Around Louisiana: Greater New Orleans
CAUSE TO CELEBRATE
Tulane University has long been a leader in studies of Central American archaeology. Marcello Canuto, director of the Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University, was among the first to discover that the Mayan writings that allegedly predicted the end of the world were misinterpreted. Using the text of ancient documents he found in Guatemala, Canuto, as reported by WWL-TV in New Orleans, explained: “So it’s sort of like actually trying to use their calendar not to predict the end of the world but try to avoid the end of the world. They’re trying to say the world will continue; it’s a grand cycle.”
According to the WWL story, Canuto said that the Mayan text makes it clear the world will go on for centuries and that the Mayans did not consider the calendar phase that ended this year to be the final chapter for mankind.
Canuto also wondered why so many people were taking the Mayans’ predictive ability so seriously: “That’s what I’ve always found curious, is that everyone worries about the Maya predicting the end of the world in 2012, but nobody worries about the fact that they couldn’t predict their own collapse.”
For some possibly insane reason, I Googled NASA, never expecting they actually had an opinion about all of this. To my surprise, they did.
So sit back, and allow me to try to explain why we’re all still here today.
According to NASA, the 2012 flap was all flapdoodle. It all started with one fable linked to another – that of the planet Nibiru, discovered supposedly by the Sumerians, that was on a collision course with Earth. When it didn’t reach us as it was supposed to in 2003, the crash date was extended to 2012 to coincide with the Mayan calendar’s end. It was an Internet hoax.
NASA further states that no planetary alignments with Earth are due within the next few decades and would have little effect on us anyway. NASA neatly sewed up another theory that the Earth would slip through a black hole in the Milky Way due to the Earth and sun lining up with the center of the galaxy – according to this group of aeronautic and astronomical experts, this occurs every December; the Earth and sun actually align with the center of the Milky Way as regularly as annual visits from Santa Claus. Further shattering the dreams of all the doomsday criers, NASA reports that a reversal of the rotation of the Earth is impossible; a harmless magnetic polarity reversal occurs every 400,000 years and is not due to occur in the next few millennia.
Oh, did I mention that NASA astronomers have also determined through the Spaceguard Survey that no big asteroids seem to be heading our way? We can watch with peace in our hearts as the crescent moon rises over the Crescent City and not fear the beautiful stars in the sky.
So get ready for Mardi Gras, which falls on Feb. 12, 2012, and party hearty. After all, we’ve survived extinction. Maybe we should dress as Mayans.
MANUFACTURING THE FUTURE
Late last summer NASA and Bayou State leaders announced a five-year commitment to extend a partnership with one of NASA’s primary resources in Louisiana, the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, or NCAM. This partnership currently includes Michoud and the University of New Orleans but will also expand to embrace the fine engineering and research abilities that LSU in Baton Rouge can offer. The goal is to enhance the growth of Louisiana’s skilled aerospace work force while maintaining the level of world-class manufacturing (regularly performed at Michoud) throughout all of their endeavors. Additionally, NCAM plays a strong educational role by sponsoring a conglomerate of research universities for the development of materials and manufacturing technologies, boldly going where no man has gone before to benefit not only the space program but also life here on earth. Their discoveries will be transmitted to the commercial market and institutions of higher learning nationwide.