The Apocalypse was the series of events in the wake of the Worlds Fair that culminated with the destruction of virtually every city and settlement worldwide, the collapse of political and legal systems, and the ultimate downfall of human civilization. This was a largely negative development for the human race, but rather serendipitous for the now-flourishing crow population.
An enormous increase in scientific research and experimentation, particularly among laypeople and hobbyists, followed closely on the heels of the World's Fair. Concurrently, public interest in the occult and paranormal saw extraordinary growth. In the eighteen months after the Fair, the manufacture of iron and brass, the publication of manuals of scientific, alchemical and occult instruction, the membership in research societies, and the number of patients admitted to hospitals with acid burns all increased tenfold or more. This movement came to be known as the Second Enlightenment.
While the movement was celebrated by many for its great contributions to medicine, industry and robotics, it attracted its share of critics; Reginald F. Wharfworth, then Chancellor-Secretary of the Upper Lower House of the Commonwealth, publicly decried "the unseemly intermingling of the Educated and the Ignorant, the Natural and the Preternatural, the classical and cherished pillars of Mysticism and Superstition with the vulgarity of Science and Reason," and asserted that "in no way could the rise of the so-named Second Enlightenment be unrelated to the undeniable increase in violent robotic rampages in our once-peaceful towns and villages."
The H. Martha G. Robinford of Moorfordshire likewise noted that "the particular acidic tang in the air on warm evenings, the sickly chartreuse cast of the sky, and the tendency of the rainwaters to dissolve hats and overcoats was far less common not two years past, and is altogether distasteful to experience."
Professor Willemina Gribb, one of the foremost advocates of the Second Enlightenment, retorted that "Progress is never without friction; the spinning gears of the Future must grind their way through the stubborn detritus of the Past in a shower of bright sparks, sparks which illuminate the Mind but may occasionally catch aflame the Oil of Obstinance and lead to the Massive Storehouse Explosion of Complete Accidental Nature which I most certainly had nothing to do with."