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[Special Feature] Where to Survive the Mayan Apocalypse

December 21st marks the end of a 5,125 year long cycle in the Mayan’s Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar. For them, and many others, this date represents the end of the world. Like all apocalyptic theories, the Mayan end of days is hotly contested. But, since nothing is certain until it actually starts to rain fire or frogs, it never hurts to be prepared.

In the event that you do need to prepare for doomsday, we’ve sorted out the 4 most likely apocalyptic scenarios and which states are your best options if they occur.

If in fact we are being watched, December 21st may be the date of first official contact. If we’ve learned anything from Independence Day or Mars Attacks, it’s to avoid metropolitan cities and important buildings. Firepower helps, so we’ve surveyed military bases, gun stores, and military recruits in each state. In H.G. Wells’ War of Worlds (that awful movie with Tom Cruise was actually a book), the alien invaders are susceptible to microbial infections. We factored in the occurrence of infectious disease in each US state for good measure. Our picks for avoiding encounters of the third kind are Alaska and Wyoming.

Alaska is well stocked with 9 military bases and 762 gun stores. “The Last Frontier” also has the highest occurrence of infectious disease coupled with a low population density, which makes it prime to be overlooked by alien invaders. Alaska’s relatively low number of reported UFO sightings, compared to over 1300 sightings on average, helped it score well for safety.

Wyoming, a land of towering peaks and raging rivers, is decidedly devoid of historic locations (just 24!) or major cities, giving aliens little reason to start their invasion there. If movies teach us anything, New York or LA are much more tempting targets. Furthermore, Wyoming boasts the second highest number of military recruits per 1,000 people, the makings of a formidable front against alien invaders.

From Zombieland to The Walking Dead and World War Z, zombies are as ubiquitous as Kardashians. If you take anything away from this popularized version of the apocalypse, it should be some additional survival tactics. Running the numbers, it turns out you should head to California, Florida, or Texas to stay safe from the living dead.

We calculated a Zombie Safety Score for each of the 50 states. The score included the following essentials: plenty of supplies, a spread out population and great geographic advantages. California’s incredibly varied and challenging geography is key, increasing the likelihood of zombies getting lost in the Mojave Desert or tumbling off a mountain in Sequoia National Park. Florida is well-stocked in zombie killing supplies, with 2,062 gun stores, 247 Walmarts, and 213 hospitals. In Texas, where owning a gun is more of a birthright than a hobby, you’ll have ample access to ammunition with 4,996 gun stores and 16 military bases.

It’s no surprise that you should avoid the west coast, as it is littered with volcanoes. When calculating the Supervolcano Safety Score, we included these factors: number of volcanoes, earthquakes (5.0 or greater on the Richter scale), distance from city center to nearest volcano, distance of volcano from nearest earthquake, and a tally of earthquakes that occurred in the last 30 days. The results? Make your way to Maine, Rhode Island or Massachusetts.

Volcanoes tend to form near fault lines, recent and historic earthquakes were considered as a proxy for these hidden dangers. All three eastern states have zero volcanoes and have had the lowest number of earthquakes, respectively. Additionally, their city centers are also the farthest from both volcanoes and historic earthquake epicenters.

The Plague:
Would you believe that there are about 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of the plague each year? As the Mayan apocalypse approaches, a worldwide outbreak of the plague (or any super virus, really) seems as plausible as an alien invasion. With that said, where should you be in the event of an outbreak? Your best bet would be either Wisconsin, Vermont or Texas.

If history is to repeat itself, you’ll need to be covered, medically speaking. We calculated the number of hospitals, staffed beds and primary care physicians per capita. We also analyzed immunization coverage, public health budgets, and the number of occurrences of infectious disease over the last year.

With the second most hospitals and a low 4.8 per 100,000 people occurrence of infectious disease, Wisconsin is your best bet. The state also has an above average physician to person ratio and a 91.4% immunization coverage rate. At a close second, Vermont has a high $153.54 health spending per person and 91.2% immunization coverage to match. Texas is home to the most hospitals in the US at 371 total and consequently the most staffed beds at over 55,000.

If traveling to safety is not in the cards for you, follow the lead of concerned citizens and start your stockpile of survival supplies. The mysterious Mesoamerican civilization with a really complicated calendar could have been right after all…



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