The world probably will not end Friday, but that’s not stopping some people from preparing — or partying.
The Mayan calendar turns over Dec. 21, which also happens to be the first day of winter. Some people believe this will be the start of the end of the world. The date even has its own website and one NASA scientist told CurrentTV there may be 25 million people in the United States who believe the end of the world will happen.
In response, several DC bars are hosting “End of the World” parties with drink specials. Other people have been taking longer-term, more serious steps to prepare — like getting an Atlas Survival Shelter, an underground, insulated and furnished survival pod made of corrugated steel pipe.
‘Nothing About End of Days’
“The Maya never forecast the end of the world,” according to Longwood University professor Walter Witschey, who teaches anthropology and science. “It appears they were saying a very important king, who was living when the inscription was written, was so important that he would still be worshiped in 18.104.22.168.0.
"That’s like saying 1,000 years from now, George Washington will still be so important that we’ll celebrate him in the year 3,000. They said nothing about end of days, nothing about 13 being the final cycle, nothing about apocalypse, nothing about astrological predictions of any sort.”
NASA agrees there is nothing to fear in 2012: “The world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.”
Further, NASA officials say there is no expected mass blackout just before Christmas, there are no wayward planets on a collision course with Earth and there are no unusual planetary alignments coming.
“The date 22.214.171.124.0 was just a marking place in their cycle,” Witschey said. “On this date, the Long Count will roll over from cycle 12 to cycle 13, like our calendar rolling over from 1999 to 2000.”
How to Prepare (Just In Case…)
Despite the unlikelihood that the apocalypse will occur this month, some people may be interested in reviewing their emergency plans.
National Geographic has a useful, informative website and mobile phone app centered around the television series “Doomsday Preparers.” The site features stories of people who have prepared, an interactive survey so you can analyze how long you might survive after a catastrophe, and basic information about water, food, shelter and security.
You probably don’t have enough time before Dec. 21 to get an Atlas Survival Shelter, but here are some things you can do quickly and easily to prepare for a variety of emergencies, including hurricanes and blizzards, summarized here from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management:
Take a first aid or CPR class. VirginiaCPRoffers CPR, first aid and AED certification and re-certification Northern Virginia.
Make sure you have plenty of non-perishable or canned food (and a can opener), clean, bottled water several days, warm blankets, flashlights, a radio and batteries.
Talk to your local vet or pet shelter about emergency plans for pets, or make sure your own evacuation plans include accommodations for your four-legged family members.
Have a central meeting place for your family if you have to leave your home, and make sure everyone has emergency phone numbers for each other and for relatives outside the disaster area.
If you have a generator, make sure it is working properly and you understand how to use it safely. Do not use a generator indoors.
As for Witschey: “On Dec. 22, I expect to get up in the morning, and I’ll probably take note of the fact the Maya Long Count now reads 126.96.36.199.1 and I’ll go on about my business.”