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Bob Lacovara
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re: What were they thinking: mixing up the calendars
Bob Lacovara   1/16/2012 3:15:27 PM
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antiquus, copy that... well, I don't precisely "hate it"; that's a bit strong. By rights, I should reserve that for the coffee here in the office. But I have some older "atomic" clocks, whose DST is based on the older dates, and so for about 2 weeks twice a year the darned things are off by a hour. It could be worse: parts of India, I believe, are shifted a half hour from adjacent areas... And at least in wartime England, didn't they use something called "double daylight savings"? That must have been, er, interesting.

antiquus
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re: What were they thinking: mixing up the calendars
antiquus   1/13/2012 8:43:10 PM
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Your comment about the year beginning in March reminded me of the first calendar date algorithm that I saw. It calculated dates from March 1, because that made the last day of February (28 or 29) simply as the "remainder" after eliminating all the others. It also gives an interesting pattern to the 30/31 day sequence of month-lengths. @Lacovara: I do live in Arizona, and I don't know of anyone that "hates" it, other than I can't get an atomic clock that won't not do DST. Have to get the ladder out twice a year, climb up to the clock, and switch it from PST to MST, then watch the whole automatic setting thing happen. You would think one stupid extra switch wouldn't be such a big deal.

Bob Lacovara
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re: What were they thinking: mixing up the calendars
Bob Lacovara   1/11/2012 4:20:09 PM
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Erebus: (1) Is that true, the productivity drop? I can believe it--I hate the change. So do the folks in Arizona. Can't blame them. (2) A 13 month calendar does make more sense... after 13 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, you get a few "whoopie" days. Don't hold your breath, though. (3) Ah, actually, our calendar is good for thousands of years--the monks or whoever worked it out did a pretty good job. True, it's a bit arcane: it's a leap year if (a) it's divisible by 4 but (b) not if divisible by 100 but (c) is a leap year if divisible by 400... what could be simpler? ;-) Alternately, we could just forget all that month junk, and use the Julian date. Today is 2455937...

David Ashton
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re: What were they thinking: mixing up the calendars
David Ashton   1/10/2012 9:49:14 PM
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Aren't your suggestions a bit too close to common sense to be taken up? ;-) Coming from Zimbabwe where sunrise and sunset only varied about half an hour each way, I found DST in Aussie difficult to get used to. The one saving grace is that I can mow the lawn during the week in summer, supposedly leaving me more time to tinker with electronics on the weekend. But the wife always seems to find alternative uses for the "saved" time....

EREBUS0
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re: What were they thinking: mixing up the calendars
EREBUS0   1/10/2012 9:32:39 PM
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Am I the only one who has observed a drop in productivity after each change to and from Daylight Savings Time? Talk about an mistitled subject. Can anyone explain to me why we still need DST? Also, is there any reason why we should not go to a 13 month lunar calendar so we always know what day of the week the days fall each month? How about some simplicity here. I think the MAYA had it right. One calendar good for hundreds of years. Just a thought.

Bob Lacovara
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re: What were they thinking: mixing up the calendars
Bob Lacovara   1/9/2012 5:41:59 PM
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Ah, calendars... what a world of arcane information. Some years ago, I had to deal with transforms from NASA mission times to Gregorian, and that took me on a long trip of discovery of algorithms for conversions, lunar vs. solar calendars, time at the center of mass of the solar system vs. time at the center of the earth...wild. It was fun: all that stuff is out there for the looking up. Julian dates are a hoot, starting off sometime in November of what? 4050 BC or something like that. What kills me is the difference in starting epoch of computer times: natually, Apple, Microsoft, the old DEC systems don't always use the same date. I would like to suggest that we all just use my birthday from now on. It has significance only to those of us born on a fine September day in 1952, but so what?

zeeglen
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re: What were they thinking: mixing up the calendars
zeeglen   1/8/2012 7:29:06 PM
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Remember when the spuds and onions in a dark pantry used to know when to sprout in the spring? Always wondered how did they know? Doesn't happen anymore, I think today's spuds have been genetically modified to be unable to mark the passage of time or have been exposed to radiation to prevent unwanted sprouting.

David Ashton
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re: What were they thinking: mixing up the calendars
David Ashton   1/8/2012 6:25:58 PM
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What mazes me is how accurate the plants get it. The daffodils come out, or the new leaves on a certain tree, at the same time within a few days, no matter whether it has been a cold or mild winter. I guess they know something we don't.....

BrianBailey
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re: What were they thinking: mixing up the calendars
BrianBailey   1/8/2012 5:59:50 PM
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Well David is indeed right, and the 7 through 10 months presume that the calender did indeed start in March, so with out modern day calender, those months are incorrectly named. I had considered the spring planting season, but had not thought about as being a way to predict the last frost. I seem to remember reading at one time the disclaimer in the Farmers Almanac saying something like - there is no scientific basis behind any prediction we make, but common sense seems to work out quite well most of the time.

zeeglen
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re: What were they thinking: mixing up the calendars
zeeglen   1/7/2012 12:46:35 AM
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A primary interest in calendars back in those times of budding agrarian cultures was when to plant the spring seed in time for a successful harvest. Early planting widened the "market window" but increased the risk of succumbing to a late frost. (Why does this sound so similar to today's product development schedules?) A safe date was imperative. The work done by those ancient astronomers in calculating a calender that would not "drift" over the years is impressive. Can you imagine how today's mortgage bankers would scream if October 5-14 had to be eliminated? Or how Windows would deal with it? What is also interesting is our 7 day week with days named after the 7 celestial objects that visibly moved. Thanks Brian for introducing another interesting topic.

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