More Mayan Madness

Possibly a little off topic, but interesting nonetheless.

The oldest Mayan calendar has been discovered. That's interesting in its own right, but what makes it fascinating is the fact that it doesn't end after the 13th long count. It continues, using the same dating formula. Obviously, any calendar can be used to produce dates infinitely far into the future. For example, the Gregorian calendar we use can easily show a date billions of years into the future by simply adding digits to the year portion (for example, 100,000 years from now the date will be 05/11/102,012). What makes this new discovery so interesting is that this version of the Mayan calendar does exactly that.

Full story here.

Serious minded people have never put much stock in the idea that the world will end this year because the Mayan calendar concludes a long count of years. The Gregorian calendar we use 'ends' and starts over once a year, so is it any surprise that other systems would do the same? Besides, if the Mayans could predict things centuries away, they'd probably still be around!

Nonetheless, the Mayans did have one thing right. They correctly surmised that there would be a transit of Venus across the sun this year. Coupled with the fact that the 13th long count would begin almost at the same time, it must have seemed like a great omen.


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