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This is a bit macabre, but the ratings for ABC's annual "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" are at their highest in years when the world is predicted to end.  The New York Times' Brian Stelter reports that the ratings for "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" special were their highest since their 2000 New Year's special. Nearly 23 million people watched the the last hour of the annual bash from Times Square this year. It was also the party's 40th anniversary, as Stelter points out. While the special was celebrating a big birthday -- the big 4-0! -- the connection between this year's high ratings and the ratings from 2000 isn't hard to spot: the world is, or was, predicted to end in both years. People were hysterical in 2000 over the Y2K bug, when everyone was afraid that everything electric would shut down, and viewers tuned in to see what kind of catastrophe might happen if it came true. Somewhere in the fear that every computer in the world would crash, the end of the world got tied in too. And this year's turnover, New Year's Eve 2012, will be our last if the Mayan's are right. The Mayan calendar resets on December 21, 2012, and it's been predicted the world will end when that happens. The world didn't end in 2000 (evidently) and it likely won't end this year either, but that isn't stopping some from making a pile of money off apocalypse-branded merchandise. And even then, at least we got a really bad John Cusack movie out of it. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story implied that Nicholas Cage was in a bad movie, and while often true, he didn't star in the one we were referring to. Our apologies. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.