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Is doomsday just a few hours away?

The Mayan (or Aztec) calendar tells us that 12/21/12 will be the earth’s demise. Famous French seer, Nostradamus, also pointed out that earth will cease to exist in 2012. But are we really doomed?

The more common prediction was that the world was set to go boom at exactly 11:11 GMT on 12/12/12. Again, this prediction was called by the Mayans, who, to their credit, knew quite a bit about astronomy. The Mayan calendar is based on 260-day periods, which represent the true length of the solar year. According to the calendar, the “Great Cycle” equates with 5,125.36 years, beginning on August 11, 3114 B.C. and ending in 2012. Many scholars say, however, that the prophesy was misinterpreted and was not meant to suggest the end of all time; it simply meant the end of the old Mayan calendar and the beginning of a new one.

Michel de Nostradamus, a famed apothecary and seer, who lived in the sixteenth century, published a slew of prophesies like the rise of Hitler, the 1666 Great Fire of London and the 2001 World Trade disasters. He predicted that, in 2003, a great comet, Nibiru, would impact the earth and cause floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions and, as a result, the third World War would follow. He stated that, “a powerful extraterrestrial object would come across the earth and it would destroy the trees of large areas.” 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

Thousands of doomsday cultists worldwide are in such a panic about the gloomy prediction that many have even flocked to the teeny town of Pic de Bugarach in southern France. The town has a mystical mountain, Mount Rtanj, that reaches 4,040 feet high. There is a belief that the mountain is housing a pyramidal structure that will emit a powerful force in the event of a doomsday. The so-called force will save some earthlings and transport them back to their planet. Authorities have temporarily closed access to the mountain, due to the town’s overcrowding.

In Russia, apocalyptic kits filled with vodka, food and medicine are being pandered. “Preppers,” who ensure that everyone has all of the essentials they need once doomsday arrives, are popping up around the world. In San Diego, Calif., alone, there are a reported 102 preppers.

Preparedness market websites, like Offgrid Survival, have sprung up to help offer “Nervous Nellies” survivalist skills.

NASA has fielded as many as 300 calls per day from people fretting about the doomsday prediction. The government agency has tried to set apocalyptic fears to rest by setting up a website that has so far received 4.6 million visitors.

Dwayne Brown, a NASA spokesperson, told the L.A. Times, “We kind of look ahead — we’re a look-ahead agency — and we said, ‘You know what? People are going to probably want to come to us'” for answers, Brown explained. “We’re doing all that we can do to let the world know that as far as NASA and science goes, Dec. 21 will be another day.”

OK, so I guess you’ll have to go ahead and mail off that mortgage payment and continue with your holiday shopping!