I wrote about what I thought was a seriously dumb idea back near the end of 2011. Some college professors were advocating a new calendar because “every year, everybody has to redo everything.” I know, it’s so hard.
When a writing group I belong to, agreed to rewrite an old post as a project, I looked at this one. It hadn’t been seen by many people and the subject still bothers me. I don’t want to repeat what I said in 2011, but I am restating my most serious objections, and I am correcting a few errors that I made.
Despite being originally published in Scientific American, I was pretty sure these professors and their cockamamie idea would have succumbed to a serious lack of interest by now. Contrary to my assumption, these guys are still at it. They’re still pushing this absurd idea. They now plan to start their calendar on January 1, 2018.
Their calendar would consist of 12 nearly identical months in a repeating series of 30-30-31 days, resulting in a 364-day year. This would exacerbate the degree to which our recorded year is out of alignment with our solar year. According to the original article:
“To account for extra time, (the professors) drop leap years and instead create a “leap week” at the end of December every five or six years. This extra week, dubbed “Xtr”…”
Xtr would be a nightmare. Leap year is an infrequent thing, but everybody knows what it is. Nobody is surprised by or distressed by an extra day in February. An extra week between Christmas and New Year’s – that’s absurd!
Of course, these guys are college professors, so an extra week, conveniently placed between those signature holidays, would just be another week off for them. Out here in the real world, the one where employers like to get something in exchange for the money they give us, this extra week would cause some serious problems.
My guess is that most employers would consider it to be a work week. The equation is, as my dad used to say: “a good day’s work for a good day’s pay.” He always put it in that order. OK, so five or six times in our career, we would work a week between Christmas and the Twilight Zone Marathon. I can live with that. But, what about our kids?
Think about it. Public schools are going to treat that week just like these crazy professors. School is 180 days, not 185 every now and then. So, you’re working, but your kids are off. Since daycare tends to close when schools close, someone in your house is burning a week of vacation time for this mess.
Getting back to my scientific side, hey, I am still a geek, we literally spent a century implementing the Gregorian calendar, to get our calendar in sync with the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Sorry professors, that’s actually what a year is, an orbit around the sun. The Mayans figured that out. The ancient Egyptians figured that out. Julius Caesar figured that out, albeit not with the precision of the Pope.
Actually, the Pope’s “precision” is a story for another post. It’s the date-time-lunar-tracking catastrophe that leads to Easter falling before Passover in years like this one. Think about that; that should never happen. I digress, but not really, since the reason for the Gregorian Reform was to get Easter falling back closer to the Spring Equinox. Way to go Greg.
People have been messing with calendars for thousands of years. While I support the notion that we might still want to mess with our calendar, I can’t be an advocate of messing with it in order to make it less accurate, which it would be, 99.78% of the time, according to my calculations.
In addition to screwing up the calendar, these two eggheads want to destroy time zones. I’m serious, they want to eliminate time zones so that it’s the same time, all the time, everywhere around the world. If they simply wanted to get rid of Daylight Saving time, I could get behind them, but I’m too old to start my day at what is now 7:00 PM and have my work day be, as they say: “14 o’clock to 22 o’clock.” I don’t even want to say “14 o’clock” and, unless they redesign clocks, that would be incorrect because “o’clock” is an abbreviated form of “of the clock” which was necessary when some people still told time by sundial. So, make that fourteen hundred hours.
I know this has gone on longer than my normal Saturday post. Forgive me, but just a few more rants:
I love new calendars. Calendars are one of my favorite Christmas gifts.
The fact that Christmas will always be on a Sunday is disrespectful to every other religion, including Orthodox Christians, whose Christmas would never be on a Sunday. I’m sure Easter would still be a Sunday in spring, but since the Jews would still likely determine Passover from the tried and true Hebrew calendar, the impossible-to-reconcile Easter-before-Passover thing would still occur now and then.
The fact that my birthday would always be on a Tuesday is depressing.
Finally, as hard as all this figuring out when stuff is, is, professors, my phone takes care of all of it. Technology already made calendars easy. Just fix the DST thing and leave the rest alone.