Since I teach World History, my students have been asking me quite a bit about the Mayan date of 2012. Here is an article in the S.F. Chronicle. It is pretty good. But the best part of this article is saved for last! Enjoy!
NASA wants you to know that the world won’t end in 2012
Apparently, NASA scientists are concerned that people might think that Roland Emmerich’s new disaster movie "2012" is a documentary. So they put together a Q&A to reassure the nervous masses.
2012: The real estate crisis worsens.
What you need to know (NASA comments in quotes):
"The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. Then these two fables were linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 — hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012."
Should we be worried about mysterious planets going rogue?
"If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye."
Is what Woody Harrelson (appropriately cast as an apocalypse-predicting radio DJ) says about planetary alignments science or gibberish?
"There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible."
John Cusack, limo driver, and Woody Harrelson, nut case, discuss the end of the world.
About this doomsday calendar business …
"The Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then — just as your calendar begins again on January 1 — another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar."
What about meteors and asteroids?
"… Nothing is predicted to hit in 2012."
The earth’s crust won’t do a 180-degree rotation around the core in a matter of days if not hours?
"A bait-and-shift to fool people."
So what you’re saying is …
"Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012 … scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."
There you have it. No calamities expected in 2012. What could possibly go wrong in an election year?