Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Better Calendar Part 2

So what is wrong with this calendar that the US Congress proposed?  We have this steady progression of every seven days and all of a sudden we have eight days between one Sunday at the end of the year which just happens to be the last day of the year and the next Sunday because of that extra day.  The same holds for Saturday or any the day of the week.  From one day of the week to the next they are always seven days during the year but from one year to the next we have eight days.  And then every leap year we have an additional eight days instead of seven.

I would think they could just adjust but tradition is far more powerful than intelligence.  I can remember watching the original Around the World in Eighty Days and watching Phileas Fogg arguing with Passepartout: "I have kept  a careful record and this is the 81st day."  But they had gone around the world, always traveling east. They had crossed the International Date Line.  But it does give one pause for thought.  How does this impinge on this insane idea of every seventh day?  If we are to be literal, Phileas Fogg is correct.  Sunday for him is now one day ahead of everybody else.  So they can stick that in their date calculations of what is when and perhaps move Christmas to that end of year day that is not part of any week.  What made Christmas to be on the 25th of December and Easter when it is?  People did and they can change it if they want to.

So what does this have to do with Daylight Saving Time?  You can see there are problems when you move around the earth.  You can also see that beliefs are much stronger in opposing something that works better.  Okay, now you at least know of an alternate calendar that could be used and IMHO, should be used.  I can guarantee that it won't be used for at least another 400 years though.

1 comment:

  1. I think I should hasten to add one more point on the religious angle. There is an apocryphal story of a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) that accompanied a Seventh Day Adventist minister as he went from religious services on one side of the International Date Line to an island on the other side of the International Date Line. On the first island he celebrated the Sabbath. The next day on the other side of the date Line the Seventh Day Adventist minister celebrated the sabbath again. So which day is the seventh day? The Mormons would probably be pragmatic and say all that matters is to reserve one of every seven days to honor the Lord. Mormons would probably take to this new business calendar with same pragmatic view and advise members to use the intercalary day at the end of the year as a time to assess how well they did the last year and how to improve in the new year. They would probably also be amenable to shifting to using the Rudolphine Tables of Kepler to calculate Easter based on the real Vernal Equinox despite being the only Christians to claim to have received a revelation from God for when the birth day of Jesus occured. But look how long it took before people adopted the Gregorian calendar. It took centuries and despite being done in those 4 Catholic countries that did adopt it in 1582, Russia didn't adopt it until the 20th century. Maybe it really is time for some calendar reform. But it took centuries for the Gregorian calendar to be adopted and many Eastern Orthodox are still using the old Julian calendar in churches despite the fact that most of the countries they are in have adopted the Gregorian calendar for civil dates. Take this as a warning that DST proponents will be just as stubborn as people were about the scrapping of the Julian Calendar and replacing it with the Gregorian Calendar.
    Something needs to be done if possible to give them that extra hour of sun at the end of the day rather than at the start during the months with significantly more daylight time than night time.