January 3, 2005

LOBSTER C&T (via Tom Morin):

Novel calendar system creates regular dates (Maggie McKee, 03 January 2005, NewScientist.com)

A US physicist is lobbying for people to adopt his novel calendar in which every date falls on the same day of the week each year.

The current calendar, which runs for 365 days, was instituted by Pope Gregory in 1582 to bring the length of the year in line with the seasons. But because the Earth actually orbits the Sun every 365.24 days, a 366-day "leap year" must be added every four years to account for the extra fraction of a day. In this Gregorian system, a given date (such as New Year's Day) falls on different days of the week in different years because 365 is not evenly divisible by seven.

That means new calendars must be printed every year, and the dates for recurring events constantly recalculated. "For many years, I've had to make up a new schedule to tell my class when homework is due," says Dick Henry, a physicist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, US. "Here I am putting all this totally unnecessary work in and I decided I better do something about it."

So Henry designed a calendar that uses 364 days, which breaks down evenly into 52 weeks. In his so called "Calendar-and-Time" (C&T) plan, each month contains 30 or 31 days. He decided on each month's length by forbidding the new calendar to differ from the old one by more than five days and by setting Christmas Day, 25 December, to always fall on a Sunday.

Some folk haven't learned the lesson of the metric fiasco yet, eh?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 3, 2005 5:21 PM

Obviously this academic needs a dose of the real-world: while teachers and students get weeks off for Christmas, we working joes have to hope and pray that Christmas falls on a Monday or Friday to get that glorious 3-day or 4-day vacation!

Posted by: Just John at January 3, 2005 5:32 PM

I love those calendar cranks.The best part is how they are always "reinventing" what's already been done before, because they are totally unfamiliar with all the attempts that have been made in the past. At least Elisabeth Achelis and the World Calendar Association had the decency to fold their Journal of Calendar Reform when it became obvious that they were wasting their time. (I once found a set in a major university library. The last issue is kinda sad, really. Especially after all the articles in earlier issues about how much progress they were making.)

This guy needs to look at the ISO 8601, which defines a calendar consisting of 364 or 371 days. It does that by ignoring the months completely. Intercalation by inserting blocks of days is nothing new, either. The Jewish calendar puts in a whole month when needed. The Bahai (which has 19 periods of 19 days per year) inserts 4 days but it doesn't use weeks. Also, Allah has placed a proscription against intercalation by requiring that a calendar must have 12 months, so this guy'd better watch out to not offend any Muslims.

Also, if you are going to chuck the Gregorian calendar, it would be better to have cycle of 33 years where every fourth year is a leap year, except the last cycle has five years. It gets rid of the 400 year rule at the cost of no longer being able to just divide by 4.

What these yahoos never seem to figure out is that the calendar and the clock, like Gates Software products, are all "good enough", which is all most people want and expect.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 3, 2005 8:08 PM

Out of town now, if this is still up, tommorrow night when I get back. I will post my favorite calendar cranks.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 3, 2005 9:49 PM

If I remember correctly, I had a child's encyclopedia back around 1961 that offered up a section on the same sort of calendar revision Mr. Henry is touting today. However, I don't remember if the writers put in any good words about the metric system or even Esperanto for we kindergarteners to absorb.

Posted by: John at January 4, 2005 2:09 AM

Ah, and in first grade I had my one and only exposure to the International Teaching Alphabet, yet another spelling reform that was going to allow kids to read faster by rendering words phonetically, such as "paij" for "page". (This movement still exists, and you can view the Alphabet at www.itafoundation.org, along with all the auxiliary characters these reform alphabets always seem to have.) How teaching kids the ITA and then converting them to the "real" alphabet was simpler than the conventional method was a mystery to me; I remember thinking the phonetic spellings and extra characters made the writing look (a) confusing and (b) illiterate - which may explain why ITA isn't much used any more.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at January 4, 2005 9:44 AM

If we're going to revise everything we have no business keeping something as decimal as the metric system. Clearly, we need a dozenal system ... at least until the next fad starts.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at January 4, 2005 1:58 PM

This guy is my Favorite:



Unlike most of them he admits that:

The new calendar is not intended to supplant the calendar currently in use for business transactions and dating newspapers. Instead, the Ecliptic Calendar should be attractive as a personal calendar to those who wish to mark time entirely by celestial motions.

Time is marked into six scales:

Days are as usual.

Months are named after the zodiacal constellation most prominent in the night-time sky that time of year. The lengths of the months wax and wane between 29 and 32 days due to the ellipticity of the Earth's orbit, and the two equinoxes and two solstices fall, without exception, on the first day of a month.

Years contain 12 months and always begin on the day of the (Northern Hemisphere's) Vernal Equinox.

Saturnia contain between 29 and 30 years, the time for the planet Saturn to complete a full orbit.

Ages contain between 72 and 74 saturnia, or about 2,150 years.

Cycles contain 12 ages and last about 25,800 years, the period of time for a full revolution of the Precession of the Equinoxes.


At least he he admits it is moonbeams.

There is a page on Calendar Reform at:


Of Course, the original sin of calendar reform, and its connection to the metric system is the calendar reform of the French Revolution:


Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 5, 2005 3:33 AM

Unlike the metric system, time measurement can't fully divorce itself from nature. The "meter", "liter" and "gram" are totally arbitrary and unrelated to anything they are supposed to measure. (I know that supposedly they are based on the earth's circumfrence and water's mass, but that just reinforces my point.) A truly metric calendar or clock would ignore days and years (and months) and just, like the Julian Day system or Mayan long count, just number days. Or use seconds, kilo-seconds, mega-seconds, etc. That's what makes calendar cranks so enjoyable, the contortions they go through to balance their utopian desires with the the reality of nature. It's symbolic of everything Leftist.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 6, 2005 1:24 PM