Wednesday, January 18, 2012


There are a lot of things in our world that I believe we just take for granted. The calendar on our wall, on our desk, on our cell phones and whatnot is almost certainly one of them. Who would ever think of changing it? Apparently, a lot of people.

National Geographic linked to one of the latest, in a long line of, new calendar proposals yesterday. Doing away with the 'leap day' (February 29th, which appears in every calendar year divisible by 4... unless it's the start of a new century... unless that century-starting year is also divisible by 400) and, instead, offer a 'leap week' every 5-6 years! The purpose for the 'leap' is still the same: to knock the calendar back in-line with the actual rotation of the Earth which isn't exactly 365 days long.

The proposal for this, the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, is to start the conversion in 2013 and have it fully implemented on January 1, 2017.

Benefits of this calendar include:
  • the days of the year are always the same day of the week; for example, Christmas (December 25th) will always fall on a Sunday;
  • the year will always start on a Sunday and end on a Saturday;
  • there are still seven days in a week (whereas a lot of other proposed calendars, apparently, suggest other numbers of days per week);
The case is made that calendar reform isn't something that can easily happen; the author realizes that asking the entire world(?) to change the calendar they use isn't going to be a simple switch. However, that's not reason enough to not put the idea forward and see what sort of support can be found for it. There will also be personal reasons for people to oppose the idea. What if your birthday is on January 31st? There is no January 31st in the new calendar... so when is your birthday now?!

What do you think? Would you ever imagine a world with a different calendar? Does the idea of February having 30 days every year freak you out?

» Found at: The Henry Foundation @ John Hopkins University

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