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"2012" a Miscalculation; Actual Calendar Ends 2220 600

Posted by samzenpus
from the lost-in-translation dept.
boombaard writes "News is spreading quickly here that scientists writing in a popular science periodical (Dutch) have debunked the 2012 date (google translation linked) featuring so prominently in doomsday predictions/speculation across the web. On 2012-12-21, the sun will appear where you would normally be able to see the 'galactic equator' of the Milky Way; an occurrence deemed special because it happens 'only' once every 25.800 years, on the winter solstice. However, even if you ignore the fact that there is no actual galactic equator, just an observed one, and that the visual effect is pretty much the same for an entire decade surrounding that date, there are major problems with the way the Maya Calendar is being read by doomsday prophets." I wonder what Amazon's return policy on a box full of 3 doomsday wolves shirts is?

*

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"2012" a Miscalculation; Actual Calendar Ends 2220

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  • Surprise (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sheepofblue (1106227) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:05PM (#29875727)

    The Sheeple running around yelling the sky is falling is incorrect.... wow that is the first time that has occurred.

  • Didn't RTFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EkriirkE (1075937) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:06PM (#29875733) Homepage
    Have the past, current and this calculation all taken into account all the calendar changes made throughout history?
  • Amateurs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:07PM (#29875743)
    The Mayans were amateurs when it comes to doomsday calendars. We have a doomsday once every 365 days (except on leap years) when our calendar hits December 31.

    Oh. Wait. It's not doomsday? It's just the end of the calendar cycle? Oh. Maybe the Mayan calendar's ending is the same thing and not the end of the world...

    Yeah.
  • Wrong diagnosis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShiningSomething (1097589) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:08PM (#29875749)

    major problems with the way the Maya Calendar is being read by doomsday prophets

    When someone reads the Mayan Calendar and predicts the end of times... I don't think the date is the most important detail they got wrong.

  • by snkboarder (1364487) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:16PM (#29875851)
    In the interest of being unhelpful: What? You're justifying the fact that this end of the world date keeps jumping ahead a few years every few years so that we're in the shadow of a perpetual end of the world? Eventually the sun will burn out and it will be true...and technically they'll be correct, but not because they actually predicted anything, just because if you stand somewhere and say something long enough, in theory it will happen. I can stand outside all summer saying 'It's going to rain today" and then "just kidding, I meant tomorrow." Eventually fall will come and one day it will rain and then...I am a prophet by your logic since you can't mix religious nutbags with scientific fact, as that would disprove them. Instead we should coddle the weak-minded fools because one day, logically, they won't be completely wrong.
  • Re:Assuming... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hojima (1228978) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:20PM (#29875893)

    Your post is incredibly relevant considering that the Mayan calendar simply starts over at that time rather than predicting the end. The Apocalyptic prediction from the calendar was simply speculation that arose from not knowing the language. There's not exactly a Mayan Rosetta Stone so even all that we know about the language is still premature.

  • Re:Assuming... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:21PM (#29875907) Journal

    I was looking forward to saying "Told you so" on 12/22/2012. But they always find a way to weasel out of their crazy predictions.

  • Re:Assuming... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Torodung (31985) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:24PM (#29875951) Journal

    Yup. It's the Mayan Y2K bug. Good thing their calendar is based on mechanical circles. People discussing a 2012 apocalypse are discussing where a circle begins and ends.

  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918@g m a i l .com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:28PM (#29875999)

    Wait a minute, how do you "debunk" a myth or religious belief? The only way to "debunk" it is to wait until Dec 13th and then say, "See, the world didn't end afterall."

    Actually, even if the world does end on the predicted date, the prophesies are still not true. There's no basis for their claims, so they're arbitrary.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:31PM (#29876023) Homepage Journal
    Not only you have to "predict" the end on the world (based on trusty facts like ancient calendars, weird math tricks, how mush grows, holy books, tea leaves and hand lines), but have to pick something flexible enough to show after the predicted time how you made a small mistake and will happen somewhat shortly after anyway (so, i.e. you dont have to return what has been "donated" to your church or something similar because all was ending). Is not the 1st time that the end of the world has been delayed. In Y2K some tough that was after Dec 31/99, but some of the scare survived till Dec 31/00. Jehovah’s Witnesses predicted that all will end in 1874, then 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984.

    There are several lists of those Doomsday predictions, i.e. here [wordpress.com]

  • Re:2220? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kirin Fenrir (1001780) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:46PM (#29876193)
    District 9 was good this year!

    So was...um...

    ...and...uh...

    Well, District 9 was good this year.
  • Re:Damn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tsm_sf (545316) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:59PM (#29876379) Journal
    They've read them, of course. They just conveniently ignore them.

    Well, why should that part of the bible be any different?
  • Re:Damn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clone53421 (1310749) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:12PM (#29876545) Journal

    You say that as if they conveniently ignore the entire Bible. They don't, quite... they usually have a few passages that they conveniently claim to mean something that they don't really, then they repeat those parts over and over to drown out anyone who contradicts them.

  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned&gmail,com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:16PM (#29876599)

    Wait, why's that good news? Why bother to pay it off if the world's just going to end?

  • Re:Wrong diagnosis (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jgtg32a (1173373) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:23PM (#29876731)
    Yup, it was much warmer there so they could wear open toe sandals
  • by Dahamma (304068) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:26PM (#29876763)

    Wow, your post is of the few times Godwin's Law has been invoked for a valid point rather than a blatant troll...

  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by radtea (464814) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:31PM (#29876851)

    they usually have a few passages that they conveniently claim to mean something that they don't really, then they repeat those parts over and over to drown out anyone who contradicts them.

    Almost everyone who calls themselves a "Christian" today does exactly this. They ignore all the contradictions, God-driven violence and slavery in the Old Testament, they ignore that Jesus said not one jot of the law would pass away, they ignore the prohibiition on divorce and remarriage, they ignore the contradictory accounts of the resurrection, they ignore Jesus' claim to have come to put the world to the sword...

    The bits they don't ignore entirely they interpret bizarrely, typically dropping the Jewish context and inserting thier own fantasies.

    It is unfortunately extremely difficult for people like this to even see the words on the page in front of them and interpret them as they would an ordinary text, which is all it is. The act of reading gets replaced by the act of interpretation, so that it is almost impossible for the person so aflicted to so much as consider the possibility that the words might have other meanings than the interpretation they are comfortable with.

  • by mcsqueak (1043736) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:35PM (#29876935)

    Pretty much all of the so-called "educational" channels have degenerated into non-stop conspiracy factories

    Yeah, tell me about it. I don't give a rip about ghosts, demons, Jesus, or any of that other stuff. Give me science and engineering shows! Things like "Monster Machines", "Biggest Suspension Bridges Ever Constructed", "World's Largest Skyscrapers" etc. are at least mildly entertaining and teach me about something real and tangible that I didn't know much about before.

  • Re:Assuming... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:35PM (#29876939) Homepage Journal

    Exactly why should we worry about a calendar developed by a civilization that worshiped corn?

  • by spaceyhackerlady (462530) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:40PM (#29877011)

    The only science here is bullshit.

    They can't even get basic facts right. The so-called "alignment" is 6 degrees off, and happens twice a year.

    The last rollover of a b'akt'un cycle was in 1618. Did anybody notice?

    ...laura

  • by SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:52PM (#29877193)

    Now we're going to have to listen to this nonsense for another 12 years.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:53PM (#29877211) Homepage Journal

    It's sad, Discovery Channel used to be almost all about science. Now it seems to be all about pseudoscience. Still, the History Channel delves into that tripe as well, but they do actually have some history, too -- and science. There's a show called The Universe that's good, Wild West Tech was good (probably cancelled since Carridine died), there's Heavy metal, etc. There was a history of hillbillies yesterday, and there was an excellent show a few months ago about the history of beer.

    They were doing JFK today about noonish. Some tripe, but far more meat than Discovery.

  • Whatever... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hackus (159037) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:55PM (#29877231) Homepage

    As I see it, whenever a calendar marks the changing of an age and in particular the Mayan calendar which, make no mistake these stone agers knew their mathematics, I take pause.

    Secondly, I find it odd, all of a sudden now, after what 200 years of studying this calendar someone with "never before seen insight into Mayan calendar mathematics and observational astronomy" says "Woops, everyone goofed its actually XXXX."

    That is sort of like myself declaring, well...all of you guys thought Octover 27th was tomorrow, but I am smarter than you all, and everyone in the last 200 years that looked at the problem, and I say its 200 years from now.

    The mathematics has been beaten like a dead horse, and indeed the age ends on December 21st on the solstice marker.

    Now, I am not so sure anything dire is going to happen, but I do believe at the end of any age, its closing represents a judgement on the future path time will proceed.

    Be it good or bad, I hope humanity gets exactly what it deserves.

    -Hack

  • by 2gravey (959785) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:56PM (#29877249)
    Wait why are we listening to Mayans again? The world already did end for them, a long long time ago. It seems that their prediction (if it even was one) was way optimistic.
  • Re:Assuming... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Firehed (942385) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:58PM (#29877281) Homepage

    Most modern societies also worship corn - they just process the hell out of it first.

  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:11PM (#29877477)

    Wow, I never even thought about that (I was just going for the "what a stupid concept for a show" angle), but I don't doubt they hate it.

    Actually, maybe these shows provide some value to society: if you find yourself in a conversation with a member of $GROUP_X, all you have to do is bring up the $POPCULTURE_DEPICTION_OF_X show, and just agree with the almost guaranteed strong negative reaction. Nothing breaks the ice like a topic you can both get angry about. ;)

  • Re:Assuming... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abreu (173023) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:17PM (#29877577)

    Go to your local Walmart and count how many products contain "high fructose corn syrup"

    Now who's the corn-worshiping culture?

  • Re:Assuming... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Clock Nova (549733) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:40PM (#29877913)

    "If a civilization is so fucking retarded that it worships an invisible man in the sky, then one can't really take their prediction of the end of the world seriously, don't you think?"

    There, fixed that for you, typos and all.

  • Re:Assuming... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lawpoop (604919) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:58PM (#29878169) Homepage Journal

    ...all the rest were burned because they could contain "Heresay"

    Heresy.

    (No one bothered to translate. Burn first ask questions later).

    I think it was a pretty safe assumption that Mayan texts weren't going to be talking about salvation through Christ and the Holy Roman church. I don't agree with the burnings, but I don't think the Spanish erred in assuming they were going to find heresy in the texts.

  • Re:Assuming... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lawpoop (604919) on Monday October 26, 2009 @07:56PM (#29879251) Homepage Journal
    Another thing to consider is how "religious" people outside the western material world-view are. I bet if we had those documents, they would be chock full of references like "And Chak [the rain god] blessed the land and there was a great crop". This wasn't a religious text, but what they would consider a log of weather and harvest. The idea that a god brought rain was just how the world worked.

    And of course, since this is the record of an empire, every thing done and tax paid would have been for the glory of the King -- a divine person, as all royalty were until relatively recently, a direct decedent of primordial celestial beings, a God on Earth. Of course, this would have been heresy, to pay any honor and respect to Mayan Gods or Kings, because they conflicted with the European God[s] and Kings, who were the rightful rulers.
  • Re:Actually... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by keatonguy (1001680) <`keaton.prower' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday October 26, 2009 @10:49PM (#29880299)

    Long story short, mods are pricks.

  • Re:Assuming... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dcw3 (649211) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @08:18AM (#29882327) Journal

    "If a civilization is so fucking retarded that it worships an invisible man in the sky, then one can't really take their prediction of the end of the world seriously, don't you think?"

    This is insightful? The two have absolutely nothing to do with each other. There are plenty of people who are experts in one field, and complete morons in another (or every other). Just because they had a culture that had a faith that you find ignorant, doesn't make them "fucking retarded".

    Now, all that said, I personally have zero belief in any of this.

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