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Today isn't the end: Locals, experts weigh in on Mayan calendar hype

STAFF WRITER

BARSTOW • If you’re reading this, the world didn’t end. Although widespread folklore tied to ancient Mayans may have you believe otherwise.

The panic from the purported end of world predictions of the Mayan calendar were abuzz in the media this week. But in Barstow on Thursday, many were not convinced, and experts say the Mayans never predicted the end to begin with.

“I think that it’s just a bunch of hocus pocus,” Barstow local Eric Nelson said. “I don’t believe in it at all. There’s a lot of truth to what the Mayans did but they made a lot of predictions.”

According to a YouTube video released by NASA early last week, Dec. 21, 2012 is a significant date for Mayans, but not to foretell the end of the world. The date is the end of a Mayan calendar long-count period. The calendar resembles the odometer of a car once written in modern typography, the video explained. The digits rotate and the calendar can roll over and repeat itself.

In fact, the Mayans had a very expansive view of time, one that dwarfs measurements used by modern astronomers, according to one expert in the video. For example, there are dates in Mayan ruins that stretch a billion, billion times farther than the time modern scientists believe the Big Bang occurred, according to the clip.

“It’s ridiculous. Why would one worry?” local Anita Haefele said. “Some people like to have something to keep them in turmoil.”

Lay pastor Jesse DeLeon of the Calvary Chapel Barstow offered some scriptural insight on the topic.

“Jesus said no man knows the time or the place or the season that it’s going to end. He says, ‘I don’t even know, only my Father in Heaven knows,’ ” DeLeon said.

Dr. John Carlson, director of the Center for Archeoastronomy, said in the video that the whole thing was a misconception from the very beginning. Not only did the Mayan calendar not end, but there were no Mayan prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date on any of the thousands of ruins, tablets and standing stones that archeologists have examined over time.

If a real threat of an asteroid or rogue planet coming to destroy the Earth did exist, it would already be one of the brightest objects in the sky, visible to the naked eye, according NASA Astrobiologist David Morrison.


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