By now you've no doubt heard that the world is going to end on December 21, 2012 -- according to Mayan prophecy. But Ed Barnhart, director of the Maya Exploration Center, has been studying the ancient people of South America for many years, and today he'll host a public lecture titled Misunderstanding the Maya Calendar: 2012 and Why You Shouldn't Worry.
"It's human nature, I believe, to be fascinated with the idea that there's some sort of end in the future, and that people, either ancient or modern, can predict how and when it's going to happen," Barnhart says. "Number one, there are no prophecies by the Maya, and number two, I think we are making a mathematical error -- an assumption from a Western point of view -- about the calendar."
Barnhart will address some pseudo-scientific aspects of the brouhaha (including solar flares and magnetic-pole shifts), but essen-tially, he thinks the Maya would see December 21 as important but not apocalyptic. "What they had is a cyclical view of time and the cosmos, and there were certain times where cycles came around. And it was kind of your obligation, or at least a good idea, to change the way you live. And I think this is one of those times."
Get the rest of the story at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, at 2:30 p.m. for the lecture; admission is $5 for DAM members and students, $10 for the general public. Visit www.denverartmuseum.org for information
Sun., Feb. 19, 2:30 p.m., 2012