Thursday, May 10, 2012
Who Then, If Not the Mayans?
The Mayan calendar spans a period of 5,126 years and happens to end on December 21, 2012. To many, this means that the Mayans had privy knowledge about the ultimate fate of the world. To me, it means that Mayan calendar salesmen didn't have many repeat customers.
I have a calendar hanging on my wall that was created by a civilization much more advanced than that of the Mayans. My calendar stops on December 31, 2012. Well, it actually stops on January 31, 2013 if you count the mini January superimposed in the bottom right-hand corner of December. Does this mean that the maker of my calendar is predicting the world will end next January? Maybe it does, I've actually never met the man. But we probably won't see many big-budget Hollywood productions pop up based on his calendar. Why then the Mayans'? Probably because they carved theirs on a rock.
If people want to prove whether or not the Mayan calendar really is inexorably tied to the fate of the planet, why not check to see if the world began existing on August 11, 3114 BC? I mean it must have, right? That's when the Mayan calendar starts.
You may be thinking that I'm just out to bash all the lunatics jumping on the Mayan bandwagon, but I'm really not. See, as common sense erodes my faith in the Mayans' ability to tell the future, I'm left with a problem. Who really does know when the world is going to end? I know a lot of people say we should live our lives as if every day were our last, but that's just not practical. I certainly wouldn't go to work on my last day in mortality. I wouldn't worry about retirement planning, exercise, taxes, or even bathing. It therefore behooves me to find out exactly when the world is going to end, so I can know when to stop wasting my time with all those things. But whom can I trust to make an accurate prediction?
That question was rhetorical. Not because it has no answer, but because I already know how to find the answer. And don't worry, this is scientific.
The current world population is roughly 6.8 billion. If we have every person on earth make a prediction about the end of the world by picking a distinct day between now and 6.8 billion days from now, we'll have the next 18.6 million years covered. When the world ends, we'll check the list and see who picked the correct day. That person will be the person we can trust, and we can start making life plans around his/her prediction.
But wait! What if the world lasts longer than 18.6 million years from now? Don't worry. Each new day approximately 490,000 children are born. As soon they're old enough to point to a number, we'll have them pick a date. This will extend the number of predicted days by over 1300 years every day. Using this system, we'll never hit the end. I mean... until we hit the end.
So hurry up and pick your day because they'll go quick. We'll reserve December 21, 2012 for the Mayans, and January 31, 2013 for the dude who made the calendar hanging on my wall.