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Today in STEM: The End of the World?

If doomsday legend is to be believed, tomorrow the world is ending.  So says the Mayan calendar, right?  Not so, say our friends at NASA (and, to be honest, they're not alone).  Here's more on that:

The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 -- hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.

Oddsmakers agree with NASA.  From this article in the Examiner, "The New York-based oddsmaker MyTopSportsbooks.com put the odds of the world ending Friday at 300 million to 1. That means someone is more likely to win the Powerball lottery jackpot (175 million to 1), witness Michael Jordan's return from retirement (50 million to 1) and see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series next year (1,500 to 1) than die in the apocalypse."

So did the Mayans know something we don't know?  Probably not.  In fact, NASA goes on to say that, "the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then -- just as your calendar begins again on January 1 -- another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar."  What a relief. 

That, of course, leaves us wondering, does the next cycle of the Mayan calendar have cute kittens or Elvis on it?  Guess we'll find out tomorrow . . . or not.

Learn more about why the world isn't ending tomorrow from NASA, here.

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