With just hours left before the apparent end of the world, people are making final preparations—while others are squashing rumors of our imminent demise like there's no tomorrow. In China, that means arresting hundreds more members of a cult that claims the so-called Mayan doomsday is the real thing. Authorities have now nabbed almost 1,000 people for fearmongering, the New York Times reports. Fascinating side note: The Church of Almighty God sect became highly concerned about the end of days shortly after the release of the John Cusack-helmed 2012—which was a huge hit in China.
- Meanwhile, NASA is taking a decidedly softer approach, the Los Angeles Times reports. The agency is receiving between 200 and 300 calls and emails per day asking whether the world is going to end; usually, officials there get contacted with questions about 90 times per week. NASA is doing "everything in our power" to quash the rumors, says a rep, including a special 2012 webpage and interviews with scientists.
- For its part, NPR has interviewed a Maya expert who says the world will "absolutely not" end tomorrow. In fact, "the Maya never, ever said anything about the world ending at any time—much less this year." All that's happening is that a cycle of the Mayan calendar is turning over, "and it's a big deal—if you're an ancient Maya astronomer priest," says David Stuart.
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