Science-- there's something for everyone

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Calendar reform

Here’s a problem you didn’t know needed fixing:  our calendar differs from year to year. Steve Hanke and Richard Henry of Johns Hopkins would like to change that.  They propose a new calendar, called the ‘Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar’ that would be identical from year to year.  Your birthday would fall on the same day of the week from now on, so better hope it’s a weekend.

You can see what 2012 would look like using both the old and the new calendar hereAll the months would have either 30 or 31 days, and there would be an extra week every five or six years to compensate for the fact that the Earth takes 365 and 1/4 days to circle the sun.

Not only would Hanke and Henry simplify the calendar, but they would do away with time zones as well.  Under their system, every place on Earth would be set to Greenwich Mean Time.  It would be noon for everyone on Earth at the same time.  Of course, for some people, that would be in the middle of the night.

Hanke and Henry make the case that these changes would be an asset in our global economy, greatly simplifying international business transactions. The researchers are confident that they can convince people to adopt this new system.  They recommend that people begin using it on a voluntary basis this January 1st, and have set a date for universal adoption at the start of 2017.  I’m sure they will have no trouble convincing shop owners in California to open their doors at 1 am, especially if it's called 9 am.