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2000 Approaches It is not hard to see parallels between Glabers account of the events preceding the year 1000 and our own times For example the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1996 was taken as a sign of impending apocalypse by groups such as Heavens Gate whose leader taught that the comet concealed a spaceship that would carry the groups followers to a higher realm In March 1997 39 members of the cult committed suicide in the belief that this would allow them to meet up with the spaceship Some people believe that the rise of religious cults such as Heavens Gate is itself an indication that the end of the world is near In recent years many people have interpreted the Y2K computer problem as evidence that modern civilization is on the verge of breakdown or collapse This belief has arisen because of warnings by computer scientists that the inability of some software to adjust to the date change in the year 2000 could cause breakdowns in utilities transportation government medical care and other essential services Meanwhile organizations such as the Red Cross have advised people to stock up on critical goods such as food water and medicine The combination of these warnings has contributed to concerns about the year 2000 Yet another factor is the prominence of millennial and apocalyptic themes in motion pictures television shows and popular songs Examples include the song 1999 by the artist formerly known as Prince the hit film Armageddon 1998 and the recently canceled television show Millennium Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of the approach of the millennium are incidents of violence associated with millennial and apocalyptic thinking In 1993 a team of US Department of Defense intelligence analysts and terrorism experts produced a secret report predicting that extremist violence would increase in the years before and after the year 2000 There have been several such cases in the 1990s For example
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