Will the Internet ever end? Banners around Seattle raise the question before the unique date, 12022021

Various forms of “ends of the Internet” banners have appeared around Seattle. This was along Bourke Gilman Road in Fremont. (GeekWire photos/Todd Bishop)

If the internet ends this week, this story, and any evidence that I bothered thinking about it, will go along with it. But for now, while the lights are still on… what are the signs around Seattle that say “Internet ends” on Thursday?

Using the internet, I’ve been walking around trying to find some answers.

First of all, Thursday is not just a Thursday. It’s 12022021, and that’s a corresponding date and there’s a bunch of them this year – 22 actually – that read the same front and back.

“The only two years in a century that have 22 symmetrical dates are those that end in 11 and 21,” Dr. Aziz Annan, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Portland, told Farmers’ Almanac. “In 2011 they were 22, and in the next century, they will be found in the years 2111 and 2121.”

There are nine corresponding five-digit dates that begin on Wednesday, and run from 12-1-21 to 12-9-21. Thursday is considered the longest, since it consists of eight numbers, when written with the number 12022021.

None of this explains that the Internet will end up with some 2000-style mania because of some interconnected numbers. But she has left herself in the consciousness of some in Seattle who are discovering strange signals and posting about her on Twitter and Reddit.

Someone wrote a letter to The Stranger’s editor in July (last tweet above) after spotting a sign on a freeway overpass in North Seattle.

On Reddit sub r/SeattleWA, a photo posted last month appeared from the corner of Mercer Street and Boren Avenue and appeared to show a gentleman attaching a sign to a traffic post. Here in the heart of the South Lake Union neighborhood, where Amazon has built a small business using the internet, the end of such an establishment might be something for the tech giant’s executives to watch closely.

“I’m sure it’s a paid service for viral marketing. No bored teen has the money to buy signage supplies,” said one Redditor.

Make it expire? Screenshot from 12022021endofinternet.com

A website with a URL that somewhat matches the tags features a map of the technical basis of the Internet. There is a countdown timer. Stick around and wait for that thing to expire and turn into something else at risk for internet-watching eyeballs.

The funny thing about all this – a marketing campaign? Geeky tech bro? Real real agony? – Is the reaction to the photos on Twitter and elsewhere a kind of teamwork “Bring it!”

When it comes to a world without the internet (and not just a place in West Virginia with poor service) people seem… ready? Check out these Twitter responses:

“This is a place I want to visit.”

“It can’t come fast enough.”

“Oh thank God.”

“finally.”

As we’ve all lost our ability to turn away from the devices that bring us this dreaded internet, we’re left to encourage a mysterious higher power to make the decision for us.

See you Thursday?

Thursday December 2nd update: Well, the internet is still here. Hopefully the tags around Seattle won’t be for much longer than that. A website with an internet end URL that may or may not be linked to bookmarks has done what we found, turned into a plug for something. In this case it is a book, which has been described as an “incendiary anti-cyberpunk novel” with a title that we will not print here. But hey, it’s on Amazon, where the internet is alive and well.