There is agreement that a 5,125-year cycle of the Mayan calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012. Some have interpreted this to mean that when the cycle ends, so does mankind.
Poppycock, say the scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. “Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years,” according to a Q&A session at NASA.gov, “and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.”
Similar sentiments are shared by the chief astronomer at the Vatican, Father Jose Gabriel Funes. The Irish Independent newspaper reports that Funes wrote it was “not even worth discussing the scientific basis for these claims,” in a front-page editorial in the Vatican’s daily newspaper.
But flimsier predictions than this have sparked survivalists, and so it is here. The Telegraph in the United Kingdom reports panic buying of essentials in China and Russia, while a U.S. manufacturer says he has gone from selling one high-tech survival shelter a month to selling one per day.
Doomsayers are the exception, however. Not even holiday-focused retailers appear to be taking the opportunity for an end-of-the-world sale, unless you count Rick Springfield merchandise.
Do you know anyone who is taking seriously the end-of-the-world prediction? Co-workers burning up vacation days? Neighbors raiding Costco for emergency food supplies? Or is Dec. 21 simply the shortest day of the year and two days before the next Packers game? Have at a discussion in our Comments section.