Five year countdown starting now

I've seen more than a few references to the Mayan prediction that the world will end on December 21, 2012 in the last few days, the most recent being a booklist provided by Shelf Awareness (a daily newsletter for people in the book business). (I love that in the newsletter she mentions Sounds True as one of the publishers producing some titles. I know nothing about that particular publishing house, but just the name... sounds true. Sounds being the operative word. Oh well.)

I am fascinated by the Maya. The first hook for me was their beautiful and complex writing system, and I was quickly taken in by their architecture, religious belief system and political practices. Their advanced knowledge of science and mathematics is impressive, as is their numbering system (which is base 20. We are base 10). I have two Mayan calendars in my house - one that shows the cycle, and another that depicts the date of my wedding. But this prediction stuff is pretty far-fetched, in my humble opinion.

Looks like most people agree that the world won't *end* on that date (I intend to live it up anyways), but there are some scientific and new age (hokey shit) reasons beyond the Mayan prediction for people believing that there could be some sort of cataclysm on 12/21/12. Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research predicts that the next solar maximum will be a doozy, and will happen in 2012. New Scientist (and others) report that when solar flares peak in 2011 or 2012, GPS signals will be severely disrupted. In a report on a cool-looking crop circle, BBC reported that the galaxy will begin a new era in 2012 as its 26,000-year cycle comes to an end. My favorite, though, which doesn't seem to be supported anywhere else on the interwebs, is the India Daily editorial about volcanic eruptions in the year 2012. Come ON!

Of course, there is quite a bit of evidence that debunks the whole thing, not to mention common sense and the fact that we can't do anything about it. I certainly don't get wrapped up in doomsday stuff (although post-apocalyptic fiction is probably one of my favorite types of fiction), but one good thing about blogging about this phenomenon is that I found a list of historic calendars. Fun!

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