Will the Internet come to an end? Signs around Seattle beg the question for the unique date, 12022021 – GeekWire

A variation of the “internet ends” signs popping up around Seattle. This one was along the Burke-Gilman Trail in Fremont. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

If the internet shuts down this week, this story and any evidence I bothered to think about this will be with it. But for now, while the lights are still on…what’s with the signs around Seattle saying the “Internet ends” on Thursday?

I snooped around on the internet to find some answers.

First of all, Thursday is not just any Thursday. It’s 12022021, which is a palindrome date and there are some this year – 22 in fact – that read the same both forward and backward.

“The only two years in a century that contain 22 palindromic dates are the dates ending in 11 and 21,” said Dr. Aziz Inan, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Portland, told the Boer Almanac† “The year 2011 had 22 and in the next century they will be found in 2111 and 2121.”

There are nine consecutive five-digit palindrome dates starting on Wednesday, from 1/21/21 to 9/12/21. Thursday is considered the longest, with eight digits, when typed as 12022021.

None of this explains that the internet is going to end up in a Y2K-esque freakout over a bunch of songs strung together. But it has brought itself to the consciousness of some in Seattle who are noticing strange signs and posting about them on Twitter and Reddit.

Someone wrote a letter to the editor of The Stranger in July (that last tweet above) after seeing a sign on a freeway overpass in North Seattle.

On the Reddit sub r/SeattleWA, a photo posted last month from the corner of Mercer Street and Boren Avenue, a gentleman appears to be attaching one of the signs to a bollard. Here in the heart of the South Lake Union neighborhood, where Amazon has built a small business using the Internet, the end of such a venture could be something for executives at the tech giant to watch closely.

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

Put an end to it? A screen grab from 12022021endofinternet.com

A website with a URL that matches the characters contains a map of the technical basis of the Internet. And there is a countdown clock. Stick around and wait for that thing to expire and turn into something else at the risk of your own internet-gazing eyeballs.

The funny thing about whatever this is: a marketing campaign? Geeky tech bro stunt? Real downfall? – is that the reaction on Twitter and elsewhere to the images is sort of a collective “bring it on!”

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

“That’s a place I want to visit.”

“It can’t possibly go fast enough.”

“Oh thank goodness.”

“And last but not least.”

As we have all lost sight of our own power to part with the devices that bring us this dreaded internet, we must cheer for a mysterious higher power to make the decision for us.

See you Thursday?

Update, Thursday 2 December: Well, the internet is still here. Hopefully the signs around Seattle won’t be long. The website with an end-of-the-internet URL that may or may not be related to the characters, did what we thought it could, turning into a plug-in for something. In this case, it’s a book billed as “a blistering anti-cyberpunk novel” with a title we won’t print here. But hey, it’s on Amazonwhere the internet is alive and kicking.

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