[UPDATE BELOW] A reader sent in these photos of the New Year's ball in Times Square, showing that the numbers have already switched to 2012. We've contacted the Times Square Alliance to find out why they want to hang such an apocalyptic sign over our heads for a year, and will update when we hear back.
In past years, the new numbers arrived in Times Square just before the big drop.
UPDATE: While we are still awaiting a comment from the Times Square Alliance, word is that the 2012 ball is for a movie; a reader writes in: "I work in a building across the street from that damned thing. The production company will be filming on the 25th floor of this building—they need to shoot out the window onto the ball." We're guessing this is for New Year's Eve, the sequel to Valentine's Day which has been filming around the city recently, and is probably also a sign of the apocalypse.
UPDATE II: A spokesman for the Times Square Alliance confirms, saying, "It’s a temporary change for director Gary Marshall who is shooting a film called New Year’s Eve. The beginning of the week they had the whole New Year’s Eve stage set-up on Duffy Square just outside our windows. It was a big déjà vu moment when I was in a meeting and looked out the window to see the stage set-up just two and a half months after New Year’s Eve."