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They [the Mayans] lived about 1350 years ago

So, while we're on the topic of scientific accuracy (cultural anthropology is too science), I'd like to point out that the Mayans aren't some kind of ancient, mystical "lost race." They represent the majority of the populations of modern Guatemala and the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. Thanks to immigration, you can find Mayans, speaking Mayan languages and engaging in Mayan cultural practices, living in modern cities all over the world. I live in a city with a large Mayan immigrant population, and I see real, flesh-and-blood Mayans every single day.

One of the things that gets lost in the hoopla over the horrible physics of 2012 is the horrible anthropology of treating Mayans -- who have been waging a very real struggle for centuries against colonialism, poverty, racism, and human rights abuses -- like they were extinct. I guess if the Mayans are extinct, then we don't have to worry about exploiting them.

Furthermore, while the Maya might not have been the most ancient of civilisations, there were major Maya cities well back into the first millennium BC at sites such as Nakbe and El Mirador, both of which may well have had tens of thousands of inhabitants.

I've seen the trailer to 2012 and all I could think of was "What a crock!" I have one question for you, Calla, why was The Day After Tomorrow so bad? I enjoyed the movie, even if I thought the science was dodgy. But I thought it probably had at least SOME basis in fact, whereas 2012 is total tosh. And it had a story. Not the most complicated of stories, but it was there.

I have no wise or witty comments to make about Mayans, either those in the past or those living in the present. But I want to share with you another YouTube link to Carl Sagan, this time with friends, in what I believe is a more beautiful song than "A Glorious Dawn". It's called "We Are All Connected". I hope you enjoy it.

As for 2012, I'll wait for it to come on free-to-air TV, and then I'll probably record it and watch it bits over several days thus reducing the amount of brain-eating stupidity I'm exposed to at any one time. :)

I guess arguing about which end of the world movie is worse than the other is part of why they are so fun and silly. And now that you've got me thinking about The Day After Tomorrow, I'm laughing again, so I guess even though I thought it was terrible I have happy memories of it. I mean 'cmon! ICE THAT CHASES PEOPLE!

We should gather round the campfire and share our favorite ridiculous moment from an end of the world movie.

And all the Carl Sagan songs are great.

Great post.
One of the best reviews (from a non-science standpoint)I have seen so far came from the Inlander, a weekly paper in Spokane. Love the term: "destructo porn." Here is a link:

Oh, thanks for that. I laughed so hard!
Lesson learned:
Neutrinos won't boil Earth's center,
but bears can surely hurt you.

My guilty secret is that I really loved The Core (2003). Utterly stupid premise. Absurd. Stopping and spinning the Earth's core? Did the scriptwriters seriously have any idea how much momentum ... never mind.
So I started dubiously watching the film expecting to hate it and walk away after maybe fifteen minutes, but after the pigeons intro and the space shuttle bit I was hooked. It was as if the scriptwiters had said to themselves, "okay, so this is the dumbest idea for a movie we've ever heard of ... so lets try damned hard to make it FUN!"
And it was.

Calla, thanks for the update. I was offline for some days and just got back to this thread.

Your link to the Mayan elder is borked; delete the extraneous "http//".

One of the really interesting questions raised by the Mayan experience is whether we regard large cities with monumental architecture as the "peak" of a civilization. Regardless of whether the reason was political or environmental, the Mayans abandoned their cities and returned to a village-based, agrarian lifestyle. If we regard that transition in terms of "peak" and "decline," is that an objective statement about the Maya, or a statement about the sociocultural values embedded in our Western cultural perspective?

I'm not an anthropologist or philosopher; I don't know how to answer those questions. Subjectively, my reaction when seeing modern Maya is twofold. When I see modern Maya (who are primarily, as is common to new immigrants, working as manual laborers or other minimum wage jobs), my first reactions are a) these people look just like the images on Classic Maya sculptures and friezes, and b) Ohmigod, they're beautiful. Which probably means I'm not entirely objective here.

I laughed at the witch's cauldron. A lot.

"But again, just so we are clear, the world will not actually end in 2012."

Probably not, but 2012 is still in the future. Anything could happen. Including the world ending. Not likely, and not because of the Mayan calendar, but who know? A big rock might fall out of the sky.

I generally like "end of the world" movies and I've been fascinated by the 2012 concept since I was a kid in the 50's. I used to count up how old I'd be if I lived long enough to see 2012 and be skeptical that I'd ever live that long. Now I'm almost there. All the Hopi predictions, the signs of the next turning, have come to pass already and we're just sitting around waiting for it to happen, watching everything go to pieces around us. But I expect the true lesson of 2012 is that there aren't any mystical solutions to real problems, not even drastic disastrous solutions. We'll all get up the next morning and have to fix things ourselves. If we did that it would be the literal turning of a new world.


Almost a year after this movie, we're getting news from NASA of a solar tsunami. You know, I'm intrigued by the whole 2012 thing, especially when tied to the ancient Mayan culture. There are many debunking of the 2012 end-of-the-world predictions, but I'm impressed by the precision of the Mayan documentation of natural phenomenons.

More importantly, the Mayans did not predict the end of the world. They predicted the end of a cycle, which I don't know exactly what. The doomsayers are just saying it's the apocalypse. Don't understand what our scientists are saying.

Thanks for this very informative post! I've been searching for posts like these for hours now. LOL

You're right Jimmy. For some, it could be the beginning of something new.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.