This poem by Halifax mathematician and poet, Robert Dawson, appeared in LabLit in December 2012 (just in time to offer gentle mocking of predicted disaster)! Enjoy!
Survivor's Guide to the Baktun-13 Bug by Robert Dawson
As you may know, at this years’ Winter Solstice
the 12-baktun Long Count will overflow.
The clocks of many systems will reset
(August 11, thirty-one fourteen
before the Common Era.) This may lead
to various unpredictable results.
(Macintosh users, although safe for now,
will notice similar problems when the Age
of Capricorn succeeds Aquarius.)
Previous long-count overflows have resulted
in destruction of the world (by jaguars, hurricanes,
fire, and lately flood.) To prevent recurrence,
we introduced the pictun (twenty baktuns)
the kalabtun, kinchiltun, and alautun, so extending
the world by many million years. However,
these have not yet been implemented widely,
and widespread interruptions to existence
(possibly in the form of massive earthquakes
or alligator hordes) must still be planned for.
To minimize disruption, you are asked
to cooperate fully with the authorities.
Remain at home; ensure your house is stocked
with water, cornmeal, rabbit flesh, and pulque,
dried beans and chili peppers.
Do not attempt to placate the gods yourself;
this task should be left up to properly trained
temple personnel, for safety reasons.
As banking systems may well be disrupted
- for instance, if the calendar indicates
that your account does not as yet exist,
or if the alligators eat the tellers -
make sure you have some way to buy essentials:
good choices are gold, seashells, jade beads,
turquoise, cacao beans, or copper bells.
Should you hear conch shells blowing in the streets,
this is a signal from the priesthood that
civilian assistance is required.
Proceed to your local pyramid or temple
as soon as possible. On your arrival,
please join the lineup in an orderly fashion.
Those with implanted pacemakers are asked
to notify the officiating priest.
I had the privilege of meeting and working with Robert Dawson at a recent Banff Conference. And his work has appeared earlier in this blog (on 15 April 2012).