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Washington Voices

Doom forecast for 2012 leaves room for debate

Many people have been asking me about the possibility of cataclysmic events in 2012. There have been a number of television documentaries and even a major Hollywood movie about 2012.

According to some scientists, on Dec. 21, 2012, the first day of winter, Earth may be facing major changes that could lead to potentially disastrous events.

On that date, the long-term Mayan calendar will expire. The Mayans were an ancient civilization of people that ruled from the sixth to ninth century in Central America. They were obsessed with time-keeping and created accurate calendars. Without the benefits of modern technology, they were able to use lunar and solar cycles to predict eclipses thousands of years into the future.

The Mayan calendar began, according to scientists, on Aug. 11, 3114 B.C., and is set to expire or reset on Dec. 21, 2012. Each solar year, the Mayan Calendar was off by only seven seconds. Therefore, when one does the math, it takes more than 5,000 years for their calendar reset. To put this into perspective, our calendar is off by a quarter-of-a-day (approximately 6 hours) each year. Every four years, we add an extra day (leap year) to essentially reset our own calendar. Therefore, our calendar expires every four years compared to more than 5,000 years for the Mayan calendar.

The Mayan civilization had numerous books about their culture and astrological data. However, the Spanish conquered the Mayans and destroyed most of their writings. Only a few books were saved and they contained information about the calendar and its expiration. According to some scientists, the Mayans only ‘hinted’ that conditions may be dire toward the end of next year. There is nothing specific in their writings and calendars to predict catastrophic events on Dec. 21, 2012.

In addition to the expiration of the Mayan calendar, there are other astrological events expected to occur on Dec. 21, 2012. On that date, the sun, Earth and the center of the Milky Way galaxy are going to line up. This event happens every 25,800 years. Some scientists say that the gravitational pull from this event will trigger earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other cataclysmic events, possibly even a total magnetic pole shift.

A total magnetic pole shift occurs when magnetic north near the North Pole becomes magnetic south and vice versa. There is evidence of this occurring in Earth’s past, but the process of this shift usually takes thousands of years. However, we are currently seeing a larger than normal movement of magnetic north. Within the last year, the area of magnetic north has moved approximately 40 miles compared to an average of 3 miles per year. Airports have been forced to readjust their instruments to compensate for the small magnetic shift. Some birds have flown into buildings or into the ground after losing their magnetic compasses.

We’ve all heard stories and predictions about the end of days for years and we’re still here. This does not mean that something won’t happen, but I’m already making vacation plans for 2013. My suggestion, don’t worry about it.