All the news, including the more reputable outlets, have been pushing stories about the Mayan Long Count calendar and how it ends at 11.13 am today – heralding the end of the world. Well, I’m writing this at 3.36 pm so it didn’t happen.
Haven’t really looked into it but it strikes me that if you use a cyclical calendar, as we do, then it repeats endlessly forever. But it is bound to become inaccurate because of entropy and the world slowing down over the eons (we already have to take this into account with our leap years).
On the other hand, if you use a linear calendar, which I think is what the Mayans were doing, you have a very accurate way of tracking time but you would need to keep updating it as each calendar came to it’s end. Unfortunately the Mayans are not around at the moment to create another calendar to take over from this last one.
It is, of course, the Winter Solstice – at 11.12 am – and the shortest day of the year. From now on the world is moving into summer. It is also the day that John Donne describes as St. Lucie’s day in his nocturnal, although I gather that officially now St. Lucy’s Day is the 13th. December.