Do YOU have enough salt for the end of the world? - 10 Things
Remember yesterday when we mentioned NASA's pre-emptive Mayan apocalypse "Why the World Didn't End" video, and how there are a lot of people who genuinely fear that the world is actually going to be destroyed on Friday, and you quietly chuckled over your coffee and said "Oh, you egghead scientists, why are you indulging such foolishness?" Well, there are food and supply shortages in Russia right now as people panic buy ahead of Friday (because apparently nothing wards off global annihilation like candles and salt), while in China authorities have arrested nearly 100 people for "spreading rumours that the end is nigh", according to the Guardian. In fact, suggestions have emerged that the man who attacked 22 schoolchildren in Chengping last week (a story which attracted much comment in comparison with the Sandy Hook shooting due to the fact that China's restrictions on gun ownership meant he did so with a knife, thereby killing nobody) had been "psychologically affected" by doomsday predictions, according to China's state newswire. Kooky beliefs can have terrifying real-life consequences, kids.
Speaking of Sandy Hook, there's some more depressing news for you: it turns out that the shooter had hundreds of rounds of ammunition left when he turned the gun on himself, so things could have been even worse; students at Sandy Hook Elementary are being moved to the closed down former site of the Chalk Hill Upper Elementary School in the nearby town of Monroe, since Sandy Hook is unlikely to ever open again; and it's been confirmed that all of the weapons used in the massacre were legally purchased and owned by Nancy Lanza, mother of the shooter and his first victim. But change is in the air: not only does is appear that President Obama is prepared to see his government make some hard decisions, even Fox News' NRA-approved right wing blowhard Joe Scarborough has declared enough is enough. When even the gun nuts start saying easy access to guns is a problem, something cultural is shifting.
The National Rifle Association, meanwhile - who traditionally are all about explaining how this tragedy could have been averted if everyone was carrying more guns something something freedom something Second Amendment - have uncharacteristically gone very, very quiet: they've shut down their Facebook page and there have been no Twitter posts since Friday. Could the sheer scope of this tragedy have forced them to rethink their position? Probably not, sure, but we can only hope (Charlton Heston must be turning in his grave). Then again, maybe they're just attempting to avoid being asked about how the gun lobby used their influence to kill and bury research on gun ownership, leading to an amendment in the funding conditions for the Centre of Disease Control spearheaded by Arkansas Republican representative Jay Dickey, a Republican from Arkansas, that reads "None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control," which remains in place today.
Internet troublemaker Anonymous, meanwhile, have announced plans to circulate information regarding the Westboro Baptist Church (the God Hates Fags nutjobs who announced plans to demonstrate outside Sandy Hook since this tragedy was, obviously, because of the gays), both in terms of the organisation itself and the individual members - and, interestingly, take them to task over violations of Biblical text. "Attrition is our weapon," explains the robot voice in the below video, "and we will waste no time, money, effort and enjoyment in tearing your resolve into pieces… We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us." And look, we freely admit that Anonymous are kind of a bunch of jerks - but if there's a war between internet trolls and hatemongering bigots, we'll back the trolls every time. Oh, and in other WBC news, a petition to have the church officially recognised as a hate group has already topped 50,000 signatures since being set up on Friday, twice as many signatures as required for the White House to officially take notice.
In other Deliberate And Mischievous Misrepresenting Of Religious Text news, a Texan court will have its time well spent this week discussing whether forcing a student to use a student ID that confirms their presence on campus is in conflict with the Book of Revelation, since that seems entirely reasonable. The family of sophomore Andrea Hernandez argue that the location-tracking chip in the ID is, in fact, the Mark of the Beast. And they make a strong argument, for as Revelation 13:16-18 reads: "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Oh, and school IDs: that's absolutely a Beast thing. Also, Sharon's a stuck-up bitch and totally stole my pen in third period." Hey, that book's got all the answers!
HBO are releasing a line of Game of Thrones beers in time for the March premiere of the third season. Yes: if you, like us, have felt that existing beers have been inadequate for your drinking games ("every time a character is drawn further into a complex web of betrayal and intrigue, or Daenerys wanders around nude - chug!"), you're in luck. There will be four beers, the first being Iron Throne Blonde Ale. As long as they release a House Stark low-carb pilsner (slogan: "Refreshment is Coming!") we'll be happy.
If you've been on tenterhooks waiting for the transformation of Dandenong to the business and cultural capital of Victoria and, by extension, the world, you may have a longer wait than you were expecting: developer Places Victoria, who've been working on the $1.3 billion project, have closed their Dandenong office and sacked eight of the nine staff overseeing the project, with the Baillieu government's Planning Minister Matthew Guy assuring The Age that it's because the project's totally finished and perfect, and not because his department is deliberately scuttling a large-scale public works effort put in place by the previous government, that's for damn sure. "Nothing has been shelved nor cut back," he told reporters, presumably before adding "because a fire sale on compulsarily acquired land is the mark of a job well done."
Proving once again that North Korea can do anything that the west can do, only better because it has the power of Kim Jung-un, it looks like they're about to have a bundle of joy in the current popular, famous-baby-heavy market. A photo of his wife Ri Sol-ju looking heavily pregnant at a memorial service for Kim Jong-il has been released, showing that stuck up Kate Middleton that she's not the only one who can gestate things.
Lovers of sweet axes, we have some bad news: legendary Sydney guitar shop Jackson's Rare Guitars has gone under amid claims that it's actually been trading while insolvent since 2010. And lovers of sweet axes who had said sweet axes on consignment at Jacksons, we have some even worse news: you probably have Buckleys chance of getting your sweet axe back, much less any money for it. If we were a proper news outlet, this would have a heading like "the day the music died" because nothing - NOTHING - is more pertinent than a reference to Don McLean's 'American Pie'.
And finally, proving the Mythbusters adage that science is always best when it's done with explosions, NASA has decided that the best course of action to take with their twin Grail Lunar Orbiters, which are about to run out of fuel having spent the last year mapping the Moon's gravity, is to… um, ram them into a mountain - or, in we-have-to-justify-this-to-funding-bodies-speak, "a controlled descent and impact". It's happening more or less right now, partially to avoid the possibility of a random crash somewhere the NASA doesn't want to destroy with a probesplosion, but principally to answer the important scientific question "what happens when you crash a probe into a Moon mountain, fuck yeah?"