Happy 2012! The world is not coming to an end


New Delhi: Doom theorists have had a free run in 2011, repeatedly predicting catastrophe and rapture. Yet the world has stubbornly refused to end with a brilliant 3D show of planets smashing into each other and tsunami tides rising to engulf the United States of America as shown in Hollywood’s popular disaster films.
As the dawn of a new year draws the curtains on 2011, it also rekindles the old fears of an apocalypse in December that could mean the end of the world. Fear, the emotion that fuels the irrationality in men, leads them on to either great heights of courage or the abyss of cowardice as world leaders have known to their downfall in the year gone by.
Doomsday as an economic and socio-political concept
Happy 2012! The world is not coming to an end
The greater part of 2011 was marked by the personal Doomsday for many even without the tidal waves and hellfire.
It was a year that brought down dictators and autocratic regimes. The mighty Muammar Gaddafi who ruled Libya with an iron fist was captured and shot to death by members of the Libyan National Army ending his three-decade regime. Terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden was killed by the American forces at his hideout in Pakistan’s Abbottabad.
The summer of discontent polarized nations giving rise to Arab Springs in Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and Bahrain. Egyptians bearing candles thronged the Tahrir town Square to fight for democracy as the state police refused to shoot at them – tacitly indicating the direction in which the winds blew.
Edward Krudy of Reuters writes: The familiar themes of a shaky Europe, a political gridlock and volatile markets will be revisited by investors in 2012.
With a spiralling debt crisis in Europe, political upheaval around the world, and crumbling creditworthiness in major industrial nations, 2011 was a tough year to know where to invest. 2012 is unlikely to offer much respite. The S&P 500, a measure of the biggest US companies' market value, spent much of the year getting pushed up and down, flummoxing shorts and longs.
There are several reasons why next year may be nothing to look forward to. Many of the world's biggest developed economies are heading into recession, global stock markets look set to recoup only a fraction of their heavy losses in 2011, oil prices will head lower, and asset managers are unsure where best to invest. And these could be the best-case scenarios.
In India, people’s anger against unbridled corruption and malpractice in public offices found a vent in social activism as the political situation turned volatile. For the first time in many years the sense of immunity that politicians enjoyed received a severe jolt. People hit the streets in a united show of disdain for their elected representatives – triggering a sense of impending doom for the political class.
Doomsday myths
But nothing compares to the worldwide hysteria that December 21, 2012 has generated, encouraged by doomsayers as the day the world will end.
It prompted the NASA to officially debunk the theory. NASA scientists answered several questions on their website regarding 2012.
Here are the popular beliefs, origin and evolution of the Doomsday theory as explained by the NASA team.
*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. Then these two fables were 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.
*The Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period and another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.
*There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate centre of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.
*Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye.
*A reversal in the rotation of Earth is impossible. There are slow movements of the continents (for example Antarctica was near the equator hundreds of millions of years ago), but that is irrelevant to claims of reversal of the rotational poles. However, many of the disaster websites pull a bait-and-shift to fool people. They claim a relationship between the rotation and the magnetic polarity of Earth, which does change irregularly, with a magnetic reversal taking place every 400,000 years on average. As far as we know, such a magnetic reversal doesn’t cause any harm to life on Earth. A magnetic reversal is very unlikely to happen in the next few millennia, anyway.
While each day dawns magnificently crimson and violet, there is hope. Have a good year