End of the World or End of an Era?

By  | 

RENO, Nev. -- With the Mayan calendar ending today, many predicted the world would have come to an end, but it's still here.

Volcanoes, asteroids and even zombies were to be the cause of earth's doom, but, locally no one seemed too concerned.

"College kids are using it as an excuse to party," said one UNR student.

Advanced in math and astronomy, the Mayan civilization had created what many believe to be the most accurate calendar.

"The calendar started at zero and continued forward and now we're at the end of the 12th baktun. The 13th baktun is to be found on Friday." Chris Von Nagy, archaeologist.

The Mayans called it the long count. One calendar year is 360 days long and one baktun is equal to 400 years.

"They used the long count for special purposes like astronomy and codices, but they didn't use it in their historical writings anymore," Nagy said.

J.T. Goodman, the owner of a Virginia City Newspaper, "The Territorial Enterprise," gives a local tie to the calendar.

"He gets involved in the Maya glyphs and gets copies of the codices, and gets graphs coming from the works and photos of the ancient cities and he solves it," Nagy said.

Even the Mayans themselves abandoned their calendars.

"They knew perfectly well where they were in time and they knew perfectly well when the next eclipse would be so the leap issue didn't matter to them as much as it mattered to us," Nagy said. "The upside is there is just no prophesy."

The doomsday predictions have more to do with our cultural values.

"Some people are looking for transformation, other people are just fixated on the idea that things come to an end and every time so far, they haven't. We're still here!" Nagy said.

How will the world actually end? Some are praying for a zombie apocalypse, but other take a more scientific route.

"The best prediction is the astrophysicists who give the sun about a five-billion-year lease on life before it runs out of hydrogen," Nagy said.