Thursday, February 28, 2008

Now this is a great idea

The UK's National Trust is giving all employees the day off tomorrow, and has asked them to spend the day "for the environment".

I like this idea. Why should we work an extra day every four years for no extra pay?

Who on Earth thought it was a good idea to set a grant deadline on February 29th?

1 grant is submitted. 7 to go...

ETA: There's a really nice expanation of the leap year concept at the Bad Astronomy Blog. The summary is:

What to do to figure out if it’s a leap year or not:

We add a leap day every 4 years, except for every 100 years, except for every 400 years. In other words…

If the year is divisible by 4, then it’s a leap year, UNLESS
it’s also divisible by 100, then it’s not a leap year, UNLESS FURTHER
the year is divisible by 400, then it is a leap year.

So 1996 was a leap year [...]. 1997, 1998, and 1999 were not. 2000 was a leap year, because even though it is divisible by 100 it’s also divisible by 400.

1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, but 2000 was. 2100 won’t be, nor 2200, nor 2300. But 2400 will be.


  1. It isn't an extra day every four years, because sometimes the 29 Feb will fall on a Saturday or Sunday. (:-) )
    I've read this argument a lot, "why work an extra day for no pay" -- but I don't buy it, as the "day" is an artificial constraint because the 24 hour unit isn't quite correct. you could think of it as getting an extra quarter of a day's pay for nothing every three years, in preparation for the fourth year when you work the 29th (although it isn't every fourth year, as I mentioned in the first paragraph --some clever scientist can work out the exact numbers!)

  2. The thing is, you don't notice the quarter days in those 3 other years! So I still maintain that I should have today off. I'm tired and I have a cold, add in the extra day and that should be enough, right?!

  3. yes, I agree, sometimes one just does not need an excuse to have a day off work!
    And, by the way, I've since thought again and I think I am wrong above about the weekends -- because even when 29th is a sat or sun, there is still an extra day in the year overall.
    We need a statistician on this:-)

  4. of course, the leap year is an invention to prevent us from having to use a calendar with 13 months which would be more reasonable but superstition gives us the leap year instead.

  5. A 13 month lunar calendar would make way more sense! We'd still need to find an extra day and a bit somewhere though.

    Let's start a movement for a lunar calendar with an official "non-day" every year (2 on leap years). "Non-day" to be spent on "non-working". We should probably start by recruiting an astronomer and a statistician!


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