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Whether by fire or ice, some say world comes to an end in 2012

SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS from around the world are genuinely predicting that five years from now, all life on Earth could well finish. Some say it'll be humans that set it off. Others believe a natural phenomenon will be the cause. And religious folks say God himself will press the stop button!" So go the postings of Community Forums on the Web.

If you want to read this kind of stuff, just type in "2012" or "end of days." It gets pretty scary and deep. There's the Mayan Calendar that sets Dec. 21, 2012, as the end of the world. This is backed up by theories on the Great Pyramid, in the I Ching, various Hindu teachings, Nostradamus and, of course, the Biblical version of the Apocalypse.

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Those smart Mayans

What's spooky about this is that the Mayans calculated the length of the lunar moon correctly thousands of years ago. So maybe they know what they're talking about otherwise as well. Let's hope not. But scientists say that the winter solstice of 2012 will feature the sun "having a bit of strife." Old Sol has been in a period of relative stability, but solar storms are now kicking up, bombarding the Earth, knocking out power grids and satellites. This could get worse because even NASA sees the sun's magnetic poles swapping places in a move that could burn Earth to a crisp.

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Some physicists concur that the world is overdue for a major catastrophic event - such as one with the volcano under Yellowstone Park, which seems ready to erupt again and produce thousands of deaths and affiliated deaths the world over from a Volcanic Winter: no sun, no crops, starvation.

And then there is Eros, the second largest-near-the-Earth object, which will pass pretty close to us in 2012 on Jan. 31.

Personally, I'm a fatalist, and I have never paid much mind to this kind of stuff. I'd prefer to think that all those other people are right, the ones who believe that 2012 is a portal into what believers call a new "Golden Age." But the other night I was at dinner with a remarkable woman psychic from Florida. She hit the nail on the head answering many questions from other diners. They found her to be amazingly right. So she made me tingle with apprehension when I asked about the year 2012?

She opined that "Yes, things could be bad in that year of magical thinking. We could be struggling." She didn't say, however, that the world would end. Perhaps you shouldn't bother with that facelift.

You might as well relax. You can't do a damned thing about this in any case.

Presenting ...

That long-running coffee klatch known as New York Women in Communications Inc., will give out Matrix Awards again on April 7. This time the honorees are Susan Gianinno for advertising, Anna Deavere Smith for the arts, Robin Roberts for broadcasting, Ruth Reichl for magazines, Linda Greenhouse for newspapers, Joannie C. Danielides for PR, and Anne Sweeney for TV. Fashion's Diane von Furstenberg receives a Lifetime Achievement award.

Their presenters are, as usual, even more famous than the awardees: Chairman & CEO Maurice Levy, the theater's Bill Irwin, Diane Sawyer, Wolfgang Puck, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Donna Hanover, CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Bob Woodruff.

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