Topics:  apocalypse, editors picks, mayan calendar

The end of the world: all you need to know and laugh at

Dutchman Pieter van der Meer with his post-apocalyptic lifeboat which has room for 35 people to survive the predicted global catastrophe.
Dutchman Pieter van der Meer with his post-apocalyptic lifeboat which has room for 35 people to survive the predicted global catastrophe. ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN

THE end of the world is nigh - tomorrow, Australian time, to be precise - or so apocalypse observers would have you believe.

The Mayan and HopiMesoamerican Long Count calendar may have begun in 3114BC and continued unerringly ever since, but it comes to an abrupt halt on December 21.

Because Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific are on the other side of the international dateline, though, we get an extra day.

Hence, the belief gaining ground among those who fall for this kind of thing that the cosmos is about to cease.

The idea of an approaching cataclysm is troubling folk the world over.

The New York Times has reported that some spooked Russians have been panic-buying matches, fuel and sugar to prepare for the post-apocalypse.

And they are not alone. A recent poll recently found that one in seven people believe the world will end during their lifetime - or, presumably, just after it.

The same poll suggests that one in 10 people have experienced fear and/or anxiety about the implications of tomorrow.

Somewhere west of the Sunshine Coast, a group of south-east Queenslanders is reportedly huddling in an underground shed bracing for the end of the world.

Most scientists are sceptical, though. NASA has led the charge to debunk the speculation, releasing a series of YouTube videos and blogs on its website.

"Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than four billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012," it said.

Astrologers, including Coast's Richard Giles, also have rubbished the idea.

But some are not taking any chances. Online, a group of south-east Queensland residents has been in discussion for more than a year on what to do.

They were searching for a group of "like-minded individuals, who plan, organise, share information, and possibly, look to purchasing as a group some cheap land out west in the safe zone for us".

They spoke of building an underground shed, far away from any of the "Coast-destroying tsunamis".



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