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January 1 2013

Beyond the Mayan Calendar: Doomsdayism is Alive and Well

December 21, 2012 has come and gone and the world as we know it persists. There was no apocalypse, no pole shift, no rendezvous with a mysterious "planet Nibiru."

Whether centered around the end of the Mayan "Long Count" calendar on the winter solstice of 2012 or not, what are we to make of this strange social and cultural phenomenon of expectations of worldwide calamity?

For many, the notion of the end of the world was an excuse for levity ("Buy Christmas presents? Why bother?"). It seemed like high comedy. But unfortunately for some, the macabre expectations and fears were all too real.

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