Startup: The Beginning of the End

This is what’s got everyone’s skirt all knotted up: the Mayan calendar. It’s pretty nifty looking, and I haven’t a clue how it works. Apparently, it’s all based on cycles, which would explain the roundness of it. So where does the end of the world appear on this disc? Well it doesn’t. The calendar just starts over. To all those naysayers who insist that we can’t just start over at the beginning on not freak out about it, I’ll remind you that the Gregorian calendar we use does the same thing, albeit more often and with far less elegance. What comes after December 31? January 1 or the end of the world? So what comes after the Mayan Long Count of course! The two biggest differences between our calendar and theirs were:

1. Our calendar cycles on the annum: one orbit of Earth around the sun. Theirs cycles on the on ecliptic precession: one wobble of the Earth on it’s axis. The start of the calendar is when the rising sun of the solstice lines up with the centre of the galaxy from where we view it. The next one happens this December.

2. The Mayans were much more eco-friendly, since their calendar can be reused. Good luck using your 1982 hot-rod calendar to accurately keep track of dates in 2013.

  • pj134

    Good news everybody! You can reuse your 1984 calendar this year!

  • P161911

    No, but you can use your 1984 Top Gun calendar in 2012.

    • pj134

      … I wonder how much I won by.

      • P161911

        Mine shows you won by 1 minute.

        • pj134

          A part of one anyway, when I reloaded both were 6 minutes but changed to 7 vs 6 after I replied to you.

        • OA5599

          Or possibly approximately

  • skitter

    Last year I would have been able to re-use an old Far Side daily calendar, but forgot.
    Now I have to wait until 2018 for another one I have saved to work, unless I find more old ones.

  • fodder650

    Is there an app that will read that calendar for me? I'm to lazy to learn how to read it

  • You only need to buy 14 calendars and you are set forever*.
    Seven possible January 1st times two lengths equals fourteen.

    (*) or until someone with enough power decides that our calendar is stupid and forces a "better" one on us (it's happened before). Or the world truly ends, for example in a few billion years the sun will increase its diameter to a size greater than Earth's orbit…

  • The Professor

    Personally, I think that we should adjust the length of the Earth's orbit and the length of our day with rockets. Big nuclear rockets mounted at the equator. That way we could eliminate both leap years and leap seconds, ugly things that they are, and make adjustments whenever we needed to.

  • navelboxaren

    I feel this is the correct response. We pay it forward.