24 June 2008

* Apocalypse by 2012?

Thousands of people in the Netherlands say they expect the world to end in 2012, and many say they are taking precautions to prepare for the apocalypse.

The Dutch-language de Volkskrant newspaper said it spoke to thousands of believers in the impending end of civilization, and while theories on the supposed catastrophe varied, most tied the 2012 date to the end of the Mayan calendar, Radio Netherlands reported Monday.


De Volkskrant said many of those interviewed are stocking up on emergency supplies, including life rafts and other equipment.

Some who spoke to the newspaper were optimistic about the end of civilization.

"You know, maybe it's really not that bad that the Netherlands will be destroyed," Petra Faile said. "I don't like it here anymore. Take immigration, for example. They keep letting people in. And then we have to build more houses, which makes the Netherlands even heavier. The country will sink even lower, which will make the flooding worse."

The Mayan Calendar

The Maya civilization existed in Southern Mexico and northern Central America between from A.D. 300 to 900. Its population totaled 5-16 million people.

The Maya have been called the "Greeks of the New World" by many historians. The Maya had some knowledge of mathematics, astronomy, ritual ball games for entertainment, and the use of their complex written language. Unlike Europeans at the time, the Maya had developed the concept of zero.

The Maya used a yearly solar calendar that was fairly precise, using 18 months and 20 days per month, with five additional unlucky days at the end, which totals to 365 days. The Maya did not take into account the additional 1/4 day, which we take into account through leap year, because it was not important for them. They additionally had a 260 day ritual calendar which worked in conjunction with the 365 day calendar to create a 52-year cycle. They also used a Long Count calendar which counts the number of days since the creation of the world on August 13, 3113 BC. This calendar returns to zero in 2012, which has caused an Apocalypse scare. However, this stems from a misunderstanding of the calendar, because the calendar is generally abbreviated to 5 places, when in reality there are over 40, so the calendar will continue after this date. The calendar is written with five numbers with a period between each, such as 5.4.3.2.1. Each of the numbers between the period represents a place, since the Maya number system was base-20. In this date, for example, the 1 represents 1 days, the 2 represents 2*20 days, the 3 represents 3*360 days, the 4 represents 4*7,200 and the 5 represents 5*144,000. Each digit except the second (2) and the last (5) goes to 19 before returning to zero. The second only goes to 18 and the last only goes to 13. The original date for the world was 13.0.0.0.0, which will be the same date on December 21, 2012, and the reason for the Apocalypse scare.


Nostradamus

Nostradamus also predicted that the apocalypse will happen in 2012. But Nostradamus predicted the world is going to end all the time... so why 2012 should be the year many ask ?



(yalibnan)

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Lebanon Time-Line

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Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.