By Fareed Zakaria
Every year at Davos, people like me try to get a sense of the mood of the place, take the temperature of people in this frosty mountain resort.
Obviously, I will give you a highly impressionistic and personal picture, but it’s one I find useful since Davos does bring together leaders in government, business, media – even the NGO community – from all corners of the world. It is genuinely global in a way that few conferences are...
Guatemalan Maya natives kneel in front of a temple at the Tikal archaeological site on December 20, 2012. The exquisite site of Mayan ruins began hosting winter solstice ceremonies on Thursday as the region's indigenous people marked the end of an era.
The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December 2012 .
This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none has been accepted by mainstream scholarship.
A New Age interpretation of this transition is that the date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 21 December 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era.
Others suggest that the date marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world include the arrival of the next solar maximum, an interaction between Earth and the black hole at the center of the galaxy, or Earth's collision with a planet called Nibiru.
Scholars from various disciplines have dismissed the idea of such cataclysmic events occurring in 2012. Professional Mayanist scholars state that predictions of impending doom are not found in any of the extant classic Maya accounts, and that the idea that the Long Count calendar ends in 2012 misrepresents Maya history and culture, While astronomers have rejected the various proposed doomsday scenarios as pseudoscience,stating that they conflict with simple astronomical observations.
Only 15 states have told the federal government they plan to operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama's reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting task of creating online marketplaces for two-thirds of the country.