So while we wait for the end of the world, what else is going on?
December 20, 2012 9:41 AM   Subscribe

December 21 is finally (almost) here. The world probably won't end, but are there any interesting FACTS about the date?

I'm looking for any sort of trivia or fun facts about December 21, 2012.
posted by CrazyLemonade to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if you're aware, but every month/day combination has a Wikipedia entry: December 21.
posted by griphus at 9:42 AM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's the Winter Solstice.
posted by vacapinta at 9:43 AM on December 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

Wait, did you want facts about 12/21 or 12/21/12? Because the latter is still happening.
posted by griphus at 9:43 AM on December 20, 2012

It's the Winter Solstice.
posted by tommyD at 9:43 AM on December 20, 2012

Not especially fun but : Lockerbie.
posted by elizardbits at 9:50 AM on December 20, 2012

Facts about both are ok. Things like the Winter Solstice I knew about, but I wasn't aware every month/day had a Wikipedia page.

Mostly I want to know if there's anything going on in tomorrow's specific date. Sort of like a "once in X years" event, or a fun numerology/astronomy/history/etc fact.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:51 AM on December 20, 2012

Wolfram Alpha has info about each date too; anniversaries of big events and celebrity birthdays and that sort of thing, but I'm pretty sure all the information is on the Wikipedia page also.
posted by brainmouse at 10:01 AM on December 20, 2012

Giovanni Boccaccio (author of the Decameron) and Marguerite of Navarre (author of the Heptameron, a Decameron copycat) both died on December 21, as did F. Scott Fitzgerald; it's evidently a perilous day for prolific writers of short stories. William Trevor and Joyce Carol Oates should probably stay in.
posted by Iridic at 10:11 AM on December 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

Presumably you know this, but the whole end-of-the-world thing is based on a misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar long count. Here's a good writeup of the Mayan calendar math.
posted by Nelson at 10:17 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you get to the bottom of this well sooner than you'd like, you could always shift your focus to the glorious list of dates predicted for apocalyptic events. Wikipedia being the way it is, the list includes the projected general date of the heat death of the universe.

(December itself, and the number 21, are also fruitful areas of exploration.)
posted by SMPA at 10:23 AM on December 20, 2012

Not that interesting, but 12/21 is technically a palindrome, right?
posted by Think_Long at 10:24 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are always interesting things in Chambers' Book of Days. Here's the page for 12/21. For example:

The seven days preceding, and the seven days following the shortest day, or the winter-solstice, were called by the ancients the Halcyon Days. This phrase, so familiar as expressive of a period of tranquillity and happiness, is derived from a fable, that during the period just indicated, while the halcyon bird or king-fisher was breeding, the sea was always calm, and might be navigated in perfect security by the mariner.
posted by jquinby at 10:54 AM on December 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

My Nebraskans for Peace/ Cat Lovers Against the Bomb calendar (what, you don't have one?) tells me that 12/21 is the anniversary of the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. Not really a fun fact, but noteworthy.
posted by COBRA! at 11:01 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

"I will bet twenty thousand pounds against anyone who wishes that I will make the tour of the world in eighty days or less; in nineteen hundred and twenty hours, or a hundred and fifteen thousand two hundred minutes..." said Mr. Fogg. ... "As today is Wednesday, the 2nd of October, I shall be due in London in this very room of the Reform Club, on Saturday, the 21st of December, at a quarter before nine p.m."
posted by Iridic at 11:35 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

But those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, it's the summer solstice. (Not that I'm accusing anyone of being hemispherobic or anything...)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:21 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

In the seventeenth century, the Winter Solstice coincided with St Lucy's Day:
'Tis the yeares midnight, and it is the dayes,
Lucies, who scarce seaven houres herself unmaskes;
The Sunne is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rayes;
The world's whole sap is sunke;
The generall balme th'hydroptique earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the beds-feet, life is shrunke,
Dead and interr'd; yet all these seeme to laugh,
Compar'd with mee, who am their Epitaph.
But for tonight I recommend another Donne poem: What if this present were the world's last night?
posted by verstegan at 1:45 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's my aunt's birthday. When I was then, we noticed that she and i bookended the Sagittarius sign. Furthermore, her head diameter was 21 and mine was 22 (our birthdates).
posted by notsnot at 1:48 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's my birthday! Yay me!
posted by misozaki at 7:21 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

In places that use DD/MM(/YYYY) it's 2112 today, so a good excuse to listen to Rush's seminal progfest of the same name. Enjoy!
posted by timpollard at 12:32 AM on December 21, 2012

Two absolutely interesting facts about the date December 21, 2012:

1. As I write this, today is the only day ever with that date. Then again, this is true of any date you choose.

2. Since January 1, (year) 0 was chosen somewhat arbitrarily, Dec 21, 2012 could have been the date of any other day.
posted by aroberge at 11:14 AM on December 21, 2012

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