''The world didn't end...!'' (It was a misunderstanding... oops!)
End of the world – as it didn't happen
The Maya Long Count calendar reads '18.104.22.168.0' ('thirteen b'aktun') for the first time in 5,125 years, believed by some to mark the end of civilisation. Our correspondents report on preparations for the apocalypse around the world, which turned out to be unnecessary, and speculate about how and when the Earth will meet its inevitable doom.
Welcome to the apocalypse
History is littered with doomsdays that have come and gone. The end of civilisation seems to hold a morbid fascination for people, through a combination of grim excitement over how the end might come, and more individual thoughts of our own extinction.
The Mayans did not predict anything bad for today. Their calendar has simply run out. Nothing more, nothing less. But that has not stopped people preparing – inasmuch as it is possible to prepare for the apocalypse. For all the nonsense, there have been implications for the real world.