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The end of the world (again?)

Rebecca Powell: "2012 It's not a doomsday, it's not the end, it is the beginning. what are your thoughts on the Mayan Prophecy? Has anyone read..Thiaoouba Prophecy by Michael Desmarquet and /or You're not who you think you are By Alfred Gaulden ?"

Rebecca makes a good point - there have been quite a few movies and books with apocolyptic themes lately. Whether the cause is astronomical ( Knowing) or of our own making ( Wall-e, would you believe?) The evangelical sandwichboardman proclaiming the end of the world has been a character spoofed in literature and film for most of the last century. End-of-the-world stories (like baseball stories) are often good material for books and film.

My personal favorite in the film category would be Crack in the World (1965) where arrogance and bad science are the culprits.My favorite story on this theme was written by Arthur C. Clarke, and titled "The Nine Billion Names of God." It is a VERY short story written in 1954 - maybe the shortest ever to win a Hugo award. It's from a period when Clarke was writing lots of creative short stories. A clandestine copy or two are available on the web if you look around. Classify it as a non-violent end -of-the-universe story.

Among the more famous end-of the-world quotes is from T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Men:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

There is also Robert Frost's Fire and Ice:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Before you get too worried over the significance of any particular date, realize this - the actual correlation between most ancient calendars and the current Gregorian calendar is a matter of convention - not a matter of precision. We say it is Friday the 23rd of October A.D. or C.E., and calendars have been kept regularly for hundreds of years. But it has not always been so. Read the first few paragraphs of this Wikipedia summary:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_reform and you'll get an idea of why obsessing over a particular date is pointless.

And if anyone feeds you a line about the ancient Mayan calendar and how it 'runs out' at some conveniently symmetrical data and time, note that said calendar:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayan_calendar is no bargain either. Nor are there any Mayans around to tell us if anyone understands it correctly.

Rest easy, class of 2013.

--Steve
ki/Mayan_calendar is no bargain either. Nor are there any Mayans around to tell us if anyone understands it correctly. Rest easy, class of 2013.--Steveki/Calendar_reform and you'll get an idea of why obsessing over a particular date is pointless. And if anyone feeds you a line about the ancient Mayan calendar and how it 'runs out' at some conveniently symmetrical data and time, note that said calendar: ki/Mayan_calendar is no bargain either. Nor are there any Mayans around to tell us if anyone understands it correctly. Rest easy, class of 2013.--Steve

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