Feeds

'Use my 364-day calendar'

US boffin with time on his hands

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

An American physicist has drawn up a new calendar in which every date would fall on the same day of the week, year after year. He says he came up with the new chart because he disliked having to re-draft the homework schedule for students to take account of the dates progressing through the week.

Dick Henry, a physicist at Johns Hopkins University, proposes that instead of the Gregorian 365-day year (with a 366 day leap year every four years) we should move to a 364-day year, with a leap week being added every five or six years.

The advantage of his system is that 364 is neatly divisible by seven, which means we can stick with a seven day week, but do away with dates shifting. Henry says this should satisfy religious leaders, for whom the seven day cycle is traditionally very important.

Some other calendars that would solve the moving week problem have played around with the length of the week. For example, after the French Revolution, the French seriously considered decimalising time; extending the week to accommodate ten days.

Henry's proposal is not unique, however, and it does have one major problem: there is no way of working out from the year you are in if it will contain a leap week. The advantage of the Gregorian system, instituted in 1582 by Pope Gregory, is that its leapday rule is very simple: if the year is divisible by four, it is a leap year. The only exceptions are years divisible by 100, but not 400, which are not leap years.

Henry's system would need us all to keep a leap week calendar alongside our normal calendar. He suggests that this week be dubbed Newton Week, in honour of his favourite physicist.

Critics also point out that a leap week calendar would mean people with midweek birthdays would always suffer the horrifying social isolation of having midweek parties. Henry says that he is quite prepared to celebrate his own birthday (which would fall on a Wednesday) at a weekend instead.

These problems aside, Henry would like to see his calendar adopted on the first of January 2006. He is also pushing for Greenwich Mean Time to be adopted as the default time across the planet, doing away with time zones altogether. (Yes, but then when I am in California, how do I know when lunchtime is? - Ed)

Lots of other leap week calendars that have been developed. This site has a pretty comprehensive, and interesting explanations of some of them. ®

Related stories

Captain Cyborg to risk all for science
Cloned kitten sold for $50,000
Self-heating latté stirs controversy

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.