So... Saturday came and went with no Rapture unless you count the usual, customary, reasonable and quite normal pleasures of the flesh we all indulge in on Saturdays, especially Saturday nights. So, it's one down and one to go... with the next predicted end-o'-the world due to occur on 12/21/2012. Or so says the Mayan calendar according to some people who have trouble distinguishing their ass from their elbow. We've all read THAT, right? I know I have but what I haven't read... beyond the "harrumphs" and "bullshit!" exclamations from people who can tell their asses and elbows apart... is a well-reasoned refutation of the Mayan calendar apocalypse cranks. Until now. From the WSJ:
Like the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican peoples, the Maya followed not one calendar but two, a 365-day civic one they called the ha'b and a 260-day religious almanac known as the tzolk'in; running independently, the two synchronized about every 52 years. The Maya also maintained the so-called Long Count, an unbroken tally of days stretching back to (in our calendar) Aug. 11, 3114 B.C., a day that was thought to mark the day of creation, just as our own reckoning begins with the birth of Christ.Well, so much for the latest apocalyptic prediction, as if ya actually needed a noted scholar and archaeologist to refute the conspiracy stuff. But it helps.
For the Maya, Dec. 21, 2012, would have been a red-letter date, the completion of a 144,000-day (or nearly 400-year) period called a bak'tun, and it would have been marked with ceremonies presided over by their kings. But the milestone—known as "126.96.36.199.0 4 Ahaw 3 K'ank'in" on the Long Count calendar—would not have signaled the end of the world. Rather, it would have heralded the beginning of a new bak'tun, a resetting of the cosmic odometer analogous to the one we marked on January 1, 2000.
Out of the thousands of known Maya inscriptions, "188.8.131.52.0 4 Ahaw 3 K'ank'in" appears in exactly one—as a simple mention with no dire undertones. Moreover, Mr. Stuart suggests that the Maya computed dates nearly 72 octillion years into the future—that's 72 followed by 27 zeros—by which time, modern scientists tell us, the universe will have ended for real. Such extended calculations seem an unlikely pursuit for a people who expected the apocalypse to arrive long, long before.