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  • December 2012
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The World Didn’t End, and I Feel Fine!

mayanHey…is anybody out there?

If you’re reading this I guess we can assume the world isn’t in complete chaos. Which probably means Planet X didn’t crash into the Earth. And clearly a black hole 30,000 light-years away didn’t suck us up.

So that’s good huh?

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about you must have been living in a cave for the last month.  But just in case you were or you’ve just just managed to tune out to all the hype, I’ll explain

The Mayan Civilization, which occupied a large piece of what is now Mexico and Central America before Columbus arrived, was an extremely advanced ancient culture.  As their civilization grew more complex they found it necessary to develop a system of time, allowing them to keep track of seasons and the length of days.  Like our calendar the Mayan calendar was divided up into small units of time, similar to our own days. Those units when added together equaled longer stretches, think weeks, months and years. The Mayans also developed a separate but connected calendar called the Long Count Calendar.  The Long Count Calendar was set to contain a rotation of shorter periods called Baktuns.  Each Baktun contains 144,000 days, equal to 394.26 years. The Mayans planned for 13 Baktuns in their calendar.

So what’s the big deal?  Well today, 12/21/12 happens to be the last day of the 13th Baktun.   The Mayans figured that even though they hadn’t exactly planned that far ahead (Mayan Civilization was active between the 8th and 9th Baktun) the calendar would carry on to the 14th Baktun just the way it has for the past 5125 or so years.

The Mayans planned for the transition to the 14th Baktun to be a time of great celebration, think the biggest New Years Eve Celebration ever.  And just about every expert claims nothing in space or time seems out of the ordinary.  But that hasn’t stopped Doomsdayers all over the world from predicting that the end of the Mayan 13th Baktun must also mean the end of the world.

Doomsday scenarios have varied widely but the list of predicted 12/21/2012 disasters includes:
1. A mystery planet colliding with Earth
2. A period of 3 days of total darkness
3. A huge undetected black hole that will suck the up the Earth and all its inhabitants.
4. A sudden reverse of the Earth’s rotation that will destroy life on the planet.

I woke up this to a typical winter day in the city and nothing indicates that the end of the world is upon us.

Maybe now with the holiday season in full swing and in light of all the real joy and sorrow in the world we can forget about how the world will end and start thinking again about how to make it a better place.   You can start today by heading over the Party at the End of the World this afternoon.

~Brooke

CLP South Side

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