Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I know a guy who is pretty clever, and well researched with things.  I, and many others, refer to him as Arch (though that's not his real name) and many of us picture him looking like the picture I've included.

Though perhaps an Indiana Jones style hat might be more appropriate.

Being an exceedingly knowledgeable, jet-setting archaeologist, he had the following to say about the so-called 'Mayan Apocalypse':
The idea of 2012 as an apocalyptic/significant event stems from a misunderstanding of the Mayan Long Count.

The Long Count calendar is a base-20 system of dating from what, in western terms, is 11 August 3114 BC. There are four primary subdivisions consisting of the k'in (1 day), the winal (20 days), the tun (360 days), the k'atun (7,200 days) and the b'ak'tun (144,000).

The Popol Vuh, a book of creation myths from just one of many Mayan sub-groups, states that we're living in the 'fourth world', and that the 'third world' ended - and the previous creation began - at the start of the 14th b'ak'tun, or when the previous cycle's calender rolled over from to (for those without access to a calculator, that's 1,872,000 days per period). This is the basis for the 2012 myth.

However, there's no evidence, archaeological or documentary, that any Mayan group believed that the start of the 14th b'ak'tun of the current era would lead to the end of the world, there's no need to stop counting at the start of that b'ak'tun, and there are several Mayan inscriptions that anticipate events (such as future anniversary celebrations) taking place after the end of the 13th b'ak'tun.

Note that there are also some rarely-used higher subdivisions above the b'ak'tun which further invalidate the idea that the calendar 'ends' in 2012, and I've simplified the base 20 system for the k'atun and the b'ak'tun, though this is relevant to the discussion (they seem to only go to 13 when they're the highest subdivision counted, but do the full 20 roll-over when the next highest subdivision above them is included in the date). But essentially, the Mayan calendar is capable of expressing dates of hundreds of millenia forwards or backwards when the higher orders are used, and there's no reason to end the calendar at the conclusion of the 13th b'ak'tun.
 I would have just summed it up as 'gullible, media-influenced foolishness', but his version has more apostrophes. Happy no-pocalypse, everyone.

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