Mark your calendars - It may not feel like it, but last Friday was potentially the start of the end of the world. Friday, you see, saw the identification that a new 11-year solar cycle has started (as Charlie pointed out) and according to many, when solar cycles peak, so does societal and cultural revolution (look here for evidence of that theory, skeptics). According to New Scientist, we're still a few years away from the peak of this cycle — some researchers predict 2011 and others 2012. Wait... 2012? That date sounds familiar. Something to do with Timewave Zero.

For those who know their Terence McKenna, of course, 2012 just so happens to have particular significance:

The theory of Timewave Zero was revealed to Terence by an alien intelligence following a bizarre, quasi-psychedelic experiment conducted in the Amazon jungle in Colombia in 1971. Inspired by this influence Terence was instructed in certain transformation of numbers derived from the King Wen sequence of I Ching hexagrams. This led eventually to a rigorous mathematical description of what Terence calls the timewave, which correlates time and history with the ebb and flow of novelty, which is intrinsic to the structure of time and hence of the temporal universe. A peculiarity of this correlation is that at a certain point a singularity is reached which is the end of history-or at least is a transition to a suprahistorical order in which our ordinary conceptions of our world will be radically transformed. The best current estimate for the date of this point is December 21, 2012 CE [common era], the winter solstice of that year and also the end of the current era in the Mayan calendar.

My message to those who are making long term plans right now? Don't bother.

Maverick sunspot heralds new solar cycle [New]
Terence McKenna's Timewave Zero [Alternative Culture]