Astronomer Michael Chriss

There are people who think the world will end in less than a month!   Dec. 21st to be exact.  Yes, you read me right!   In some exotic manner, the Earth (or at least a large portion of its human population) will cease to exist before Christmas!   So why shop now?   Stop planning your next career move.  Just break out the bucket list and spend the last moments of your life doing something you’ve always wanted to do.  Or not.

We’ve all heard doomsday predictions like this before.   What, you may ask, makes this year’s prediction more important than other end-of-the-world scenarios?   Simple.   The fabled Mayan Calendar is calling the date!

Akin to the fictional calendar wheel discovered by Indiana Jones, this ancient stone almanac will soon stop dead, an advent that’s churning up myriad religious, astrological and historic reasons why the true doomsday forecast is finally available.  Of course, this is no problem for today’s geeky app builders.  It’s just another opportunity!  Available for Hanukkah this year: an Interactive Mayan Calendar app with a countdown widget that lets you know the days, hours, and minutes left until Dec 21!  And, the app reverts to an ordinary clock . . . if the Earth survives!

Get the straight story on doomsdays when astronomer Michael Chriss speaks Wednesday (Dec. 5) at the Arizona Senior Academy.   He’ll also cover Christian calendars, which created considerable doomsday angst back at the turn of the millennium.  And he’ll discuss why doomsday predictions keep coming; why they are, you might say, perpetual.

Chriss, an Academy Village resident and member of the Arizona Senior Academy, has spent a lifetime in teaching.  Before retirement, he was an adjunct professor of astronomy at San Francisco State and professor of astronomy and humanities at the College of San Mateo.  He received a BS and MS degrees in astronomy from the University of  Arizona with graduate studies in the history of art and science at UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Oxford.

And speaking of doomsday scenarios, Chriss was a visiting professor at the Ukraine’s Odessa State University during the final year of the Soviet Union!   Not that there’s any connection between his presence and the coincidental collapse of a huge empire.

Submitted by Stan Davis, Academy Village Volunteer

Doomsday Before Christmas? Dec. 2012
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