Popular opinion may have changed within the last few weeks (what with that whole Higgs thing - but probably not), but there's still the nutters insisting that the world will end in 2012, due to some badly-misinterpreted "Mayan Prophecy". It's all bollocks, obviously - witness Harold Camping's hilarious failure to predict the dates for the end of the world TWICE in 2011 for an idea of what'll be happening on 21st December of this year.
And yet people carry on preaching. Don't they ever look for evidence of it, or are people happily anticipating the end times? It all falls down to general ignorance and/or boredom. There's an idea to hang onto, and a symbol easily accessible via Google Images to illustrate said ideas:
Well, for a start, that's not even the Maya calendar - it's the Aztec Sun Stone. A calendrical glyph, yes, but not the fabled Maya Long Count (an artefact of which no pictoral evidence actually exists!). It's a doomsday prophecy for people who can't be bothered to differentiate between Mesoamerican cultures, and who can't understand that other cultures may have had different methods of measuring time. Where our calendars end on 31st December of the given year, the Mayans ended their ones on 21st December, 2012. That's it.
There's loads of information and misinformation on the whole sorry affair all over the Internet, and I'm not adding to or taking away anything of it here... I'm just here to praise Tom Paterson on educating the kids with a bit of rational thinking - in the most fun way possible.
Here's his Fred's Bed strip from the 2012 Beano Annual:
(apologies for the shadowy bits - it's hard to scan hardbacks)
So there we go - cobblers! Not that I'm saying you can't form your own opinions, obviously. But just make sure they're sensible.