It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

Columnist

I have good news for those that are concerned about the impending end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012: it isn’t going to happen. Of course, if that was your student loan re-payment strategy, I guess that news isn’t so good.

For those of you who have been living in a cave on Mars for the past couple of years, I’m talking about the Mayan Calendar coming to an end. The Mayans were one of several Mesoamerican civilizations to use this calendar. However, the Maya had a better agent than the Aztecs and had the calendar named after them. 

The calendar is a base-20, base-18 system. For example, the day Municipal University of Wichita became Wichita State University – July 1, 1964, would be expressed in the Mayan calendar as 12.17.10.14.13. The first digit is the bak’tun, or the Mayan equivalent of the century.  “Man, that guy is so eleventh bak’tun,” was a common insult in Mayan culture. We are currently in the twelfth bak’tun. 

The big concern is we’re rapidly coming on the thirteenth bak’tun (13.0.0.0.0) on Dec. 21, 2012. The tin-foil hat crowd believes the Maya stopped counting after this point, and hence, were expecting the end of the world. In reality, calendars have been found that chart the movements of astronomical bodies through Apr. 9, 3984 or 18.0.0.0.0.

What will happen on Dec. 21, 2012?  If you’re Mayan (and I doubt that), you’ll have a New Year celebration for a period that began on Sept. 20, 1618 (12.0.0.0.0).  So, I’d forgive you for getting a little “primitive” during that party.

If you want to have fun with the Mayan calendar, and generate your own significant dates (birthday, anniversary, the day your car registration expires) for engraving on your wall visit this link. Just don’t go overboard with the human sacrifices; true Maya don’t roll like that.