. Hawkins amended his math to push the date further into the future, and, as recently as this month, he released a newsletter assuring for this generation nuclear wars and “the worst trouble ever.” [PDF]

2. APRIL 29, 2007

Pat Robertson pictured not explicitly predicting the end of days, but endorsing Rudy Giuliani for president.

In his conspiracy-laden 1990 book The New Millennium, university CEO/TV mogul/Southern Baptist minister Pat Robertson insisted that the world would come to an end on April 29, 2007. His reasoning was that this date marked 40 years after the Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, fulfilling a biblical prophesy.

Did the world end?: No, making Robertson 0-2 in his apocalyptic predictions; in 1980 he guaranteed that the world would end by the end of 1982 (it didn’t, in case you were curious).

3. MAY 21, 2011 AND OCTOBER 21, 2011

Camping's believers in early May, 2011.

Using biblical mathematics of his own invention, evangelical radio host Harold Camping calculated that the rapture would occur on May 21, 2011, and the apocalypse world would follow five months later in October. The following, from a profile in SF Gate, explains his reasoning:

The number 5…equals "atonement." Ten is "completeness." Seventeen means "heaven."

Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011.

"Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.," he began. "Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that's 1,978 years."

Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days - the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.

Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.

Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500.

Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.

Camping heavily publicized this prophesy via his radio program, insisting that earthquakes and other natural disasters would wreak havoc, leaving the world ravaged as true believers ascended to heaven. After getting the word out, all he had to do was wait.

Did the World End?: No. Camping locked himself in his California home during the predicted date. After it came and went, he emerged, bewildered, to talk to gathered members of the press. "It has been a really tough weekend," he said. He would have to recalculate and get back to them.

4. JUNE 30, 2012

Jose De Jesus Miranda giving a speech.

Jose De Jesus Miranda, leader of a Miami-based religious sect, said he was visited by and became Jesus Christ in 1973. (He later insisted he was also the Apostle Paul and both Jesus and the Anti-Christ, all at once.) Miranda had a multi-national following, and in 2012 he told these believers that the end of the world would happen that June.

He erected billboards in Toronto, advertising this prediction along with the “number of wisdom,” 666, which some of his followers tattooed on their bodies. Like Camping, he preached a math that pointed to the reckoning: “The Earth's rotation has accelerated to a speed of 66,666 mph," "Jose Luis De Jesus (Latitude 66.6°) curiously turns 66 [in 2012],” etc.

Miranda claimed that a reversal of the Earth’s poles would cause the “tectonic plates to heat up,” which would lead to natural disasters. In addition, all the world’s economies would fail. He told his followers that at the time of this apocalyptic “transformation,” they would be able to “fly and walk through walls.”

Did the world end?: No.

5. DECEMBER 21, 2012

Sparked by vague references in ancient texts and the conclusion of the 5,126-year-long Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, December 21, 2012 became a popular date to highlight as the end of the world.

Readings of ancient Mayan texts originally made in the 1950s and ‘60s by astrologers and anthropologists hinted at predictions of a significant event or “Armageddon” in 2012. As that date neared, cultural interest in the mysterious prophesies grew, helped largely by the Internet. Other upcoming events were interpreted as "signs" working in chorus with the Mayan prediction—these included the sun reaching its solar maximum and the distant star Betelgeuse appearing primed to go supernova.

Various cults around the world tied their end of days prophesies to this date, making it a very popular RSVP.

Did the World End?: No, and the movie about it didn’t even warrant a sequel.

6. FALL OF 2015

The most recent "super blood moon."

Between October 8, 2014 and September 27, 2015, there were four consecutive total lunar eclipses. In astronomy, this is called a “tetrad,” and it is a somewhat normal occurrence—there have been five since 1949. Some people, however, claimed otherwise, and insisted the eclipses portended the second coming.

Because these red “blood moons” would occur during Jewish holidays, a few outspoken religious authors tied them to their interpretations of Bible passages (“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible [or “notable,” as recorded in the New Testament] day of the Lord”).

Three books published before the tetrad garnered some attention: Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs by Mark Biltz, who thought the eclipses signaled the end of times; Blood Moons Rising: Bible Prophecy, Israel, and the Four Blood Moons by Mark Hitchcock; and Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change by San Antonio megachurch pastor John Hagee. Hagee’s book used some of Blitz’s reasoning to predict the eponymous “change,” and it climbed to number 4 on the New York Times best-seller list (category: advice/how to).

Did the World End?: No, but the eclipses sure were pretty.

All photos via Getty Images.

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8 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 3
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[Warning: There are lots of Stranger Things season two spoilers ahead.]

Stranger Things season two is in the books, and like we all hoped, it turned out to be a worthy follow-up to an addictive debut season. Now, though, we’re left with plenty of questions, mysteries, and theories to chew on as the wait for a third season begins. But for everything we don’t know about what the next year of Stranger Things will bring us (such as an actual release date), there are more than enough things we do know to keep those fan theories coming well into 2018. While the show hasn't been officially greenlit for a third season by Netflix yet, new details have already begun to trickle out. Here’s everything we know about Stranger Things season three so far.

1. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER TIME JUMP.

The third season of Stranger Things won’t pick up right where the second one left off. Like the show experienced between the first two seasons, there will be a time jump between seasons two and three as well. The reason is simple: the child actors are all growing up, and instead of having the kids look noticeably older without explanation for year three, the Duffer Brothers told The Hollywood Reporter:

“Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They're going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can't start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. But what I like is that it makes you evolve the show. It forces the show to evolve and change, because the kids are changing.”

2. THE IDEA IS TO BE SMALLER IN SCALE.

If the series’s second season was about expanding the Stranger Things mythology, the third season won't go bigger just for the sake of it, with the brothers even going so far as to say that it will be a more intimate story.

“It’s not necessarily going to be bigger in scale,” Matt Duffer said in an interview with IndieWire. “What I am really excited about is giving these characters an interesting journey to go on.”

Ross Duffer did stress, though, that as of early November, season three is basically “… Matt and me working with some writers and figuring out where it’s going to go.”

3. THE MIND FLAYER WILL BE BACK.

The second season ended on a bit of a foreboding note when it was revealed that the Mind Flayer was still in the Upside Down and was seen looming over the Hawkins school as the winter dance was going on. Though we know there will be a time jump at the start of next season, it’s clear that the monster will still have a big presence on the show.

Executive producer Dan Cohen told TV Guide: "There were other ways we could have ended beyond that, but I think that was a very strong, lyrical ending, and it really lets us decide to focus where we ultimately are going to want to go as we dive into Season 3."

What does the Mind Flayer’s presence mean for the new crop of episodes? Well, there will be plenty of fan theories to ponder between now and the season three premiere (whenever that may be).

4. PLENTY OF LEFTOVER SEASON TWO STORYLINES WILL BE IN SEASON THREE.

The Duffer Brothers had a lot of material for the latest season of the show—probably a bit too much. Talking to Vulture, Matt Duffer detailed a few details and plot points that had to be pushed to season three:

"Billy was supposed to have a bigger role. We ended up having so many characters it ended up, in a way, more teed up for season three than anything. There was a whole teen supernatural story line that just got booted because it was just too cluttered, you know? A lot of that’s just getting kicked into season three."

The good news is that he also told the site that this wealth of cut material could make the writing process for the third season much quicker.

5. THERE WILL BE MORE ERICA.

Stranger Things already had a roster of fan-favorite characters heading into season two, but newcomer Erica, Lucas’s little sister, may have overshadowed them all. Played by 11-year-old Priah Ferguson, Erica is equal parts expressive, snarky, and charismatic. And the Duffer Brothers couldn’t agree more, saying that there will be much more Erica next season.

“There will definitely be more Erica in Season 3,” Ross Duffer told Yahoo!. “That is the fun thing about the show—you discover stuff as you’re filming. We were able to integrate more of her in, but not as much you want because the story [was] already going. ‘We got to use more Erica’—that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room.”

“I thought she’s very GIF-able, if that’s a word,” Matt Duffer added. “She was great.”

6. EXPECT KALI TO RETURN.

The season two episode “The Lost Sister” was a bit of an outlier for the series. It’s a standalone episode that focuses solely on the character Eleven, leaving the central plot and main cast of Hawkins behind. As well-received as Stranger Things season two was, this episode was a near-unanimous miss among fans and critics.

The episode did, however, introduce us to the character of Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), who has the ability to manipulate people’s minds with illusions she creates. Despite the reaction, the Duffers felt the episode was vital to Eleven’s development, and that Kali won’t be forgotten moving forward.

“It feels weird to me that we wouldn’t solve [Kali’s] storyline. I would say chances are very high she comes back,” Matt Duffer said at the Vulture Festival.

7. OTHER "NUMBERS" MIGHT SHOW UP.

We're already well acquainted with Eleven, and season two introduced us to Eight (a.k.a. Kali), and executive producer Shawn Levy heavily hinted to E! that there are probably more Hawkins Laboratory experiments on the horizon.

"I think we've clearly implied there are other numbers, and I can't imagine that the world will only ever know Eleven and Eight," Levy said.

8. THERE MIGHT NOT BE MANY SEASONS LEFT.

Don’t be in too much of a rush to find out everything about the next season of Stranger Things; there might not be many more left. The Duffer Brothers have said in the past that the plan is to do four seasons and end it. However, Levy gave fans a glimmer of hope that things may go on a little while longer—just by a bit, though.

“Hearts were heard breaking in Netflix headquarters when the Brothers made four seasons sound like an official end, and I was suddenly getting phone calls from our actors’ agents,” Levy told Entertainment Weekly. “The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.”

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20 Random Facts About Shopping
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Shopping on Black Friday—or, really, any time during the holiday season—is a good news/bad news kind of endeavor. The good news? The deals are killer! The bad news? So are the lines. If you find yourself standing behind 200 other people who braved the crowds and sacrificed sleep in order to hit the stores early today, here's one way to pass the time: check out these fascinating facts about shopping through the ages.

1. The oldest customer service complaint was written on a clay cuneiform tablet in Mesopotamia 4000 years ago. (In it, a customer named Nanni complains that he was sold inferior copper ingots.)

2. Before battles, some Roman gladiators read product endorsements. The makers of the film Gladiator planned to show this, but they nixed the idea out of fear that audiences wouldn’t believe it.

3. Like casinos, shopping malls are intentionally designed to make people lose track of time, removing clocks and windows to prevent views of the outside world. This kind of “scripted disorientation” has a name: It’s called the Gruen Transfer.

4. According to a study in Social Influence, people who shopped at or stood near luxury stores were less likely to help people in need.

5. A shopper who first purchases something on his or her shopping list is more likely to buy unrelated items later as a kind of reward.

6. On the Pacific island of Vanuatu, some villages still use pigs and seashells as currency. In fact, the indigenous bank there uses a unit of currency called the Livatu. Its value is equivalent to a boar’s tusk. 

7. Sears used to sell build-your-own homes in its mail order catalogs.

8. The first shopping catalog appeared way back in the 1400s, when an Italian publisher named Aldus Manutius compiled a handprinted catalog of the books that he produced for sale and passed it out at town fairs.

9. The first product ever sold by mail order? Welsh flannel.

10. The first shopping cart was a folding chair with a basket on the seat and wheels on the legs.

11. In the late 1800s in Corinne, Utah, you could buy legal divorce papers from a vending machine for $2.50.

12. Some of the oldest known writing in the world includes a 5000-year-old receipt inscribed on a clay tablet. (It was for clothing that was sent by boat from Ancient Mesopotamia to Dilmun, or current day Bahrain.)

13. Beginning in 112 CE, Emperor Trajan began construction on the largest of Rome's imperial forums, which housed a variety of shops and services and two libraries. Today, Trajan’s Market is regarded as the oldest shopping mall in the world.

14. The Chinese invented paper money. For a time, there was a warning written right on the currency that all counterfeiters would be decapitated.

15. Halle Berry was named after Cleveland, Ohio's Halle Building, which was home to the Halle Brothers department store.

16. At Boston University, students can sign up for a class on the history of shopping. (Technically, it’s called “The Modern American Consumer”)

17. Barbra Streisand had a mini-mall installed in her basement. “Instead of just storing my things in the basement, I can make a street of shops and display them,” she told Harper's Bazaar. (There are photos of it here.)

18. Shopping online is not necessarily greener. A 2016 study at the University of Delaware concluded that “home shopping has a greater impact on the transportation sector than the public might suspect.”

19. Don’t want to waste too much money shopping? Go to the mall in high heels. A 2013 Brigham Young University study discovered that shoppers in high heels made more balanced buying decisions while balancing in pumps.

20. Cyber Monday is not the biggest day for online shopping. The title belongs to November 11, or Singles Day, a holiday in China that encourages singles to send themselves gifts. According to Fortune, this year's event smashed all previous records with more than $38 million in sales.

A heaping handful of these facts came from John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, and James Harkin's delightful book, 1,234 Quite Interesting Facts to Leave You Speechless.

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