# Reforming the Gregorian Calendar

Kewpie
Science 17 Mar '12 00:48
1. Kewpie
since 1-Feb-07
17 Mar '12 00:48
Being of an obsessive-compulsive turn of mind, the Gregorian Calendar has bothered me all my life. Long quarters, short quarters, 14 different varieties of calendar, plus a list of which calendar goes where in the sequence. OK, I understand the choice of 30- and 31-day lengths for months - they must have started with the 28-day lunar month and added two days to each (360), then needed to add another 5 days so some sort of alternating pattern would keep things reasonably regular: 31 30 31 - 30 31 30 - 31 30 31 - 30 31 30 adds to 366, so make January a 30 (except in leap years) and you're there. So why didn't they do something logical like that, instead of the abomination we have now?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_reform
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Calendar
http://www.livescience.com/17662-overhaul-calendar-hanke-henry.html
2. 17 Mar '12 01:03
Originally posted by Kewpie
Being of an obsessive-compulsive turn of mind, the Gregorian Calendar has bothered me all my life. Long quarters, short quarters, 14 different varieties of calendar, plus a list of which calendar goes where in the sequence. OK, I understand the choice of 30- and 31-day lengths for months - they must have started with the 28-day lunar month and added two day ...[text shortened]... a.org/wiki/World_Calendar
http://www.livescience.com/17662-overhaul-calendar-hanke-henry.html
the gregorian did improve a little bit on its predecessor. but you're right, it is time for a reform; of the calendar, and of the base-6 numbering system for time keeping as well.

got a few billion dollars lying around?
3. 17 Mar '12 01:29
See, I never get these arguments.

I mean sure if you were making up a calender from scratch you wouldn't design it like this,
and when people start seriously inhabiting space new calenders are going to be in demand
so those who want to design such things can knock themselves out doing so, but in the
meantime we have a calendar that works.
There is nothing inherently hard about coping with our calendar (other than difficulties with
mobile Easter holidays but that's not the fault of the calendar.) and it exists for historical and
traditional reasons and I see no pressing reason to change it and erase part of our history.

Particularly when shifting to a new calendar would be ridiculously expensive as well as confusing.

The calendar we have isn't broken, just quirky.
I like quirky.
4. Kewpie
since 1-Feb-07
17 Mar '12 03:451 edit
Of course, we couldn't really consider calendar reform. Imagine how many people that would put out of work. Annual calendars are a considerable industry. All the trees which get cut down to make millions of unsold calendars which eventually get pulped. All the graphic designers and photographers of cute kittens might have to be doing something which god forbid could be more useful. ðŸ˜› (I think that's a tongue-in-cheek smiley but I've never been really sure.)

Sure, calendars are irrelevant to anyone with a computer, anyway.
5. karoly aczel
the Devil himself
17 Mar '12 10:22
Originally posted by Kewpie
Of course, we couldn't really consider calendar reform. Imagine how many people that would put out of work. Annual calendars are a considerable industry. All the trees which get cut down to make millions of unsold calendars which eventually get pulped. All the graphic designers and photographers of cute kittens might have to be doing something which god f ...[text shortened]... never been really sure.)

Sure, calendars are irrelevant to anyone with a computer, anyway.
Or a mobile phone, but while ads are pummelled at us and our children incessantly there is always going to be a "need" created to find new birthday presents to buy and what not.

Time for a massive overhaul of our consumer society.
You can practically deck out your whole house for free if you know where to find unwanted goods.
Heck I got my speakers, amp, tv's , stereo, double mattress and practically all my clothes nearly my whole adult life for free, and I'm not even really trying. Imagine if I had a ute (what do they call them in the US?) to pick up stuff with? Wow
6. 17 Mar '12 10:31
Originally posted by Kewpie
Sure, calendars are irrelevant to anyone with a computer, anyway.
No, they become more relevant. Although computers can make dealing with the quirkiness of calendars easier, that quirkiness can also result in bugs, and costs a large number of man hours.
7. 17 Mar '12 13:31
Originally posted by Kewpie
Being of an obsessive-compulsive turn of mind, the Gregorian Calendar has bothered me all my life. Long quarters, short quarters, 14 different varieties of calendar, plus a list of which calendar goes where in the sequence. OK, I understand the choice of 30- and 31-day lengths for months - they must have started with the 28-day lunar month and added two day ...[text shortened]... So why didn't they do something logical like that, instead of the abomination we have now?
Historical reasons. The calendar as we have it now was derived from the old Roman calendar, which did indeed use more moon-like months and was indeed less regular, and also much more of a mess. The Romans were not very exact astrologers - their shtick was more reading the flights of birds and the livers of animals - and their calendar-keeping, unholy-day-appointing priests were notoriously corrupt.
Along comes Gaius Julius, and he does clear up the mess, as much as he can - but he still did not know everything, the measurements of his astronomers were still imperfect, but most of all, he had to keep close enough to the old Roman calendar to keep the population satisfied, and not confuse them too much.
The later Gregorian reform was only more of the same: it brought the calendar year closer to the real year, but the irregularly sized months were there to stay.

In the end, the trouble with calendars does boil down to this: how do you propose to divide 365.2422 into convenient, regular, predictable, uncomplicated, unfudgy sub-units? You can't. It's an irregular Earth we live on. And our calendar will have to reflect that, like it or not.

Richard
8. Kewpie
since 1-Feb-07
17 Mar '12 18:05
Actually I think the Hanke-Henry model has done a brilliant job of just that. I'd not heard of it before I started researching for this thread.
9. 18 Mar '12 09:06
Originally posted by Kewpie
Actually I think the Hanke-Henry model has done a brilliant job of just that. I'd not heard of it before I started researching for this thread.
I think that it doesn't fix enough to be worth the change. In fact it doesn't fix any of the problems that bother me. The only thing it seems to fix is getting a given date on the same day of the week each year (thus making printing of calendars easier, I suppose).
10. Kewpie
since 1-Feb-07
18 Mar '12 11:58
The Hanke-Henry proposition is that it not replace the Gregorian, just work as an official calendar for business purposes. A bit like the way English and 24-hour-clocks are used for airline operations and medical research publications. So we'd all have our local dates and times, and keep a conversion table in our calculators when we needed to know what the official date/time was. We already get our weather radar in UTC and 24hr time, and our RHP times are both local and GMT, so we're already doing some of it now. Things like school holiday schedules would be the same from year to year, so the education and travel industries would love it. Just think about airline timetables, with all the times at both ends in one single date/time package, so you don't get the situation when you depart 8am Friday and arrive 11pm Thursday.

I'm of an age where any sort of change is threatening, but I can see some merit in this one. After all, Australians have in my lifetime survived many changes from the imperial system and currency to metric equivalents; the discomfort was short-term and the benefits were tremendous. And change does give us the mental flexibility to deal with new stuff, like translating temperature, speed and other measurements into the 21st century world standard metrics that most of us now use.
11. 18 Mar '12 14:291 edit
Originally posted by Kewpie
So we'd all have our local dates and times, and keep a conversion table in our calculators when we needed to know what the official date/time was.
So instead of simplifying anything they are proposing to make it all more complicated?

We already get our weather radar in UTC and 24hr time, and our RHP times are both local and GMT, so we're already doing some of it now.
Which is necessary because different parts of the world have different times. We do not however have different calendars. Timezones are already a problem and cause complications, having multiple calendars is just asking for trouble.

Things like school holiday schedules would be the same from year to year,
Not necessarily they wouldn't. Not in South Africa anyway. School holidays are not necessarily going to be fixed just because the calendar is changed. Here in SA we even have two different school calendars for coastal or inland provinces. I don't know why.

Just think about airline timetables, with all the times at both ends in one single date/time package, so you don't get the situation when you depart 8am Friday and arrive 11pm Thursday.
Now I'm confused. The Henke-Henry calendar does not get rid of timezones does it?

I'm of an age where any sort of change is threatening, but I can see some merit in this one. After all, Australians have in my lifetime survived many changes from the imperial system and currency to metric equivalents; the discomfort was short-term and the benefits were tremendous. And change does give us the mental flexibility to deal with new stuff, like translating temperature, speed and other measurements into the 21st century world standard metrics that most of us now use.
But if were going to change, then lets go decimal. (of course I can see that getting rid of the 7 day week would be impossible because of religious considerations). The Hanke-Henry in my opinion just doesn't solve enough problems to make it worth the effort of changing.

Better to change to a system of decades (10 day periods) which is already used in some areas such as weather records etc.
12. 19 Mar '12 06:37
So instead of simplifying anything they are proposing to make it all more complicated?

[b]We already get our weather radar in UTC and 24hr time, and our RHP times are both local and GMT, so we're already doing some of it now.

Which is necessary because different parts of the world have different times. We do not however have different calendars. T ...[text shortened]... decades (10 day periods) which is already used in some areas such as weather records etc.[/b]
i agree. a decimal system is the most logical for any proposal to change. the hanke-henry calendar loses a week every 5-6 years and it just sets the stage for another costly necessary change down the line.

any system that makes compromises for retarded religious practices is a waste of time. might as well just keep the gregorian calendar. or better yet, switch the world to a decimal system and let the religions stay out of touch with their outdated gregorian calendars. that would be very fitting.
13. 19 Mar '12 11:00
Originally posted by VoidSpirit
or better yet, switch the world to a decimal system and let the religions stay out of touch with their outdated gregorian calendars. that would be very fitting.
Many of the worlds religions / beliefs already have calendars based on the moon that do not match the Gregorian calendar. I believe Easter is a combination of the two (the first Sunday after the first full moon in April or something like that). The main Islamic dates move around over the years, the Chinese new year varies etc.
14. Kewpie
since 1-Feb-07
19 Mar '12 11:13
A decimal system would be great if it could be made to work. How would you deal with:
1. length of a working week and "weekend"
2. the odd 5 (and 6) days to come back to a standard year

The other thing that really needs to be done is the 24-hour clock for everyone. We're a bit past only being able to count up to 12.
15. 20 Mar '12 04:36
Originally posted by Kewpie
A decimal system would be great if it could be made to work. How would you deal with:
1. length of a working week and "weekend"
2. the odd 5 (and 6) days to come back to a standard year

The other thing that really needs to be done is the 24-hour clock for everyone. We're a bit past only being able to count up to 12.
you deal with it by getting on with the leisure society we were talking about several decades ago. work 4 days, take a day off -- two days off per week cycle of 10 days; adjust worker's wages to compensate.

the odd days you can stick between "weeks" as holidays that don't count as weekdays... or tack it on as a continuous national vacation holiday at the end of the year.