As Dec. 21, 2012 fast approaches, doomsday-believers around the globe are bracing for what they believe will be the end of the world.
A Chinese inventor built "survival pods" to help him through the mayhem. A contractor developed underground bunkers to safeguard their Italian owners. And fare finder website Skyscanner reports its customers are showing an increasing interest in one-way tickets to "Apocalypse safe havens."
According to NASA, many Apocalypse fears originate in the belief that Nibiru, a planet allegedly discovered by the Sumerians, would hit planet Earth in May 2003. When the world did not perish, however, new claims were put forward that Nibiru would hit earth on Dec. 21, 2012 -- the day the Mayan long-count calendar ends.
NASA has gone out of its way to rebuke the doomsday fears, arguing "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."
Several governments, too, have reassured their citizens that the Apocalypse is nowhere near. According to a New York Times report, Russia's minister of emergency situations Vladimir Puchkov reassured the country's citizens on Friday he is sure the world will not end in December and that "he had access to methods of monitoring what is occurring on the planet Earth.” And the Vatican's top astronomer Rev. Jose Funes wrote in the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the doomsday predictions are "not even worth discussing."
As we approach Dec. 21, HuffPost brings you live updates on the impending apocalypse -- or lack thereof. Check back for the latest news leading up to and through the big event.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post misspelled the planet Nibiru. We regret the error.
BEFORE YOU GO
12/21/2012 6:57 PM EST
That's All Folks!
Since the world hasn't ended, we're going to conclude the live blog at this time. Thank you all for reading!
12/21/2012 6:35 PM EST
@ jonesry28 :
Well... We survived the "misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar." Congratulations to all of you.
12/21/2012 5:50 PM EST
@ KeithCowing :
I guess mayan calendars will be half price at bookstores starting tomorrow
12/21/2012 5:42 PM EST
CARTOON: Mayan Calendar Doomsday Vision
For his latest cartoon, Chicano artist Lalo Alcaraz depicted what the Maya's real doomsday vision might have been.
Read more about Alcaraz on HuffPost Latino Voices.
12/21/2012 5:32 PM EST
Standing Guard At Chichen Itza: Mexico's Boy Scouts
The temptation to ignore the signs, jump the ropes and climb the pyramid dominating the main plaza here gets the better of some visitors. That's why the archeological park has called in Yucatan's scouts, who stand at something approaching attention around the major ruins.
"We do this for special events," explains Gabriel Ancona, an 18-year old Rover Scout -- Mexico's equivalent to an Eagle Scout -- from nearby Merida. "I enjoy serving and, even though I'm not Maya, this is part of my culture because I grew up here."
Ancona says several of his friends had to help stop a crowd of 80 spiritualists, mostly American, who tried to climb El Castillo this morning.
"The scouts were definitely helpful with that," says Ancona, who is amused but unfazed by visitors' fervor.
He admits he finds some of the dancing funny but is complacent about the whole thing.
"They can believe whatever they want," he says. "They just have to stay off the ruins."
-- Andrew Burmon, HuffPost Travel
12/21/2012 5:23 PM EST
End Of The World Movies Worth Seeing
From zombies to a viral pandemic, Hollywood has imagined countless ways the world could end. While some plots are more far-fetched than others, most apocalyptic films have one thing in common: that glimmer of hope that the world won't end after all.
Overlooking blockbuster disaster films like "The Day After Tomorrow," CNN Entertainment compiled a list of the end of the world movies you should actually watch.
12/21/2012 5:01 PM EST
End Of The World Conspiracy Theory?
@ JoshHelfferich :
Okay, so just to be clear, Nostradamus predicted Gangnam Style hitting a billion views today. http://t.co/caiviccJ
12/21/2012 4:44 PM EST
Ceremonies Mark A New Era
At dawn, crowds gathered at Tikal - one of the largest pre-Columbian Maya sites in Central America - for rituals sending out the old - and bringing in the new. Reuters reports.
12/21/2012 4:26 PM EST
In Mexico, What One Local Thinks Of The 'Apocalypse'
Silvia Guadalupe commutes every day from the Maya town of Xcalacop to the temple complex of Chichen Itza, where she sells handkerchiefs embroidered with bright flowers. Today, as the world fails to end, she is hoping to make enough sales to buy new clothing for her children.
"Only once we make enough money will we go home and celebrate," she says. "We are poor so we have to be here today."
She's not ashamed of her poverty and actually laughs about it. Hers is hardly a unique position within the Maya community. Still, it is a unique day.
"I think things may be a little better for the next few years," Guadalupe says, smiling at a customer who examines her goods and walks away. "It is nice that people care about our calendar, which is like a religion to many people here."
She expects to head home late tonight.
-- Andrew Burmon, HuffPost Travel