Friday, 21 December 2012

Start of the 14th Baktun?

So, we have started the 14th Baktun now? Wikipedia has lots on the Mayan calendar and explains the time units. Overall it is quite impressive that they managed to work out the cycles of sun and moon so well, but I suppose it simply means they were careful to observe and record things - something of a scientific approach perhaps.

Having done lunar billing long ago, I am almost tempted to do solstice/equinox billing for people that want quarterly billing but on more "natural" quarters. Once again, it is interesting to see some of the confusion on this. My wife, for example, is adamant that the winter solstice is always on 21st December, forgetting that actually the days do not fit neatly in the year (hence leap years), so, of course, there will be some variation. Again, wikipedia to the rescue, and you can see, as you should expect, that the winter solstice varies by around a day, from morning of 21st to morning of 22nd depending on the year. She is having none of it, for some reason.

I know of people that are adamant that the lunar cycle is 28 days, but in fact it is around 29.5 days - as can be seen by just looking at a calendar or diary with the lunar cycles marked in it. Or, dare I say it, looking out of the window!

And then we have the whole "blue moon" thing - which has various definitions, and seems to date back to the date of Easter being a particular lunar cycle from the start of the year and some years having a "false" (or "blue") moon that was not Easter as too early. These days it seems to be more commonly "The second full moon in a calendar month", but even that depends on your time zone, of course.

I have to say, I was amused at the apparent fact that "Tourism Australia's Facebook page was bombarded with posts asking if anyone survived Down Under" [Daily Mail]. How do people think the "world ending" could happen in one place before the rest. It amuses me that people think that something like this could happen - that any force or event that could end the world would fit to the way we happen to label years or hours or time in general - like people thinking the world would end on the year 2000. Itis almost like people think time zones are some sort of clever "time travel" type thing, and talking to someone in Australia is like talking to someone that is in the future by a few hours - I bet some people think like that.

But then people are often not rational, what can I say.

At least if the Mayan's had still been around, and had computers, they would have fixed their "millennium bug" issues long ago, this being not the first baktun. That said, apparently there is meant to be a number of baktun in a pictun, and that is unclear if it is meant to be 13 or 20, though if this is baktun number 14 now, that means we started the second pictun (start of baktun number 13) a long time ago given that the Mayan's seemed to understand zero so this is the 15th baktun now really. OK, I am basing all of this on stuff found on the Internet - but then so is pretty much everyone else :-)

If it helps, today is Setting Orange, the 63rd day of The Aftermath in the YOLD 3178.


  1. All Hail Eris.

    There's quite a good (and amusing) writeup of the Mayan Calendar here:

  2. You missed a billing option.
    Free internet all year in 2012 until december 22nd when you'll pay £5000.
    A very good deal if you thought the world was going to end the day before.

    Don't worry though, I expect the world will be ending again some time soon.

    1. Not a bad idea for the next time somebody says there's a Rapture due!