A recent discovery of ancient Mayan astronomical tables in Xultun, Guatemala has apparently made mainstream archeologists do this to 2012 apocalypse conspiracy theorists:
Found in a unassuming sub-surface structure by Boston University archaeologist William Saturno and his team of researchers was, among other things, the oldest known Mayan calendar ever discovered. Drawn upon a wall of the structure was a series of bars and dots that indicated the world would continue way past 2012. Way, way, waaaaaay past 2012.
Let's back up here. The so-called Mayan doomsday prophecy is based on the "Long Count" calendar, which ends at the 13th Baktun, or cycle...ends at what is to us 2012. This has been interpreted by various researchers, YouTube commenters, and director Roland Emmerich as meaning that The End Is Really Darn Near. But the Xultun calendar apparently goes past Baktun 13. So the Long Count might be more of like an abbreviated datebook that somebody forgot to buy refills on than a portent of doom.
Apocalypse John Cusack™ is not amused
How far past seven months is the world not going to end, according to this newly-found calendar? Io9 quotes Mayan hieroglyphic expert David Stuart from the University of Texas at Austin as specifically using the word "octillions." Not just millions or billions, but octillions. The world is going to go on for so mind-boggingly long that he had to use a word I thought I had made up in first grade.
But what does these latest finding mean for the lucrative 2012 Apocalypse industry? Well, a case can be made that while the world might be expected to go on for octillions of years, human beings may not. Perhaps the Primate Uprising might get us. Or the Robot Uprising. Or maybe...or maybe everything will be just like Star Trek or Futurama. If so, I'm opting for a head-jar over mini-skirts.