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Mayan Calendar

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The Mayan Calendar 2012

Hello time travelers and anyother people living in the future: If you're watching this,it means that the Maya, as they often are, were right. And Hollywood, as italmost always is when it comes to science, was wrong. INTRO I'm talking, of course,about the Mayan calendar, and the winter solstice of 2012.

As you've noticed, Hollywoodshysters, along with some cable TV people and a goodnumber of pseudoscientist authors are trying to convincethe world that maybe it's all going to endon December 21, 2012. The earth is going to split in twoor the poles are going to shift or house cats are goingto rise up against us and make us poop in boxes of sand. And they're all feeling that waybecause of a particular significance

that a particular ancientcivilization put on that very date. And if you're watching thistutorial after December 21, 2012. Well, you may have tofeel a little bit embarrassed about getting allweewee'd up about it. Now I'm not saying thatDecember 21st, 2012 isn't an important date in theMayan calendar, it certainly is. Don't panic! I can personallyguarantee that the world is not going to end on December 21st, 2012.

And here is just oneof the reasons why. It's not even that I don't believethat the world is going to end, it's that the Maya didn't. The Maya had lots of differentways of measuring time. And one of them wasespecially for measuring very long periods of time. Because unlike you and me who can't remember lifebefore Tomb Raider Underworld

the Maya had a reallylong view of time. And they measured it using what'scalled the Long Count Calendar. So check this out. The Maya called a day a k'in. Twenty of these k'ins, twentydays, were called a winal. Eighteen winals, or 360 days,made a tun, or about a year. Twenty tuns were known asa k'atun, or about 20 years. And twenty k'atuns make a b'ak'tun,

which amounted to about 144,000days, or about '4.26 years. The Maya used this system tocount the number of days since what they calledquot;the last creation.quot; Yeah, I said the last creation. Because the Maya believed that we are currently livingin the fourth creation. The first three, the godsscrewed up or whatever and they wanted to start over.

Re Leap Years 2012 The Mayan Calendar

Hello, Internet. A lot of you sent me thisimage making the rounds which concerns the Mayan prediction that the world will end onDecember 21, 2012. The claim is that the Mayan calendar short counted the years because theyforgot about leap days so the world should have already ended. This is followed by Mind= Blown, which I'm not sure how to take. Do people think that the world forgot to haveits apocalypse or that were it not for leap days that we'd already be living in the futureéEither way, it's spawned many an argument that people ask me to explain, which I'm happyto do, because my next big tutorial was delayed by pestilence, which struck me down into thedepths of unproductive misery for the last

few weeks. So, if you haven't already, pleasewatch the related tutorials now as otherwise this won't make a whole lot of sense and thereare a few corrections I'd like to make. The first of these is that I shouldn't have calledthe Mayans quot;Mayansquot;. Maya is the correct singular and plural noun to use in the same way thatsheep is both singular and plural. Mayan is the name of the language and the adjectiveform of the word as in the Mayan civilization. Secondly, I showed a picture of the Azteccalendar stone, rather than a Mayan calendar in my 2012 tutorial, which at the time I thoughtwas okay because the Aztec calendar is the same as the Mayan, just with different names,sort of like the Greek and Roman Gods. And,

frankly, the Aztec one is much cooler looking.But I was still wrong to show it because despite naming it the Aztec calendar stone, archeologistsdon't actually think it's a calendar. And, speaking of stone, I used the term Stone Ageto describe the Maya which made many people very angry. For clarity, Stone Age does notmean stupid, it's the technological classification of a civilization limited to stone tools.Advanced though their astronomy and mathematics were, the Maya never discovered metallurgyand thus couldn't move on to the Bronze Age then the Iron Age then the Diamond Age. Right.Enough corrections. It's explanation time for this image which raised three questions:1) Does the Mayan calendar have leap daysé

2) Did the Maya miscount the years, 3) Shouldthe world have already endedé The answer to all of these is, no. To briefly recap, leapyears exist to stop seasons from drifting out of sync with the calendar, a problem thatvexed Pope Gregory because every year Easter and spring were getting further apart. Tofix this, he introduced the modestly named Gregorian calendar with its fancy leap yearrules to keep the seasons and thus the holidays together. But, while Pope Gregory cared aboutthe seasons, the ancient Maya did not. Presumably because where they lived the weather comesin only one season, too hot and too humid. So the Mayan calendar ignores seasons in favorof accurately tracking the days since the

creation of the Mayan religion. This rendersleaps years an unnecessary complication. Though the Mayan calendar is no stranger to complicationwith its cycles within cycles within cycles within cycles within cycles that, if you'reinterested, Hank Green can tell you much more about. But back to the miscounting claimswhich comes from our idea that leap days are extra days which, of course, they really aren't.The Gregorian calendar doesn't give people extra days any more than daylight saving timegives people extra sunlight. If you transported Pope Gregory 1,000 years back in time to meetthe Mayan Lady Xoc and then made them count the days until this year's winter solstice,they'd agree on that number because they're

just counting sunrises. It's not like PopeGregory with his clever modern calendar would notice 500+ days that the Lady Xoc somehowmissed, perhaps while distracted by the pain from her thorns through the tongue routine.The only thing that they would disagree on is what to call that day with Pope Gregoryinsisting on December 21, 2012 and Lady Xoc preferring the 13th Baktun. So, this imageis wrong because it's an apples to oranges comparison. The Mayan calendar doesn't haveleap days because it doesn't need them. It counts days just fine and its long cycle willfinish on December 21, 2012, but the world will still go on.

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