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End of the World? Looks Like We Made It

Some people believed the world was ending on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, based on the Mayan calendar. Where did they get this idea? Here's a history of the Mayan calendar apocalypse theory.

Looks like we survived.

Those who believe strictly in the Mayan calendar said the world was going to end at 11:11 a.m. Friday, universal time. That was 3:11 a.m. here in California.

Guess that means you can go about your daily business and, more importantly, the events calendar on our site is still relevant.

The doomsday predictions surrounding the Mayan calendar and the supposed end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012 do bring up a couple questions.

The first... if it really were the final day of the Earth's existence, what would you do in your final 24 hours? Share your end-of-the-world plans in the comments.

The second... where did people get this idea in the first place? 

It starts with the Mayan calendar, which apparently the Mayans didn't even invent. They took some previous cultures' calendars and sort of upgraded them. Maybe it was Calendar 2.0 back then.

The Mayans' calendar is a bit complicated. It involves three wheels, one of them called the "long count." That one ends on the winter solstice in 2012.

Scientists say that doesn't mean the world is going to end. It just means we reached the end of that particular calendar cycle. They say that particular Mayan wheel just starts over again, like we do with our Gregorian calendar every Jan. 1.

There is also the contention that leap years have completely thrown off this whole thing.

The Mayan long calendar is thought to have begun on what is Aug. 11, 3114 B.C. on our calendar. That's 1,872,000 days ago.

However, leap years were instituted by Roman emperor Julius Caesar in 45 B.C. There have been 514 leap years since then. Without those, the date on our calendars would have been July 28, 2013.

Others point out the leap years don't matter. It's 1,872,000 days since the long count calendar began, so today is the last day of that cycle, no matter what our calendar says.

In either case, Day Zero on the Mayan calendar will be Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012... unless, of course, the doomsday predictions are true.  

Some people say they do have scientific reasons to believe the world is going to end Friday. There are a number of theories circulating.

One of them involves a galactic alignment that will create chaos on Earth because of the gravitional effect on the sun and a black hole. Scientists say no such alignment is happening and, even if it did, it would have little if any effect on Earth.

Another is a "polar shift" where the North Pole and South Pole basically switch places. Scientists say the Earth is overdue for such a change.

Now, that would be catastrophic... if it actually took place in one day. However, geologists say this "pole reversal" takes 5,000 years to complete.

There are those who are taking the doomsday predictions seriously and they are frightened. There are reports of an increase in sales of candles and other essentials in China and Russia. One group in France is converging on a mountain top under the belief that aliens will rescue them.

A Pleasanton mother told us her daughter came home from school worried because of all the talk about the end of the world. She wanted to make sure they'll have Christmas this year. The mom assured the young girl Dec. 25 will come around on Tuesday of next week.

There are also those planning to celebrate what they consider a special day Friday. Some New Agers in New Mexico are holding a festival this weekend to mark not the end of the world but the beginning of a new era.

Scientists are reassuring. They say this December 21 will be nothing more than a normal December solstice. That's the day, of course, when the North Pole is tilted at 23.5 degrees away from the sun.

Friday is also the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. So, go out and enjoy what daylight there is.

Leslie Clawson December 21, 2012 at 06:09 AM
L. Clawson I am going to be in the kitchen making cookies. My Dad likes cookies and if the world is going to end in a blaze of fire, I won't need to turn on the oven, if it ends in flood it's probably a good idea to wash them away, cuz sometimes the cookies need to be washed away. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Ya'll.
Chris J Kapsalis December 21, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Damns in California are maintained at between 50% and 67% of their capacity because, they say, because of earth quake concerns or slumping damns and other reasons, and an overflow or breach is rare, but results can be cartographic. But As I said, I think they over do it. The reduced storage capacity hampers the states ability to store water in the event of future droughts, a condition which often plagues California.In the event of heavy rains, the state will not be able to store the additional water due to these new restrictions. And spare me, I have researched plenty, perhaps you should do some researching yourself. You might be surprised just how much water is released and not stored, and no, every little bit does not always help, when it is released as fast as it come in. Also as I said to make room for a possible heavy snow melt from a late season warm rain. I think there are legitimate concerns and reasonable release amounts, but it is being manipulated to keep our reservoirs low and water rates high, and lowering our ability to prepare for real droughts. We need better water management imo.
Jojo Potato December 21, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I'm going to break into the City Council chambers and repeal every ordinance they passed over the last 20 years. And then steal a bulldozer and destroy Nieman Marcus and Tiffany's. What fun!
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Why does it look like the headline was take from a Barry Manilow song? By The Way, the sunrise over the Livermore parking structure is nice and pink this morning.
Styler December 21, 2012 at 04:37 PM
There is no need for the cussing now, It is Dam or Dams. No N necessary in this meaning of the word.
Geoff Burton December 21, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I hope it's alright with everyone but I'm going to skip this years End Of The World, I have to much to do today.
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 04:52 PM
So tell us, Mr. Kapsalis, How will the results be "cartographic"? The only way I can see that be such an issue is if some human being makes a map with those features included, from the dam structure itself to the water it holds back, and perhaps even the topographical features of the surrounding land. I don't think anybody that has to endure the next dam collapse catastrophe, such as the one outside of Morgan Hill when or if the Anderson Lake dam fails and if it does may take out parts of Morgan Hill and cut off one of the major thoroughfaires between northern and southern California in the process, will be worried about how it looks on a map. But I would love to see how the results could be cartographic as Mr. Kapsalis describes them. How would Rand McNally define them vs. H.M. Gousha if they are still around? How about the Open Map Project vs. Google Maps or what Bing is trying to reverse engineer? To me, those would be more about cartographic issues than catastrophic ones, but that's me.
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 04:55 PM
No descendant of Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, be they Biff or Griff, should ever be in a position to replicate their DNA and spread that chaos through the rest of the human gene pool.
Chris J Kapsalis December 21, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Joke all you want, but when you can't flush you toilet for a week due to excessive and unneeded over water realease and pay through the nose for water and have dry lawns and empty swimming pools ( while btw Southern CAlifornia will have big beautiful lawns, swimming pools and movie stars ) don't blame me.
Chris J Kapsalis December 21, 2012 at 05:05 PM
The world is ending Styler, and thats all you are worried about?
Zolla December 21, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I'm going to sit here and count my gold bars & check on my accounts in the British Virgin Islands while I watch that Socialist PIG herd this county like cattle over the cliff. The world might not have ended today, but this counrty has.
Peggy Russell December 21, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Darn it now I have to go out and buy Christmas presents.... lol glad to be here still!
Captain Bebops December 21, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Be sure to take advantage of today's "end of the world" sales. No interest until June.
Jed December 21, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Most of the Mayans got wiped out by the Spaniards... could this be their revenge? It worked for Montezuma..... (but why do Mayan descendents still speak SPANISH?)
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 06:03 PM
If it gets to the point where we can't flush our toilets as Mr. Kapsalis is so overly concerned about, then perhaps it may be time to move to somewhere where there wouldn't be this worry, like on a farm that has to rely on groundwater through their own pump system or even a bunch of cisterns that capture the rainwater/snowmelt and store it. Besides, why should storm drains ultimately drain into the bay and waste that water, which could also be made potable? Shouldn't the water that ends up in the storm drains instead be diverted to a water treatment facility so that it could be made safe to drink and bathe in? And as for how southern California seems to waste the water they get their hands on, much of that was diverted from somewhere else and when they are criticized for their use, they usually fire back at how my people out there on the Front Range use the water from which some of it flows into the Colorado River--or is diverted from it like the CBT Project, which takes Colorado River Water and diverts it to the Big Thompson River so that the eastern folks in the Colorado River Water Compact can get their allotments. The Braskies and the Kansies along with the Okies to a lesser extent also rely on that water just like the Zonies and the Caco-phonies do. And as a Coloradoan, it offends me when I see folks in Vegas use that Colorado River Water in foutains in front of casinos. Now that is a waste of water unlike swimming pools, which people swim in.
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I used to experience "Montezuma's Revenge" on Thursdays, when the cafeteria at the place I used to work out there in Milpitas served Mexican Food and I had to have my "sinker burrito", which was always good going in, but not so good going out.
Styler December 21, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Yes, that is pretty much all I am worried about at the moment. I am thinking about all the events that are happening in my life next year, since the world will still be here.
George March December 21, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Well, as the Mayan calendar predicted, and science had confirmed, Happy Solstice!!
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 07:37 PM
They certainly were better at this kind of math than either my ancestors or even the Romans were at the time the Mayans were flourishing. It was probably a good thing for both my ancestors and perhaps the Mayans, too that there was an ocean between us and that we did not know what existed on the other side of that ocean--perhaps the Vasconians knew, but not much of anybody else and the Vasconians weren't telling anybody until Colon came along and learned from his captains and his navigators but that's more 15th Century than 5th Century. Given who these folks appeared to be, they even made the Romans look civilized in comparison, especially how they treated foreign peoples they encountered.
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 07:56 PM
And as for why the surviving Maya speak Spanish (and even American English) these days is more to do with the culture that the Spaniards brought with them and that it inundated the indigenous cultures around them, much like my ancestors' culture inundated the Cherokee and the other aboriginal populations here in North America. The Spaniards, like my English and American ancestors, did not go about learning the customs and cultures of the peoples they conquered any more than the Romans learned the customs and cultures of the Gallic tribes, the Vasconians or even the Carthaginians or the Greek colonists they encountered on their way to becoming that dreadful empire that my Germanic ancestors encountered. The conquering people usually have everybody, settler, soldier, occupier, visitor and conquered person alike, conduct business and follow the customs of the conqueror, not the other way around. It's how Gaul became Latinized and in turn became France, with that Latin with a Gallic accent becoming French long after Rome fell or how peoples like the Cherokee or even the Maya became so enculturated with the customs, languages and cultures of the peoples that conquered them, long after the jungles reclaimed those cities and temples out there in southern Mexico became forgotten.
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 07:59 PM
What about taking pictures of your neighbors on the street where you live and evoking their ire once again?
Jed December 21, 2012 at 08:10 PM
WAIT A MINUTE.... that was Marvin THE MARTIAN, not MAYAN, who was going to blow up the earth (but forgot his PEW-38 Explosive Space Mod-U-laytor....)!
James Nelson December 21, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Californicated, First off, too much of a Coward to have your REAL name Listed? .... Secondly, that's something I do on a Daily / Nightly Basis! You should see when I go out every night and put my DSLR on it's Tripod to take Photos of the Night Sky, all my Neighbors shut their Windows and curtains. LMAO ....
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Are we sure that a name as common as "James Nelson" could be as real or as fake as "Californicated1"? http://www.zabasearch.com/people/james+nelson/ca/ So which "James Nelson" are you on that list? Considering that ZabaSearch did not go through and list all the people named "James Nelson" in California, this is only the first 100 listings. If you are posting under your real name, you are the one that may be playing with fire and possibly "Russian Roulette" with your personal identity and information, especially if this "James Nelson" is actually listed on what I gathered on the above link, complete with their phone number, which would also make it easier to get further information and steal credit information and other things about your identity. So who is more foolish? The one using a fake name like "Californicated1" or the one using a plain name like "James Nelson" and putting the rest of their personal information, even information that they may make their living and trade on if they were a professional, at great risk? Pot meets kettle and calls it "black".
David Mills (Editor) December 21, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Hi, folks... a request to please stick to the material in the article and not get into back-and-forth accusations with each other
James Nelson December 21, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Californicated, I'm impressed that you know how to do Google Searches, many don't. I'm not Listed on there, nor any other List. I spent Months, making sure all my Personal Information was Secure. As a Former Hacktivist, I know all about Personal Safety & Security. Want to know the Kicker? I just don't give two S*(ts! People like you LIVE in Fear because of the "What If's", instead of just going about your Life. Did you know your Bank, Cable, Internet, ETC has more Information on you than a Stranger could get? Anybody at your Bank could browse ALL your Intimate Information and you'd never know. Nice try, save the Scare Tactics for someone who's brand new to the Internet, I been on here since 1997 Trust me, I'm safe.
Steve December 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM
No mortals can predict such things.Monsters and disasters are usually of our own making and I think a symptom of boredom.Life at times, especially this time of tear can be especially dull. People love to fabricate the sensational.I only belive what I have seen and can feel and take care of the here and now.
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I may have been on the Internet longer than you, Mr. Nelson, since September of 1989, when my College Library in Grad School introduced me and my class to CompuServe, where a reference search cost me 15 minutes' worth of time and $108.00. And I know you should not be playing fast and loose with your personal information, even your name, and am flummoxed, sometimes appalled, by people who do. As I have mentioned before, it's usually best sometimes to use a moniker instead of a real name, because sometimes if one trades on their name and reputation for their profession, it's better to maintain a sense of privacy. As mentioned before, one may be better to hide in plain sight with a name like "James Nelson" because there are a lot of people with that name out there than it would be with Sid Jefferson, where there are only six listed in the US.
Judie Palmer December 21, 2012 at 11:02 PM
The Mayan calendar never said it was the end of the world. It is a beginning of a new era. Lets all hope it is a better era.
Californicated1 December 21, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Hopefully the new era won't be like any of the old, as even the Spiradellis brothers like to depict. The have released their recap for 2012 and it is funny: http://bit.ly/XWr4w8 Enjoy and Bodacious Bak'tun everybody!

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