Why the World didn't end yesterday

Dec 18, 2012 by Dr. Tony Phillips
Credit: NASA

NASA is so sure the world won't come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, they have already released this news item for the day after.

If you're reading this story, it means one thing: The World Didn't End Yesterday.

According to media reports of an ancient Maya prophecy, the world was supposed to be destroyed on Dec. 21, 2012.

Apparently not.

"The whole thing was a misconception from the very beginning," says Dr. John Carlson, director of the Center for Archaeoastronomy. "The did not end on Dec. 21, 2012, and there were no Maya prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date."

The truth, says Carlson, is more interesting than fiction.

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Carlson is a hard-nosed scientist—a radio astronomer who earned his degree studying distant galaxies. He became interested in the 2012 phenomenon in the early 70s when he attended a meeting of the and learned about the lost civilization of the Maya.

Where the rain forests of now stand, a great civilization once flourished. The people of Maya society built vast cities, ornate temples, and towering pyramids. At its peak around 800 A.D., the population numbered more than 2,000 people per square mile in the cities—comparable to modern Los Angeles County. The Maya mastered astronomy, developed an elaborate , and left behind exquisite artifacts.

Most compelling to Carlson was the Maya's expansive sense of time. "The times Mayas used dwarf any time scales currently used by modern astronomers," he explains. "According to our science, the Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago.

There are dates and time references in Mayan ruins that stretch back a billion billion times farther than that."

The Maya Long Count Calendar was designed to keep track of such long intervals. "It is the most complex calendar system ever developed by people anywhere."

Written using modern typography, the Long Count Calendar resembles the odometer in a car. It's a modified base-20 system in which rotating digits represent powers of 20 days. Because the digits rotate, the calendar can "roll over" and repeat itself; this repetition is key to the 2012 phenomenon.

According to Maya theology, the world was created 5125 years ago, on a date modern people would write "August 11, 3114 BC." At the time, the Maya calendar looked like this: 13.0.0.0.0

On Dec. 21, 2012, it is exactly the same: 13.0.0.0.0

In the language of Maya scholars, 13 Bak'tuns or 13 times 144,000 days elapsed between the two dates. This was a significant interval in Maya theology, but, stresses Carlson, not a destructive one. None of the thousands of ruins, tablets, and standing stones that archeologists have examined foretell an end of the world.

Modern science agrees. NASA experts recently gathered in a Google hangout to review their own findings with the public.

Don Yeomans, head of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program, stated that no known asteroids or comets are on a collision course with Earth.

Neither is a rogue planet coming to destroy us. "If there were anything out there like a planet headed for Earth," said NASA astrobiologist David Morrison, "it would already be [one of the] brightest objects in the sky. Everybody on Earth could see it. You don't need to ask the government, just go out and look. It's not there."

Lika Guhathakurta, head of 's Living with a Star Program, says the sun is not a threat, either. "The sun has been flaring for billions of years—long before the Maya even existed—and it has never once destroyed the world."

"Right now the sun is approaching the maximum of its 11-year activity cycle," she added, "but this is the wimpiest solar cycle of the past 50 years. Reports to the contrary are exaggerated."

What would an ancient Maya think about all this hoopla? Carlson believes he knows the answer.

"If we could time warp a Maya to the present day, they would say that Dec. 21, 2012, is a very important date. Many Maya believed that their gods who created the world 5125 years ago would return. One of them in particular, an enigmatic deity named Bolon Yokte' K'uh, would conduct old rites of passage, to set space and time in order, and to regenerate the cosmos." The world would be refreshed, not destroyed.

"I have been waiting to experience this day for more than 30 years," he says.

For him, "experiencing Dec. 21, 2012" means visiting the Maya homeland in the Yucatan, and thinking back to the height of Maya civilization, when ancient humans contemplated expanses of time orders of magnitude beyond modern horizons.

Explore further: Archaeologists document highest altitude ice age human occupation in Peruvian Andes

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LariAnn
1.5 / 5 (13) Dec 18, 2012
Many Maya believed that their gods who created the world 5125 years ago would return. One of them in particular, an enigmatic deity named Bolon Yokte' K'uh, would conduct old rites of passage, to set space and time in order, and to regenerate the cosmos.

So, maybe, there it is. Perhaps their "gods" were members of a very ancient, highly advanced space-faring civilization that sent field scientists here to work with the Mayans. That doesn't mean there weren't other humanoids or human experiments going on in other locations on Earth, but this particular experiment had a duration, like all experiments. At a given specified point, the experiment is terminated and final data collected. Then a new experiment may be started, using the information gleaned from the first one. How's that for a Dec. 21, 2012 scenario?
axemaster
5 / 5 (7) Dec 18, 2012
Pretty sure aliens don't chisel stuff on crude stone tablets.

In any case I don't know why NASA is even bothering with a press release. These people will just move on to the next mythical disaster scenario as soon as one pops up.
LariAnn
1 / 5 (9) Dec 18, 2012
@axemaster - in my fanciful scenario, the Mayans did the chiseling to record what was told to them as important by their "gods" - the "gods" didn't need to chisel anything as all the information was already stored in their datasystems. I'm sure the "gods" would never allow any Mayan access to their actual technology, even though they might use it surreptitiously to assist the Mayans in some task that was beyond them. In so doing, they'd help confirm their status as "gods" in the eyes of the Mayans.
baudrunner
1.3 / 5 (11) Dec 18, 2012
If you take that Bak'tun (144,000), and divide it by the number of days in a year (365), and then multiply the result by 13, you get exactly the number of feet in a mile.

The disappearance of any further civilising of Mayan culture would co-incide with the return to Nibiru of the gods who put Mayan civilisation there, and remember that Mohammed was taken up to one of their motherships sometime during the 7th century, although I don't know who Allah is, and how he is related to Anu, or Enlil/Ea, or Enki, or any of the other gods from Nibiru.

The time frames are interesting, since Nibiru has an orbital period of 3,600 years, then Dec 21, 2012 is roughly about half-way into that orbit, given that the last time they were around, it was Mohammed's time. Now then, was it the return phase from perihelion, or the return phase from aphelion?
hyongx
5 / 5 (9) Dec 18, 2012
If you take that Bak'tun (144,000), and divide it by the number of days in a year (365), and then multiply the result by 13, you get exactly the number of feet in a mile.

False. You get 5128. there are 5280 feet per mile by definition.
If you include the leap day (144000/365.25*13) you still get 5125.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 18, 2012
Colliding planets!? That is even stupider than the continually repeating "end of times" stuff.

@ LariAnn: No, not even maybe. Myths of gods are numerous all over the world. Mayans were no different. So nothing to base prediction of "aliens" on, an also recurrent myth.

@baudrunner: And numerology, which always can find a meaningless pattern, is *even stupider* than colliding planets, which close to never happens in a mature planetary system.
baudrunner
1.7 / 5 (10) Dec 18, 2012
False. You get 5128. there are 5280 feet per mile by definition. If you include the leap day (144000/365.25*13) you still get 5125.
Split hairs.

@hyongx: Actually, at the time that the Mayan calendar was invented, there were actually 5128 feet in a mile, but you couldn't have known that of course. The universe has changed a lot since then.
Sinister1811
2.2 / 5 (10) Dec 19, 2012
In any case I don't know why NASA is even bothering with a press release. These people will just move on to the next mythical disaster scenario as soon as one pops up.


Speaking of NASA, I hear they're getting pretty fed up with people asking about the fictional planet "Nibiru". I read this on Wikipedia, and it made me laugh.

http://en.wikiped...reaction
baudrunner
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 19, 2012
@Sinister1811: Uranus and Neptune were described as water bearing, predominantly blue with green streaks, over 6,000 years ago by the Sumerians, who had no telescopes, a fact confirmed by Voyager 2, and Uranus is now described as covered with a 6,000 mile layer of "superheated water, with temperatures as high as 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit", where prior to the Voyager mission NASA would have described it as a gas ball. Neptune was discovered in modern times in 1846 by Le Verrier and Galle, but Sumerian records describe Neptune as "blue-green, watery, with patches of swamplike vegetation" - a direct translation of ancient cuneiform hieroglyphs dating back many thousands of years. How would those Sumerians have known that unless it was related to them from eyewitness accounts by people not of this world? Why is that so hard for you to accept?
Ojorf
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 23, 2012
Oh grief......
Facepalm.
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (6) Dec 23, 2012
Maybe it wasn't aliens.... maybe it was time travellers... Or intelligent leftovers from previous biological epochs... Both are just as plausible as aliens from another planet.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (5) Dec 23, 2012
@Sinister1811: Uranus and Neptune were described as water bearing, predominantly blue with green streaks, over 6,000 years ago by the Sumerians, who had no telescopes, a fact confirmed by Voyager 2, and Uranus is now described as covered with a 6,000 mile layer of "superheated water, with temperatures as high as 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit", where prior to the Voyager mission NASA would have described it as a gas ball. Neptune was discovered in modern times in 1846 by Le Verrier and Galle, but Sumerian records describe Neptune as "blue-green, watery, with patches of swamplike vegetation" - a direct translation of ancient cuneiform hieroglyphs dating back many thousands of years. How would those Sumerians have known that unless it was related to them from eyewitness accounts by people not of this world? Why is that so hard for you to accept?

Maybe Neptune and Uranus were much closer then, a far more likely scenario than "aliens".
VendicarD
5 / 5 (4) Dec 23, 2012
Uranus has a magnitude of around 6 which makes it almost imperceptible to the human eye.

Neptune has a magnitude of 7 to 8 which makes it 2.5 and 6.25 times too faint to be observed by the human eye.

"Uranus and Neptune were described as water bearing, predominantly blue with green streaks, over 6,000 years ago by the Sumerians"

It therefore follows immediately that the Sumerians knew nothing about either of those planets, and you have just dropped a stinking, steaming, log of dung out of your ignorant mouth.

Have you been a moron all your life?
VendicarD
5 / 5 (4) Dec 23, 2012
"Maybe Neptune and Uranus were much closer then," - Cantdrive

Feel free to do some "research" with any commercial astronomical software package you can find that is capable of predicting the placement of the planets, and roll back the date by 6,000 years.

You will find that the orbits of Neptune and Uranus have not changed to any perceptible degree over that period.

Astrophysicists have for decades now had digital computers specifically designed to compute the placement of the planets in the solar system to high accuracy over time spans of billions of years, through the direct use Newton's laws of gravitation, and the subsequently developed perturbation methods that provide greater computational efficiency and accuracy.

So if the orbits of the planets are not essentially what they are now, then either the laws of gravitation have changed over the last 6,000 years or Space Aliens were indeed involved.

Maybe some medicine man on earth had some heap big magic in his magic crotch bag.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (4) Dec 23, 2012
I get 5128.767123.

"If you take that Bak'tun (144,000), and divide it by the number of days in a year (365), and then multiply the result by 13, you get exactly the number of feet in a mile." - BaudTard

Do the moon beams and voices in your head provide you with a different "exact" number?

You do know that there are 5280 feet in a mile don't you?

A Nautical mile is 6076.12 ft.

The Romans divided their mile into 5,000 feet.

What is this new mile have you invented, bubble boy?
Sinister1811
2.5 / 5 (8) Dec 23, 2012
Uranus and Neptune were described as water bearing, predominantly blue with green streaks, over 6,000 years ago by the Sumerians, who had no telescopes, a fact confirmed by Voyager 2, and Uranus is now described as covered with a 6,000 mile layer of "superheated water, with temperatures as high as 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit"


All those claims were put forth by Zecharia Sitchin in his book The 12th Planet.
http://sitchin.com/

None of his views/claims are supported by mainstream archaeologists, astronomers or historians, and are rejected as either lies, or misinterpretations of ancient texts. Many claim that the Sumerians were only aware of 6 planets, and that the word "Nibiru" was a reference to Jupiter.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Dec 23, 2012
I thought that Nibiru was the name Stichen gave to his left testicle.
Sinister1811
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 23, 2012
I thought that Nibiru was the name Stichen gave to his left testicle.


LOL! You're probably right. I wonder what he named the right one.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (7) Dec 23, 2012
Once again, the insistence that ONLY gravity could possibly affect charged bodies within the Sun's plasma environment when we know that EM is 39 orders of magnitude stronger than the puny force of gravity. The Mayan's calender once had 260 days in a year and with the accuracy of their calender to suggest they had it wrong is foolish. There is also volumes of evidence from ancient civilizations across the world that the orbits of all the planets were different eons ago. Being that many of the calenders of the ancients have been change significantly suggests this to be true. This is another instance of modern science ignoring eyewitness testimony and historical reports in favor of their own beliefs and insistence that what we see today is as it's been for billions of years. This is NOT what the evidence supports!
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Dec 23, 2012
"I wonder what he named the right one." - Sinister1811

He called the other one "mother"
Skepticus
2 / 5 (4) Dec 24, 2012
Big deal. Some ancient Mayan calendar had an end date, and the "learned" made a fuss about DoomsDay!, in accord with their religious brainwashing. Then the masses are hoodwinked into the hype. So many thanks to the fanatical Christian Spanish Conquistadors and their accompanying stupid, ego-driven, biased priests for destroying almost all the cultural relics of the Mayans, so noone really knows the Mayan culture, thus the doomsday idiocy was born.
And by the way, the Mayans are not the only ones who has "calendar" of ridiculous time spans. The Indians also have time scales and units that spans from Plank time to trillions of eons..they made them up just for fun, perhaps?