These cartoons got me curious, so I googled the Mayan calendar thing and found this admirable piece of pseudo-information at Wikipedia:
Scientists have rejected the 2012 doomsday proposals as pseudoscience, stating that they amount to “a distraction from more important science concerns, such as global warming.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon
As long as I’m here and cuz I know you’re all breathless with anticipation … here’s what I understand about the Mayan calendar thing.
December 2012 marks the conclusion of the 13th b’ak’tun in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar which was current in Central America when the evil, greedy white man invaded the oh-so-peaceful native peoples and disrupted their noble history of tribal warfare and human sacrifice.
In our calendar, December 21, 2012 corresponds to the Mayan date 18.104.22.168.0.
According to the ever-accurate Wikipedia, the European association of the Mayan calendar with eschatology (end times, apocalypse type stuff) dates back to that wretched excuse for an American hero, Christopher Columbus, not to be confused with the director/producer Chris Columbus who brought us the fantabulous Harry Potter movies.
As recently as 1966, Michael D. Coe wrote in The Maya that,
“there is a suggestion … that Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the 13th [b’ak’tun]. Thus … our present universe [would] be annihilated [in December 2012] when the Great Cycle of the Long Count reaches completion.”
I can see how a number that starts with 13 and has a whole lot of zeroes would make Christians who have actually read their Bibles think End of the World. Remember Y2K? The same thing happened in Europe at the end of 1,000 A.D. too, just with less computer and internet stuff.
But according to modern Maya experts, a b’ak’tun was just a time period in the Long Calendar, like a millenium, and that completion of the 13th b’ak’tun would mostly have just been a cause for celebration for the Mayans, no doubt involving a giant stone sliding slowly and majestically down a pole in the Mayan Time Square while everybody gets stinking drunk.
Personally, I’m glad we use paper now. Can you imagine the hassle of having to get a new MAYAN calendar?