So this weeks topic was suggested a couple of weeks ago by the fantastically hilarious Thundercat832 (a word of warning on her blog, it's not exactly work safe.) She felt I could give a good take on the whole 2012 thing.
So what will happen in 2012? Well, there will be earthquakes, volcanic eruption, hurricanes, typhoons, blizzards, floods, drought, disease, and several tons of space rock will rain down. Sounds like a pretty standard year to me, in fact, all of this stuff happens all of the time. It is tragic, but is the nature of living on an active and dynamic planet. Heck, without these processes, life might not have arisen in the first place and evolved to the point of human intelligence.
Well then, what is all this mumble jumble that people seem to be saying about 2012? Apparently it has to deal with the Mayan Calendar. The basic belief that I think people have is that the world is predicted to end on December 21st, 2012. The Winter Solstice.
|Just ask my friend Oscar Mayer.|
This is a society that also valued calendars: with social, agricultural, commercial, and administrative elements, but mostly there was a religious element. Every day had a patron saint for specific use. The Calendar Round was a combination of calendars that lasted 52 years, or approximately one generation. They even had a the "Venus Cycle" incorporated, being keen astronomers, based on it's position in the sky.
This calendar wasn't great for recording history though. So they expanded on to it in what became known as the "Long Count" calendar, which lasts 5126 years. However, this calendar is a bit confusing to read, it relies on the Mayan use of base 13 and base 20 numbers, where our calendar uses base 10. But one way of interpreting is that it starts on the arbitrary date of August 11th 3114 BCE, and ends on December 21st, 2012. The arbitrary start date is because the Mayan's had to account for the history of time before the calendar was made.
So, it is merely the end of a cycle, and the calendar my actually continue on until around 8000 CE. If anything though, the actual Mayan mythologists and archeologists suggest that they predicted an age of enlightenment, not a doomsday. The ideas of catastrophe are most a reflection of our own society reading into the end of something as bringing about the end of civilization. Which just is NOT the case.
So, no. Do not expect Planet X to knock the Earth off axis or Gamma Ray Bursts to cook the planet or a sudden change in the magnetic poles that sends us into a deep ice age. You will be safe. And if anything, you should kick back and celebrate the rich Mayan heritage as an era passes. Another good read on the subject can be found on Universe Today.
Also, make sure to vote for next weeks topic, you have until Monday!