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The RoBlog
Thursday, December 23, 2004
PhysOrg: Just in time for New Year's: A proposal for a better calendar
Professor Richard Conn Henry of Johns Hopkins University proposes a new calendar that retains 12 months, and seven day weeks, but that eliminates one-day leap years for 7 day "Newton weeks" that occur every 6 years or so.

Henry's calendar has the benefit of keeping events like holidays, on the same day of the week every year.

At the same time (so to speak) Henry advocates everyone moving to "Universal Time", presumably over the kind of relative time we now experience between timezones. In that way, if I'm in London, and you are in San Francisco, I can ask if you can attend a meeting at 4pm, and that time will mean the same thing to both of us (afternoon in London, early morning in SF) without requiring any translation.

While all of this is interesting, it strikes me as one of those things that will encounter huge amounts of social resistence. People's sense of time is much more personal than their sense of measurement, whose conversion we are still awaiting here in the US (in non-science segments).

Perhaps equally important is the large amount of software that encorporates time either for historical or predictive calculations. This would be an effort akin to the year 2000 bug if not handled correctly, and without impending doom as an incentive.

Henry is trying to get the world's calendar changed over by 2006, when the current Gregorian calendar and Henry's proposed calendar sync up (I noticed that the PhysOrg article doesn't mention any other calendars in current use - Chinese, for example).

I expect this will get a little bit of press but ultimately we'll chug along with our inefficient timekeeping systems.

PhysOrg: Just in time for New Year's: A proposal for a better calendar
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