Chain Reactions

Coming Next Week: The End of the Supply Chain As We Know It

And now for something completely different... musings on various end-of-the-world-including-the-supply-chain predictions.

One of the least noteworthy capabilities of the Internet and social media is the blisteringly fast speed that goofiness can travel by. For instance, while it's not getting much play here in the United States, over in Rome, Italy, the citizens are evacuating the area in droves over fears of an impending earthquake. On the one hand, given the devastation we've seen recently in Japan and Haiti due to catastrophic earthquakes, you could hardly blame the Italians for wanting to get as far as possible from another one. On the other hand, this particular Roman earthquake has been a long time in coming: It was predicted to occur on this date nearly a century ago by a seismologist who sounds like a great-great-grandnephew to Nostradamus.

For those of you who don't live in Rome, don't get too comfortably smug. Next week, if you hadn't already heard, is Judgment Day, specifically, May 21, 2011. I realize that was also the name of the best of the "Terminator" sequels, but the event I'm referring to was prophesied not just a century ago but a few millennia ago as the Day of Rapture. Apparently, all of the "just" will be taken up to Heaven on that day, and a massive earthquake is predicted to hit Los Angeles on the same day. Plenty of Biblical verses have been cited to "prove" this is indeed the Judgment Day foretold, but curiously, nobody ever cites this quote from Matthew 24:36, when Jesus himself says, "No one knows when that day or hour will come-not the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

Credit for identifying the exact date of Judgment Day goes to Harold Camping, not exactly a household name and certainly not who Jesus was referring to when he mentioned "the Father," but lest you doubt Camping's credentials, you should keep in mind that he's been at this "end of days" thing for quite some time. His resume includes an earlier prediction of Judgment Day, which originally was supposed to occur in 1994, but Camping somehow got the calibration wrong. Presumably, should nothing significant happen on May 21, 2011, we'll know that those pesky calibrations are still off.

Of course, even should the Rome and LA earthquakes not pan out, and the Rapture not occur next Saturday, we've still got December 21, 2012, to contend with, the end of the Mayan calendar and, so some say, the end of life as we know it. Some wags may say "2012" as in the Hollywood film was the end of actor John Cusack's career as we know it, but again, there are a lot of people (or at least, a lot of websites) preparing for the imminent demise of the human race, so from a strictly logistics standpoint, there's going to be a lot of stuff hitting the fan soon that somebody is going to have to deal with, in a very short amount of time.

Lest you think all these crackpot theories are the product of fevered imaginations and overzealous Twitter addicts, check out this recent post to the Kinaxis website, which ties all of this in to the supply chain: "Biggest Supply Chain Risk of the 21st Century." Now, having read all of the above end-of-days theories, what would imagine the biggest risk to your supply chain is? Well, since you probably won't be able to guess it, I'll just go ahead and tell you: the comet Elenin. All the earthquakes we'll be experiencing, assuming of course that they happen on schedule, can be attributed to this comet, which if it gets close enough to Earth... well, let's just say we'll all be in a world of supply chain hurt. The blogger himself is neither a scientist nor a prophet; in fact, he seems to be a between-gigs marketer, and given Kinaxis's enthusiasm for humor on its website, I suspected at first this might just be a good-natured goof. But before you laugh off Elenin and go back to your day job, check out this link. Frankly, I can't make heads or tails out of it, but it looks like this scientist has what he calls empirical proof that the comet is doing... well, something. If somebody can connect all the dots for me, I'd be grateful. I was going to say "eternally grateful," but it sounds like eternity is in short supply these days.

TAGS: Supply Chain
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