According to some, the world will end this week. They base that dreary prediction on a particular interpretation of Mayan cosmology. Even though most Mayan scholars say the calendar on which the prediction is based calls for the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new cycle, not the end of the physical world, the gloomier take has gained some traction in American culture.
So much traction, in fact, that NASA has felt the need to announce everything will be fine. The interesting question is why some people would accept the vague prediction of a Stone Age level society of a limited universe instead of the extraordinary, complex cosmos, brimming with possibilities, that modern science has revealed. That would seem to highlight a monumental failure of the American education system.