Apocalypse 2012: The Year-Long Countdown To The End Of The World Begins Today

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There's been a movie about it, there's been a totally unreliable American preacher about it, there's even been a stone slab about it - so it must be true, the end of the world is exactly one year away.

The 21st of December, 2012 - which is extra satisfying when it's written out as 21/12/2012, or as America would have it, 12/21/2012 - will be the day of reckoning according to the Mayan calendar, which runs out of days on exactly that date.

If all of this is to be believed, we only have 365 days to enjoy on this beloved planet of ours, presuming that (SPOILER!) Roland Emmerich's film is wrong and not all of us survive.

What will you do with the rest of your days on earth? Consider this festive season your chance to evaluate your bucket list... a ho-ho-ho.

Still, who benefits from all this apocalyptic mumbo jumbo? The Mexican tourism industry, for one, with The Daily Telegraph reporting that their expected visitors are set to double over 2012: "Mexico's tourism agency expects to draw 52 million visitors by next year only to the regions of Chiapas, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Campeche."

That said,
The Daily Mail points out
that the "2012 reference on a 1,300-year-old stone tablet only marks the end of a cycle in the Mayan calendar, not the end of the world," meaning that this special day we've just a year away from is a message of hope, not something to be feared.

But if you are dead set on believing the doombringers, you might want to note ABC's comment that "The Mayans predicted a final event that included a solar shift, a Venus transit and violent earthquakes," or any number of tub-thumping end-of-the-world types online, who predict far, far, worse.

The date in question has become set into the popular subconcious thanks to the Mayan Long Count calendar, which began in in 3,114 B.C. This calendar highlighted "Baktuns" - 394-year periods of time - and that their sacred number, 13 was especially significant, heralding the end of an era.

You'll never guess which Baktun we're coming to the end of next year then? You got it.

Now the question is: will you be counting down the days? What are your armageddon preparations? Or do you not given a flying Mayan? Let us know in the comment box below.