Noun. - A potentially world-ending event strongly hyped by the media during a short period of time, then forgotten by the public after the world, evidently, does not end. Soon enough it will be followed by a new catastrophe in-the-making. These events often resonate with the public due to widespread popular feelings, such as Nature getting back at Man, scientists going too far, a sign of the End Times, or simply terrorists.
The most successful example in recent times is Maya fever
, which has snowballed into an international cultural phenomenon and lasted for several years.
Hey, wasn't the BP oil spill going to destroy the world because of the methane bubble ready to explode under the Gulf of Mexico? Oh, nevermind.
The current Apocalypse of the month is the new large hadron collider at CERN, which some believe may create a black hole. Of course, this is patently ridiculous.