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Scientists predict end of the world

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - – The end of the world as we know it cannot be avoided, but it can be predicted, according to a group of astrophysicists who see a 50 percent chance of the final countdown ending in 3.7 billion years.

"Time is unlikely to end in our lifetime, but there is a 50 percent chance that time will end within the next 3.7 billion years," according to the team of US and Japanese scientists, who are challenging a long-standing theory of the universe.

While scientists have long concluded that the universe is expanding, and will do so for an infinite period of time, the researchers say the very rules of physics suggest that "an eternally inflating universe" is far from given.

"The point of this paper is to show that certain methods and assumptions that have been widely used by physicists for years -- most prominently, the use of a time cutoff in order to compute probabilities in an eternally inflating universe -- lead to the conclusion that time will end,&q…