31 days has September, March, June and December
December 30, 2011 5:00 PM   Subscribe

A new calendar: Every third month would have 31 days, the rest 30. A 7-day leap week called XTR every "five or six years". Christmas and New Year's eternally on Sundays. And Greenwich Mean Time for all. This is the promise of the Hanke-Henry Permanent calendar, proposed by Steve Hanke and Richard Henry, researcher professors at Johns Hopkins University. The world-wide adoption process is optimistically scheduled for January 1, 2012, with universal use coming just 5 years later.

The Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar is the latest proposal to revise the Gregorial Calendar and unify day and date for good (or at least 10,000 years), with the added twist of unifying timezones around the world. If nothing else their proposal is well timed; 2012 will be a leap year.
posted by 2bucksplus (53 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
2bucksplus: "Christmas and New Year's eternally on Sundays"

Way to sweeten the deal.
posted by falameufilho at 5:03 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


An interesting exercise but about as likely to be adopted as Swatch Beat Time. As for me, I'm still holding out for the 10 hr, 100 min/hr, 100 sec/min, metric day.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 5:04 PM on December 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


I love how the calendar has a clock that looks like a countdown timer, with a big picture of Earth with a shadow over a third of it. One way to kick off 2012, anyway.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:06 PM on December 30, 2011


So wait Christmas and New Year's will ALWAYS fall on the weekend? So I lose two statutory holidays?

BOY I LOVE THIS SHIT ALREADY
posted by mightygodking at 5:10 PM on December 30, 2011 [20 favorites]


So wait Christmas and New Year's will ALWAYS fall on the weekend? So I lose two statutory holidays?

Not necessarily. Some workplaces give you the preceding Friday or following Monday off if holidays fall on the weekend.
posted by Jpfed at 5:13 PM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've played this game. More than once...
posted by jim in austin at 5:14 PM on December 30, 2011


Not necessarily. Some workplaces give you the preceding Friday or following Monday off if holidays fall on the weekend.

They do now, because 5/7 of the time it's on a weekday. But if it was guaranteed to always fall on a weekend, I suspect you'd see a lot of folks lose out on their holiday.
posted by Tomorrowful at 5:19 PM on December 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


They do now, because 5/7 of the time it's on a weekday. But if it was guaranteed to always fall on a weekend, I suspect you'd see a lot of folks lose out on their holiday.

It'd still make business sense as a "hangover day", just because you can tell people to come in doesn't automatically mean they'll be in shape to do so.
posted by ConstantineXVI at 5:25 PM on December 30, 2011


The Dvorak layout of calendars
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:26 PM on December 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


My birthday always on a Thursday. Hm.

On the other hand, if you're an "xtra" baby, you'll age 1/5th as fast as the rest of us.
posted by maxwelton at 5:34 PM on December 30, 2011


What's wrong with counting up milliseconds since 1970?
posted by humanfont at 5:45 PM on December 30, 2011 [16 favorites]



An interesting exercise but about as likely to be adopted as Swatch Beat Time.


That's "Swatch Internet Time".

I'm sure there's an RFC somewhere which specifies it; I mean, if it's called Internet Time, there must be, right?
posted by acb at 5:45 PM on December 30, 2011


If it isn't decreed from a monarch it isn't legit.
posted by Atreides at 5:57 PM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just like the present Gregorian Calendar,
the HH Permanent Calendar Fully Respects the Fourth Commandment of the Bible,


Oh, good. Bless their hearts.


The world-wide adoption process is optimistically scheduled for January 1, 2012, with universal use coming just 5 years later.


In all fairness to them, Judgment Day was supposed to come -- twice -- this year, so this may be a prime example of a developer making a promise he did not figure he would have to deliver on.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:05 PM on December 30, 2011


It's gonna suck for all the babies born during "Leap Week"
posted by ReeMonster at 6:16 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


As for me, I'm still holding out for the 10 hr, 100 min/hr, 100 sec/min, metric day.

You're looking for the French Republican Calendar. In addition to mandatory decimal time, it had ten day weeks. Three weeks per thirty day month, twelve months per year makes 360 days. They bumped that up to 365 with the addition of five "pantsless days." (six on leap years)

Yes, I know that's not a sensible translation of Sansculottides, but it's better this way.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:27 PM on December 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


Screw that! I want my holidays to rotate through the week. That way it keeps me on my toes.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:43 PM on December 30, 2011


Hold on. It's lunch time here - sun's up, it's after midday - but if I am on Greenwich mean time, then it's only 2something in the morning. That's plain weird. And northern hemisphere centric.
Bozos.
posted by Kerasia at 6:43 PM on December 30, 2011


Shouldn't they start small with getting America to switch to meters, liters, and kilograms first?
posted by straight at 6:44 PM on December 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


...but the whole universal time zone thing is a unique stroke of madness.

I thought of this idea when I was about 5- when I first learned of timezones. I wouldn't really call it unique.


Also, the thought of a leap week seems way more burdening and weird to get used to, especially because it comes every 5 or 6 years. It's not even constant. I'd rather have the odd day thrown in at the end of february.

Serious question, though- why are we unable to make a calendar, and for that matter any unit of time such as the hour or day, that coincides perfectly with the earth going around the sun? Why do our calendars have to add on days [or in this case weeks] every so often to make up for skipped time?
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:56 PM on December 30, 2011


The holiday thing is actually really crazy when you think about it. Standard holidays are, as the name suggests, somewhat arbitrarily based around religious events, except in so far as the event coincides with some seasonal climactic shift. Especially in the US, the time you have off isn't based on a rational calculation of how much time off you need in order to produce at the maximum rate -- you have it off because of antique cultural celebrations. If the calendar were perpetual, we might lose overall # of days off, because some holidays would shift to the weekend permanently. So then we'd be faced with the question of when to make up for it, and why then, and how much -- especially if the initial change were a big one. We would have to think about how we subdivide time and value it in a more subtle way, which could shift the relations of economic (and other) power as we see some people are overpaid, and others are underpaid, in relation to their overall value to the surrounding world.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:03 PM on December 30, 2011


If you're gonna revamp the whole calendar anyway, why bother keeping our strangely named after Pagan God months?
posted by Apropos of Something at 7:03 PM on December 30, 2011


Or maybe I'm wasted.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:07 PM on December 30, 2011


Serious question, though- why are we unable to make a calendar, and for that matter any unit of time such as the hour or day, that coincides perfectly with the earth going around the sun? Why do our calendars have to add on days [or in this case weeks] every so often to make up for skipped time?-FirstMateKate


Because it takes about 365.25 days for the Earth to rotate around the Sun. There's not much you can do about that 0.25, so you have to work it into your calendar somehow.
posted by eye of newt at 7:08 PM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think you might be wasted. All the religious days Americans get off (basically just Christmas) are still pretty heavily celebrated. We get Christmas off because people want to celebrate the holiday, rather than work; it's hardly arbitrary.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:10 PM on December 30, 2011


or we could keep only new year's day as a holiday but have a three day weekends!
posted by Tarumba at 7:14 PM on December 30, 2011


Bulgaroktonos: You're not really getting my point. (or maybe you are and my point is totally nonsense). I am theorizing that we get as many days off as we do primarily because of holidays, not because of a rational plan that says "5 days work, 2 days off, plus other days." If someone magically made all religious, national holidays disappear, we'd just lose that time off permanently and be working more.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:20 PM on December 30, 2011


Make that XTR year a Jubilee and we'll be golden.
posted by notyou at 7:31 PM on December 30, 2011


I already solved this problem.
posted by plinth at 7:33 PM on December 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


My birthday on a Tuesday forever? This is a terrible freaking idea.
posted by naoko at 8:22 PM on December 30, 2011


Are the months named in Esperanto?

Cause it would sorta fit ...
posted by Relay at 8:22 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because it takes about 365.25 days for the Earth to rotate around the Sun. There's not much you can do about that 0.25, so you have to work it into your calendar somehow.
It gets worse! First of all, as you noted, it's about 365.25 days, not exactly 365.25. Years that are evenly divisible by 100, but not by 400, are NOT leap years.

Second, the earth's rate of rotation isn't even constant. Remember when the earthquake in Japan shortened the day by a couple microseconds? That sort of thing isn't all that rare. It turns out we have to periodically add leap seconds to make up for it.

And that's why you will never meet a software developer who has to deal with date math and also believes in creationism.
posted by I've a Horse Outside at 8:27 PM on December 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


3.) Doesn't your innovation mean that, for some folks, the date changes when the sun is overhead?

Yes ... but those folks live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As things stand, they have an International Date Line to contend with. With our proposal, that will disappear forever. So they gain that!


Yes, just those crazy folks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, OH, AND EVERYONE IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND.
posted by lovedbymarylane at 8:42 PM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


ThePersian Calendar is extraordinarily logical: 6 months with 31 days, starting on the first day of spring. 5 months with 30 days, the first of which starts approximately on the first day of fall. The last month has 29 days in non-leap years, and 30 days in leap years.

Each month is named after its astrological sign. The longer months between spring and autumn correspond to the period where the Earth travels faster near perihelion.

Eight leap years are added every 33 years. This gives an average year length of 365.2424... days, which is extremely close to the period of the vernal equinox. And it's more accurate than the Gregorian calendar to boot.
posted by Araucaria at 8:48 PM on December 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wait... The title of this post confuses me... That's not how that goes.
posted by Night_owl at 9:35 PM on December 30, 2011


Each month is named after its astrological sign.

Let me guess, we Ophiuchans get screwed again, don't we.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:37 PM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Things I love about this:

1. No Halloween
2. Assumes a rational need to maintain a seven-day-week when redesigning a calendar.
3. Solves any existing problem.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:42 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Mayan Haab' is the most straightforward: 18 months, 20 days each. Finish the year with a 5 nameless day holiday (Wayeb) where the gates of hell are open and nobody leaves the house or bathes.

Here's my contribution: every 20 years, another 5 day nameless period to correct the seasons.
posted by eddydamascene at 10:00 PM on December 30, 2011


Kim Stanley Robinson created an interesting calendar for Mars in his Mars Trilogy.

He repeated the months (1 January, 2 January, 1 February etc) to cover the longer year. So dates would read e.g. 2 March 25, 2051.

For the longer days he created the "timeslip" where all clocks would go blank after 23:59 for just over 39 minutes, and then resume at 00:00. This became a cultural element to the story, where the timeslip was a time of strangeness, where taboos were ignored and where normal rules of behaviour were thrown aside - like the "witching hour".

Point is, people like the current calendar because there are traditions and cultural norms associated with it. Its rhythms are soothing. So any new calendar needs some preplanned traditions or culture which people will attach to. Being "efficient" is not enough, and for many people, irrelevant. The "leap week" is a good starting point - what tradition could be attached to it?
posted by dave99 at 11:26 PM on December 30, 2011


Is there the term for a thing that you look at and just know, regardless whether it's a good idea or not, it will never ever come to be because what it would replace is just too entrenched?

I mean, even if every person in the world said "sure", there's still every computer in the world to patch.
posted by kafziel at 11:37 PM on December 30, 2011


It also assumes that scheduling difficulties arise only from the Gregorian calendar. In a worldwide calendar, there are scheduling difficulties created by the varieties of calendars in place. Chinese New Year, Yom Kippur, Eid-ul-Fitr, etc. are just some of the holidays that this would not really affect. The whole thing sounds like a prank.
posted by bardophile at 1:34 AM on December 31, 2011


we Ophiuchans get screwed again, don't we.

Screwed? You call that screwed?? When I was young, we Cruxites could only dream of being Ophiuchans!

Try carrying that nasty coal sack around all the time! And do you suppose we caught any slag for a star named Mimosa?
posted by Twang at 2:17 AM on December 31, 2011


I especially like that the method to determine whether a particular year has an 'xtra' week involves referring to the calendar you're replacing.
posted by neilbert at 5:09 AM on December 31, 2011


I read an article about this guy and my favorite part was where some college student said she wasn't in favor because her birthday would always be on a Thursday, and he went all, "DATES DON'T MATTER! CELEBRATE IT WHENEVER YOU WANT!" crazy on her. Because clearly he went into this project because dates don't matter.

The article said he came up with this because of "decades" of frustration at resetting his course calendar for the new semester every year. Look, buddy, I too find making the new course calendar far and away the most frustrating and brain-consuming part of updating my syllabus. But if it's taken you "decades" to come up with a workable system, and you didn't, and instead you decided it would be easier to CHANGE THE CALENDAR to accommodate your syllabus, and change it into something where the math doesn't work properly and it's less user-friendly than the Gregorian calendar ... well, you are very definitely DOING. IT. WRONG.

Syllabus Pro-Tip: Write your syllabus by WEEKS, not dates (Week 1: read pages 1-59; Week 2: read pages 60-120), and then down below fill in the dates (Week 1 begins: Aug 28). It's hella faster.

Also I'm pretty amused that this calendar really does clearly exist to make syllabus-making easier but he's so unfamiliar with other uses and conventions of calendars (agricultural, say, or the ability of lay people to calculate leap years easily or reset the calendar based on astronomical events -- solstices and equinoxes, for a solar calendar) that he's managed to make everything else way worse and just grouchily dismisses all concerns that are not MY SYLLABUS IS HARD TO UPDATE with "Hey, you'll cope."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:56 AM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


I played around with an alternate calendar design a while back. It used the same leap week on 5/6 year cycles. In mine, January, April, July, and October were 35 days, the rest of the months were 28 days. So days of the week always fell in the same place. Lunations didn't line up very well though.

Mine still hasn't been adopted either.
posted by adamrice at 7:04 AM on December 31, 2011


I love this calendar, and only because I love the Christmas and New Years on Sunday aspect. It is just so damned convenient to have Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve off, and also the day after off. It is WAY less stressful, especially when you have family members who don't work and gripe because you haven't appeared at their house by 3pm on Christmas Eve. Having the holidays coincide with the weekend allow a bit more for the holidays to be celebrations, and not scheduling nightmares.

As for the other gripes about less precision, most of those problems (like the farmers planting) are already solved outside the normal calendar. Being off +/- 3 days won't make a bit of difference, since the local weather plays a bigger part than the exact position of the sun in the sky. And we already have to do the calculations for how far in error the calendar is versus the equinoxes, so what's the big deal with doing the exact same thing with a different calendar that's more convenient in lots of other ways?

The UTC thing is silly though.
posted by gjc at 8:19 AM on December 31, 2011


My birthday would be on a Monday. And another ick for having some of the stat holidays be ever on weekends.

I like how the two main things it does well are: stay the same, year after year, and respect the fourth commandment.
posted by jeather at 9:40 AM on December 31, 2011


Why does their week start on Sunday? If you believe the Christian Sabbath, shouldn't the last day of the week be Sunday?

Of course, that makes Christmas and New year's always on a Monday.
posted by ?! at 10:10 AM on December 31, 2011


I don't think they necessarily believe in the sabbath, or even care about it. They just recognize that a lot of other people do, and respecting that fact moves their calendar's possibility of acceptance from "impossible" to "fat chance".
posted by gjc at 10:55 AM on December 31, 2011


My birthday is almost always memorial day weekend anyway, so nothing terribly new to it being memorial day forever. 4th of July on wednesday sucks the life out of my business in july though, so...it's a pass for me.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:56 AM on December 31, 2011


Hmmmmmm...nope! If I have to remember the gregorian calendar too, that's a deal breaker
posted by Cats' Concert at 12:19 AM on January 1, 2012


Said the creators in an interview: "It's basically the Mayan calendar, but without all of the world-endingness."
posted by Eideteker at 7:54 AM on January 1, 2012


For python coders, I've written a small conversion class from Gregorian dates to Hanke-Henry, and back.

Enjoy!
posted by anelsewhere at 2:17 PM on January 2, 2012


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