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Earthdate 2003-01-02

Happy New Year!

A new year, another "Big Round Number" has cycled through the western (now common) world's calendar.  Occurring only a few years after the even larger "Big Round Number" of the (western) Millennium, it's an appropriate moment to note that the ancient Maya of the Yucatan and Central America also had a positional numbering system analogous to ours (though based on 20 instead of 10), and a calendar expressed in their system.  In (just under) a western decade, which is (just over) half a "katun" (the Maya equivalent of a decade), the Maya calendar is due to pass through its own "millennium," known as a baktun to the Maya.  Rumors swirl about this transition:  Is it the end of the world?  Did even the ancient Maya think so?  Coming up: exploration of these questions!



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