HISTORIANS and scientists have ruled out the end of the world in 2012 after a German expert re-read an old tablet.
German Sven Gnomemower said the famous Mayan reference to 2012 as the final apocalypse was actually referring to a new beginning and the return of an obscure god nobody heard of and who may not exist.
Despite the assurances, doomsayers on street corners remained convinced that the end was nigh.
"I'm not really sure what nigh is but I'm fairly sure it's coming," one wide-eyed person with long unkempt hair said.
"Politicians are debating gay marriage, European countries are going broke, the Chinese are the most entrepreneurial people in the world and Tony Abshot is ahead in the polls.
"Clearly something is askew in the universe."
US President Brack Oblama said he had ordered his government to make preparations for the end of the world "just in case".
"As we saw with the Y2K bug and the Kevin 07 government policies," he said, "generally if you waste billions of dollars preparing for something, it is a guarantee that it will never happen."
Ordinary punter Bill said he was concerned about the end of the world because he had bought tickets to the tennis many months in advance.
"I'm hopeful that the world ending will not void the full refund policy," he said.
Greens Leader Bob Frown said he was looking forward to the end of the world so he could say "I told you so" to everyone.
"If the world ends next year we can blame food packaging, electricity, cars and woodchipping of native forests," he said.
"It will be a valuable lesson that we should always listen to discredited ancient proclamations from extinct races about obscure gods that may or may not exist."
Mr Gnomemower said the Mayan text was carved about 1300 years ago and might be slightly unreliable.
"The stone has also cracked, making the end of the passage almost illegible," he said.
"Making a solid prediction about the end of the world based on an old piece of stone from a race that didn't survive using text that is probably wrong may not be particularly smart."
Prime Minister Julia Gizzard said she hoped the world would not end next year but her only reliable advice on the subject had come from a John Cusack movie she had watched on DVD at the lodge.
"According to the movie the world will pretty much break up and the oceans will rise," she said.
"Based on my track record this year I fully expect to be blamed for that."
Thirsty Cow is fiction. Any similarities with real people and situations is not the end of the world.