UC SANTA BARBARA — There have been predictions and rumors stemming around the end of days and the end of the Maya calendar. One local scholar said the end of the world isn’t even a Maya idea. Professor Gerardo Aldana has studied the Maya culture and writing since 1995. He’s looked into the December 21, 2012 end of days prediction and said it just is not true but that it is a “perfect storm of misinformation.” Maya dates are represented through hieroglyphics and for the past 17 years, Professor Aldana has studied them. He said the prediction people are talking about is a misunderstanding of the mythology, a misunderstanding of the calendar and he said December 21 isn’t even the right date. “So for all those reasons we should really not have any investment that something that the Maya predicted is going to happen,” said Professor Aldana. But that hasn’t stopped some people from worrying that Friday may be the last day of life on Earth as we know it. Javier Rivera, the astronomy programs manager at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum has been taking at least two calls a day for the past six months with people, mostly parents, asking about the calendar. “It seems like their children start to get worried and start asking, ‘Daddy, are we all going to die?’ and parents have to answer so they call us, ‘Should we be worried?’ and I just let them know, no, there’s nothing to be worried about,” said Rivera. “I do sometimes get kids who come to me and they’re scared. They really don’t know what it means because they go on the Internet and they see the end of the world or their friends at school are saying, ‘Yeah, it’s supposed to be the end of the world,” said Aldana. The UCSB Anthropology and Chicano/Chicana Studies Professor wants people to take the opportunity to learn about the culture and not blame the Maya when nothing happens on Friday, because he said the prediction never came from the people. “It’s really not a Mayan thing.”
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