Cancel your 2012 end-of-the-world party plans. The date could be all wrong.

Summary:There's something vaguely disconcerting about using FOX News as a source of scientific information, but this one's just too good to pass up.

There's something vaguely disconcerting about using FOX News as a source of scientific information, but this one's just too good to pass up. Apparently, the whole 2012 end-of-the-world thing might be, well, wrong.

I know. Most of us with a relatively formal analytical background don't believe the 2012 thing, anyway. We have a pretty good feeling that, other the inevitable disappointment about whoever's elected in the next Presidential election cycle, 2012 won't be the end of the world.

Even if your party doesn't get elected in 2012, or -- through some bizarre combination of luck and stage presence, Sarah Palin does -- it's still not going to be the end of the world.

But there are people out there who believe the Mayan calendar foretells the end of the world and that end will occur in the year 2012.

Oh, if only.

I'm going to have to spend that summer watching the Democratic and Republican conventions. If there's anything that's not fun, it's watching the monopoly party (that's the Dems, at least for another few weeks) try to justify how they lost the war. Or the Party-of-No (that's the Republicans) claim that their plan to give yet more tax cuts to billionaires will solve all of America's woes.

So, if the End. Of. The. World is going to hit, please (oh, please) make it before the conventions.

But I digress. And, okay, fine, I actually can't wait to watch the parties strut their stuff in an epic bipartisan display of utter and complete ineffectiveness. What can I say? I'm twisted that way.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Or, not.

Speaking of twisted, let's get back to this FOX News story.

Here's the thing: the end of the world might not exactly happen when we expect it to. The problem, according to UC Santa Barbara professor Geraldo Aldana, is that the 2012 date might not have been calculated properly in the first place. Apparently, the whole thing hinges on a GMT constant (and this isn't Greenwich Mean Time, this is the Goodman, Martinez, Thompson correlation, a numerical constant named after three scientists).

In any case, Aldana says everything about the 2012 date hinges on this Goodman, Martinez, Thompson correlation. The gotcha? Apparently the GMT constant may not be as rock solid as previously thought.

If that's true, the end of the world might not happen in 2012. Aldana doesn't know when it will happen -- or if it already did -- but he's pretty sure 2012 is the wrong date.

Personally, I think the end of the world ended on December 20, 2002. That's the day that Fox canceled Firefly.

See? Fox giveth and Fox taketh away. I guess that's fair and balanced. But, I'm sorry, end of the world or not, you can't take the sky from me.

Topics: Government, Banking, Government : US

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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