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The Sky Is Falling

Most people at this time of year, are beginning to seriously think about Christmas presents for friends and family. Fortunately for all of us, this year’s tradition will be totally stress free. There will be no need to venture forth, battle the crowds and wear out the Visa. The reason is simple, it is all going to end a few days before Christmas.

That’s right. I’m sure you have heard by now that the world will end in 2012. Unlike many previous apocalyptic forecasts, most of which have turned out to be false (actually all of them have), this time it is official. Many are now familiar with the Mayan calendar, which comes to an end on December 21st. When I first heard the myth I, like most others, shrugged it off. I remember when I was 14 there was a similar threat and hundreds of people burned their belongings and joined a prayer group. That night I secretly prayed for the world not to end (my father had tickets for the Saturday night Leaf game and I didn't want to miss it).

This time however, it is the Mayans, a civilization boasting great accomplishments, who made the prediction. Surely they are not a group of fanatics to be casually dismissed. I took it upon myself to do a little digging, just to make sure that the 7 million Mayans still living today are incorrect in their ancestral prediction. I started my quest skeptically, but kept running into hurdles, which I am having difficulty overcoming.

First, let us look at the Mayan people, a civilization which started in 2,000 BC and ruled for 3,500 years. How credible can they possibly be? OK, so they developed a calendar based on 365 days a year; not very accurate, if you ask me. Every four years they missed a leap year, which means that the 19 million people in the world born on February 29th would not exist.

They also built pyramids based on their calendar. The big one in Chichén Itzá, Mexico, has four sides with 91 steps each and a platform at the top, for a total of 365 steps. I’m certain it has to be a coincidence, but not one to be overlooked. Seriously though, no one would base an event as important as the end of the world on the expiration of a calendar. There has to be more to it.

The famous sixteenth century soothsayer, Nostradamus, wrote hundreds of prophesies, many of which actually came true. Most of them were lucky guesses, but I thought it pertinent to my investigation to see if he mentioned the end of the world, just in case. Among his many other predictions (Hitler's reign of terror, Kennedy's assassination and the destruction of New York, where I might add he was off by two whole years) he also predicted a comet (Nibiru) would collide with the earth in the latter half of this year, causing the earth to shift on its axis. How could he possibly know?

The Incas and the Egyptians also predicted the world’s end around this time, and the really freaky thing is that all these people said it would be a gradual destruction, not a big blowup or single catastrophe. Events like earthquakes and tidal waves, hurricanes and floods would intensify and people would become hungry and blame their governments to the point where they will resist and topple levels of authority. Could they have known about global warming, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the earthquake in Japan? Then of course there was last year’s Arab Spring. It has to be just another coincidence, doesn’t it?

So, why is this all happening on December 21st at 11 minutes past 11 in the morning? Here is where my research really began to pay off. Let's go back to the Mayans again. Their favourite sport was a ball game played on a stone court. The object was to get a rubber ball through a stone hoop. It was quite a dangerous game, as the captain of the losing team was sacrificed to the Gods. What does this have to do with the end of the world? Interestingly, the game of tossing the stone ball through the hoop was based on an astronomical event which happened nearly 26,000 years ago: a perfect alignment of the earth, the sun and the plane of the Milky Way. The Mayans claimed this to be the single most important event in astronomy.

Who cares what happened 26,000 years ago, you ask? No one, except the next alignment of these three celestial bodies is scheduled to take place on the Winter Solstice, December 21st at approximately eleven minutes after eleven.

In summary, I have survived several eclipses where things have lined up and I have even seen Haley's comet and nothing has ever gone awry. So why is this one different? It's all about the gravitational force which may cause the world to shift slightly, but more important, cause the magnetic poles to reverse.