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End of days prediction promises same outcome as previous speculation

Lu Zhenghai right walks near his ark-like vessel. Lu Zhenghai is one least two men Chinpredicting world-ending flood come Dec.

Lu Zhenghai, right, walks near his ark-like vessel. Lu Zhenghai is one of at least two men in China predicting a world-ending flood, come Dec. 21, and has spent his life savings building the 70-foot-by-50-foot vessel powered by three diesel engines. | AP

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Updated: December 24, 2012 1:26PM



From Martin Luther predicting the demise of the world by 1600 to Nicholas of Cusa saying humanity’s expiration date would occur between 1700 and 1734 to the Seventh Day Adventists saying it would all be over in 1844 to Pat Robertson claiming the end would come in 1982 to Harold Camping’s forecast of the Rapture for 2011, every single vision for the end of the world has had one thing in common:

They were as wrong as wrong can be. Last time I looked, we’re still standing.

And we’ll still be standing — wobbling a bit, as usual, but still standing — on Dec. 21, Mayan calendar notwithstanding.

Here’s what I always say about the ancient Mayans: if they were so good at predicting the future, how come there aren’t more Mayans around today?

Not that the Mayan calendar actually predicts the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012. In fact, Mayan leaders in Guatemala, dismayed at the selling of “doomsday travel packages” and other efforts to capitalize on the fears and gullibility of some poor souls, have been trying to get the word out about the true nature of their calendar.

“We are speaking out against deceit, lies and twisting of the truth, and turning us into folklore-for-profit,” said Felipe Gomez, spokesman for a Mayan alliance group.

Gomez told Agence France-Presse the so-called doomsday date of Dec. 21, 2012 is merely the beginning of a new time cycle on Mayan calendar. (Contrary to popular interpretations, the Mayan calendar doesn’t “end” next Friday. David Stuart, professor of Mesoamerican art and writing at the University of Texas, recently told the Huffington Post the Mayan calendar actually “goes 70 octillion years into the future.”)

Ah, but why let the facts stand in the way when we can enjoy a flood of stories about misguided citizens around the world prepping for the End of Days?

Apparently a stunning percentage of the populace actually believes the apocalypse could arrive in a little more than week. According to an international poll commissioned by Reuters of more than 16,000 people in more than 20 countries, about 10 percent of people worldwide believe the Mayan calendar could signify the end of world on Dec. 21.

Ten percent! In the United States, that would mean more than 30 million Americans are going about their daily business with at least some fear the world is coming to an end next Friday.

Guess that would explain why some folks are putting off their Christmas shopping ’til the last minute.

Doomsday dimwits

In northwest China, a man named Lu Zhenghai has invested his entire life savings in a modern-day ark powered by three diesel engines. You look at photos of Zhenghai’s 70-foot-by-50 foot vessel and you wonder if it could survive a heavy thunderstorm, let alone the apocalypse.

In Mesa, Ariz., 31-year-old Dennis McClung and his wife Danielle, 25, prep their two young children for the end of the world by timing them as they put on their protective gas masks and protective clothing. “I am sure there are a lot of people out there who think I am crazy, but they don’t say it to my face,” says McClung.

I’ll bet.

Meanwhile, officials in France had to close a mountain — which sounds like something out of a “Hobbit” adventure — to stave off a potential flood of dooms-dayers that believed the supposedly mystical mountaintop would be a perfect landing spot for UFOs that would come on Dec. 21 to rescue a few lucky souls. So now a mountain peak in Serbia has been pinpointed as a possible safe haven.

You know where else you’ll be safe come Dec. 21? On your sofa.

The hoarders, the ark-builders, the survivalists that build shelters and stock up on weaponry — one gets the feeling they’re actually rooting for the end of the world, just so they can be right.

Not that they want total destruction, as that would kill them too. They’ve got more of a “Walking Dead,” “Revolution,” semi-apocalypse in mind, where they’re among the survivors in a world in which none of the old rules apply.

But even if there was a cataclysmic event next Friday, what’s the Chinese guy with the ark going to do after a month or two? What’s the family with the gas masks and the shelter going to do when the food supply runs out? These folks fancy themselves as forward thinkers, but what do they think they’ll be doing a year, five years, 10 years after the Day of Reckoning?

Fortunately for them, I predict they’ll never have to face those questions, because the world isn’t going to end any time soon.

And I’m getting that info straight from the RidgidTool Calendar.



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