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End of the world — again?

December 21, 2012 - WORLD

Doomsday 2000 passed with no more than the usual level of chaos, so the predicted doomsday on 21 Dec 2012 invites more shrugs than prayers or parties. The movie industry is doing its best to stir up fear: the blockbuster "2012" of 2009 anticipates a string of Armageddon movies before Dec 21. If the doomsday clock nudges midnight on Dec 21, then Hollywood's attempt to excite fear will have been be superfluous: panic will rule.

Doomsday 2000 passed with no more than the usual level of chaos, so the predicted doomsday on 21 Dec 2012 invites more shrugs than prayers or parties. The movie industry is doing its best to stir up fear: the blockbuster "2012" of 2009 anticipates a string of Armageddon movies before Dec 21. If the doomsday clock nudges midnight on Dec 21, then Hollywood's attempt to excite fear will have been be superfluous: panic will reign. Dec 21, 2012, coincides with the winter solstice, the reversal of the gradually lengthening nights and shortening days. Doomsday watchers say there are signs in the Mayan calendar that the end of time will fall on this date. NASA offers one of many science-based rebuttals of the prediction. The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face, maintained since 1947 by the board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago. It uses the analogy of the human species being at a time that is "minutes to midnight," wherein midnight represents "catastrophic destruction." Originally, the analogy represented the threat of global nuclear war, but now includes climate-changing technologies and "new developments in the life sciences and nanotechnology that could inflict irrevocable harm." The closer the clock is to midnight, the closer the world is estimated to be to global disaster. At present the clock reads five minutes to midnight, after advancing two minutes on 17 Jan 2007. Nov/09

Doomsday 2012 (NASA)

Is Doomsday Coming? Perhaps, but Not in 2012 (NYT 16 Nov 2009)

Date written/update: 2012-12-21