I’m not an expert on the Mayan calendar, but sometimes you just need to exercise a little logic to know that you are right.
On one of the popular TV shows, one of the hosts said that the Mayan calendar measured time with the precision of an atomic clock. Below are pictures of a Mayan calendar and an atomic clock.
The Mayan calendar is a crudely carved rock; the atomic clock is a precisely constructed machine that includes intricate electronics and measuring devices. Does it seem reasonable that these two devices are equally accurate?
Of course it’s not fair to judge the Mayan calendar by its looks. In fact the carved stone is not the calendar but a symbol of it. The calendar is determined by observing the procession of heavenly bodies through the sky.
Still the smallest unit on the Mayan calendar is days and the atomic clock can measure roughly 9 ten-billionths of a second. Which one would you time a NASCAR race with? Or an Olympic 100 meter dash? Or even the New York Marathon?
I dare say that a good old Roman sundial would surpass a Mayan calendar in measuring these events, and so would an hourglass, a water clock, or just about any device used to measure any increment of time shorter than a day.
Maybe it would be more accurate to say that a Mayan calendar keeps better track of days, years and epics than a Julian calendar, or a Gregorian calendar. The statement is ambiguous. Do we mean the Mayan 240 day calendar or the Mayan 365 day calendar? We could throw in a 584 day Venetian calendar as well. Any calendar that moves July into the dead of winter isn’t going to work. Everyone knew that, whether Mayan, Roman, or Medieval, and they all adjusted their count to make the solstices dependable so the villagers wouldn’t get confused and think it was snowing in the middle of summer. For the Gregorian calendar that means an extra day in leap years. If I remember correctly, the Mayan calendar occasionally requires a group of celebration days to get back into adjustment. Of interest and significance the Mayan short and long calendar have a common multiple every 52 years, thereby completing a cycle. [An interesting recital of Mesoamerican legend with calendar references is Tony Shearer’s Lord of the Dawn>.]
The current Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012.
Will it be the end of life on Earth? If so, how will it end?
Answer the following poll and we’ll see what the majority thinks.