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2012 January 17, 2012

Posted by fredpereira in Uncategorized.
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AS WE bid goodbye to 2011, we do not only ponder and reflect on the year that is about to end. It is also that time of the year when people start to roll out their predictions to unveil what’s in store for them on the upcoming year.

The Chinese Zodiac indicates that the Year 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. In Ancient China, the celestial Dragon also called Lung, the fifth sign of the Chinese zodiac, represented power and authority. Nowadays, the Chinese people and Feng Shui experts associate Dragon with victory and happiness.

However, despite the success and bliss denoted by Lung, thousands of people fear the coming of 2012 as predictions have linked this year to the end of the world. The movie 2012, which was based on these prophecies and was released on November 2009, gained a lot of attention and has ignited debates among different sectors.

These are the speculations, predictions and prophecies that have equated the upcoming year to doomsday.

The Mayan Calendar

History reveals that Mayan people were Native Americans who had one of the most advanced civilizations in the western hemisphere before the coming of the Europeans. The Mayans were known for their achievements in astronomy and as well as their pair of interlocking calendars they used to schedule their rituals and ceremonies. The calendars were made by Mayans based on cycles within cycles.

The Mayan Calendar has received a lot of attention as researchers concluded that important dates on the said calendar coincided with astronomical phenomena astronomers anticipated after studying the solar system.

Many scholars believe that the Mayan calendar depicts 2012 as the end of the world. However, some researchers said 2012 marks the end of a major cycle which Mayans called the Great Cycle. The Great Cycle, which according to the Mayan Calendar started on 13.0.0.0.0, happens within 5,125 years. Based on several studies, the Mayans predicted that from 1999, people will have 13 years to change themselves and prepare for the end of the whole cycle of civilization. The Mayans expected that the 5,125 years Great Cycle will come to an end on December 21, 2012 A.D. From this prophecy, media practitioners tagged December 21, 2012 as 2012 Doomsday.

The Inca and Aztec Prophecy

The Incas and Aztec people were Native Americans who lived in South and North America respectively. They were both known for building cities, bridges and roads. Aside from these contributions, the Incas and Aztecs are controversial for their 2012 prediction.

The Aztec prediction states that on the winter solstice on December 21, 2012, “the noonday Sun exactly conjuncts the crossing point of the sun’s ecliptic with the galactic plane, while also closely conjuncting the exact center of the galaxy.” Therefore, the Aztec people believed that our solar system seems to belong to another galaxy which crashes, bumps and collides with the Milky Way.

Moreover, the Aztec prediction explains that all the natural phenomena, which are experienced from 2011 to 2012, are all products of the said collision and solar explosions. These events, according to Aztec prophecy, could cause the destruction of the Earth.

Astronomers’ Predictions

Researchers and astronomers are amazed that the Mayans were able to predict important events in the solar system despite the absence of high technologies during their time. Astronomers support Mayans’ prediction that on December 21,2012 a significant event in the solar system will occur. Astronomers anticipated on the same date the occurrence of a rare planet alignment in the Milky Way which happens once every twenty five thousand years.

Prophecies also show that the world will vanish after being struck by asteroids and comets in 2012. Yet, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) cleared that the Apophis, the large asteroid they’ve been monitoring, might hit the Earth by 2036. However, NASA admitted that there is still a big possibility that the path and movement of the asteroid might change anytime. If we’ll look at geology, Earth’s collision with an asteroid 65 million years ago led to the extinction and disappearance of dinosaurs on the planet.

Although there are no scientific proofs yet, astronomers believe that there seems to be a missing planet from the orbital rotation. They fear calamities might happen if the so called Planet X’s orbit interferes with the solar system. However, NASA objected the prediction that the phenomenon will happen in 2012.

The Apocalypse

The Book of Revelation, the last Book of the New Testament, continues to be the subject of different interpretations and debates if it should be taken literally or symbolically. It was written not to scare people about tragic calamities in the future but to “prepare the Church for the last intervention of God in human affairs.”

The book discloses God’s revelations regarding future events through numerical symbolism. According to the Book of Revelation, “the judgments are released upon the earth in the form of seven trumpets, two witnesses, a dragon (the devil), the beast (the antichrist), the false prophet and the seven golden bowls.”

The apocalyptic writings are viewed by many people not just as Good News about the coming of Jesus Christ but also as a warning that the world might end soon. Because some of the signs mentioned in the book such as plague, earthquakes, hailstorms, fire, famine, meteor storm and lack of potable water have already happened, many people feel that the end of the world is fast approaching.

Year 2012 continues to be shrouded by lots of mysteries. Nobody knows what exactly will happen on December 21, 2012 or at any time in that year. Our human minds might not have the power to see the future, but this does not mean that we’ll just allow ourselves to be continuously haunted by our anxieties and fears of dying.

Let us stop worrying about things we have no control over. Let us stop bothering ourselves about how much time we have and what’s in store for us on the coming days, weeks, months and years.

Instead, let us focus on setting our personal goals that will help change others’ lives for the better and will make 2012 not our worst but our best year ever!

 

Global economy unprepared for disaster January 8, 2012

Posted by fredpereira in Uncategorized.
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The global economy could withstand widespread disruption from a natural disaster or attack by militants for only a week as governments and businesses are not sufficiently prepared to deal with unexpected events, a report by a respected think-tank said.

Events such as the 2010 volcanic ash cloud, which grounded flights in Europe, Japan’s earthquake and tsunami and Thailand’s floods last year, have showed that key sectors and businesses can be severely affected if disruption to production or transport goes on for more than a week.

 “One week seems to be the maximum tolerance of the ‘just-in-time’ global economy,” said the report by Chatham House, the London-based policy institute for international affairs.

The current fragile state of the world’s economy leaves it particularly vulnerable to unforeseen shocks. Up to 30 percent of developed countries’ gross domestic product could be directly threatened by crises, especially in the manufacturing and tourism sectors, according to the think-tank.

It is estimated that the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Asia cost businesses $60 billion, or about 2 percent of east Asian GDP, the report said.

After the Japanese tsunami and nuclear crisis in March last year, global industrial production declined by 1.1 percent the following month, according to the World Bank.

The 2010 volcanic ash cloud cost the European Union 5-10 billion euros and pushed some airlines and travel companies to the verge of bankruptcy.

“I would like to think we can learn from those experiences and be more resilient for longer but it won’t happen unless governments and businesses are better prepared and put in place different supply chains which can be relied on when disasters strike,” said Alyson Warhurst, chief executive of UK-based risk analysis company Maplecroft.

‘Be Prepared’

Costs can escalate quickly when transport or major production hubs are disrupted for more than a few days, which can in turn threaten food and water supplies and energy and communication networks, the report said.

In the event of prolonged disruption, some businesses would be forced to cut investment and jobs or consider closing down, leading to a permanent reduction in countries’ growth.

In general, governments and businesses are under-prepared to respond to high-impact, unpredictable events, with worst-case scenarios rarely factored into their contingency plans.

“Contingency and business planning often assumes the return of status quo ante post-crisis. But this approach will be inadequate in a world of complex economic and social risks, when there is no return to business-as-usual practices,” said Bernice Lee, the report’s lead author.

 “Industries – especially high-value manufacturing – may need to re-consider their just-in-time business model in an interdependent world,” she added.

Climate change and water scarcity will only add to risks, putting even more pressure on infrastructure and resources.

Experts have been warning governments over the past few years that they are not properly prepared to deal with national crises.

The UK government came under fire in 2007 for its lack of preparation and response to severe floods, which cost the economy 3.2 billion pounds.

The think-tank recommended various ways to improve responses from governments and businesses to extreme events.

It particularly highlighted social media networks as a useful “one-stop shop” for information in the event of a crisis. In the London riots last year, social networks such as Twitter proved invaluable for many people to track the rioters’ movements across the UK capital and take precautions.