998: 2012

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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2012
To compensate for this, I plan to spend 2013 doing nothing but talking about Mayans. My relationships with my friends and family may not fare well.
Title text: To compensate for this, I plan to spend 2013 doing nothing but talking about Mayans. My relationships with my friends and family may not fare well.

Explanation

Happy New Year everyone! This comic is in reference to the fact that the Mayans, an ancient civilization in the Americas, created a calendar that ends on Dec 21st, 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the calendar used by the Mayan culture. Some therefore consider that the world is going to end on that date.

Consequently, a lot of people are talking about the Mayans, concerned that the world might end. Once December 21st, 2012 passes, everyone will be less concerned about the Mayans, because the world will not have ended. (Or it will have ended.)

In the final frame, Megan parodies the phrase, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it," applying a twist to suggest an academic context. In most American schools, a Grade Point Average is computed by assigning numeric value to each letter grade: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, and F=0; receiving high marks (all A's) thus yields a 4.0 GPA. However, if you "Fail to learn from History" -- that is, get a failing grade, F, and had at least 3 other classes (not an unusual course load) -- you would still get a 3.0 with A's in those other of classes. She is making the callous -- if roundabout -- observation that failing to grasp history, while no doubt troubling, isn't an academic show-stopper (perhaps explaining why so many Americans are so bad at it.)

Transcript

[Cueball and Megan are talking.]
Cueball: Well, it's 2012.
((This panel has no upper and lower borders.))
Cueball: Yup.
Megan: Only 354 days left until everybody abruptly stops talking about Mayans.
Cueball: Or thinking about Mayans.
Cueball: Or acknowledging that huge city-building ancient American civilizations existed at all.
Megan: You know what they say - those who fail to learn from history can still manage a 3.0 if they ace their other subjects.


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Discussion

2012 is almost over, and no end of the world yet. Makin' progress. Davidy22(talk) 02:08, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

We have until Winter Solstice, it seems, whereupon we face a calamity the likes of which haven't been seen since Y2K. -- IronyChef (talk) 06:33, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

I haven't been this disappointed by the apocalypse since Y2K. Not even worth a rental. 69.127.136.211 03:51, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Upgraded to past tense. Alpha (talk) 20:32, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

The Mayan did not predict the end of the world, they just would have to use a new calendar.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:56, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

That's what the explanation says... why the incomplete/incorrect tag? 173.245.53.117 10:11, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I think it's the "numerous other faulty predictions" line in the third paragraph. That said, it's not the Mayans who predicted the end of the world, but those who failed to learn from history. Anonymous 01:46, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

I take 4 AP courses this year. AP courses have a bonus point to GPA; for example, an A in an AP course translates to a GPA of 5. I also take a non-AP English course. I am certain that I will get straight-A's in the AP courses, so I can fail the English class and still get a 4.0 GPA, which means straight-A's across the board. --Troy0 (talk) 13:16, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

It would certainly have been the end of the world for those who died or committed suicide on that day. 108.162.250.223 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Except for those who did so on Ilkley Moor (unless it was involuntarily. (Or related in some way to the comic.))

Plans to advertise Mayan culture after the year indicate that journalism is a major cause of Fail. Discuss. I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 06:36, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Just had a 'Duh' moment, and I don't know why no-one else has noticed this, but not only does 354 days only get you to December 20, that's in non-leap years. 2012 was a leap year. Hence, the number of days should be 356. 173.245.48.237 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Please do not forget to sign your comments. And your 'Duh' moment is wrong. The comic was released on January 2. Just check the new trivia section. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:25, 2 January 2018 (UTC)