atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#939: Leap day. Wheeee.

We're equalizing our calendar right now. Otherwise we'd have to reset our clocks by 6 hours three Dec 31s out of four.

(Okay: 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds.)

The Earth takes about 365.25 (365.2425) days to orbit the Sun. Every four years we combine the extra 6 hours into one day.

Interesting thought, though: New Year's Day, 2008, didn't actually come until 6 PM on Jan 1, 2008. New Year's Day 2007 didn't start until noon on 1/1/07.

...of course, doing that would utterly FUBAR the synchronization of clocks and calendars, so we do it this way instead.

How to deal with non-integer intervals, when constructing a calendar for your hypothetical world, is an interesting exercise. Most people--for the sake of convenience--don't bother. It's simpler to assume that this or that world has years which are a simple integer multiple of their days; but it's never the way to bet that real worlds go.

Since no one really gets into the nitty-gritty of timekeeping unless the story absolutely depends on it, though, it's not really much of an issue.

I always wonder why we have only four months of 30 days, seven of 31, and one of 28. Wouldn't it have been better to make them all approximately equal? Say, six months of 30 days, five of 31, and the extra gets added either to one of the 30-months days or to the end?

The compulsive organizer in me thinks the odd-numbered months could be 30 days each, the even-numbered 31, with February being 30 days 3/4 of the time. It would throw off the dates of the equinoxes and solstices by a couple days, but otherwise wouldn't change a dang thing, and you wouldn't have to memorize that stupid rhyme ("Thirty days hath September...") to remember which months have 30 days. It's an odd-numbered month so it's automatically 30 days. Screw it.

The calendar wasn't constructed with those kinds of issues in mind, though, of course. And in fact when our dates were converted from the old Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, anm error of four years crept into the calculations, thus leaving us with the odd "fact" that Jesus was born four years before he was born. (4 BC! "Before Christ"!) (Yes: technically it's 2012 AD now. Flee in terror.)

(Wikipedia on the Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar.)

* * *

PS, and none of that nonsense of "Common Era" and "Before common Era", either. That stuff's for PC multiculti losers. Deal with it: we date by the birth of Jesus Christ. Whether you like it or not, it was a seminal event which was used by Europeans in the 16th century to orient a new, accurate calendar which no one seems to object to using, except for referring to the seminal event itself, of course. Morons.

* * *

Looks like L. Ron Hubbard plagiarized Scientology. I wish there was something I could add to this, something witty and pithy and full of mocking sarcasm, but there are times when words simply fail me because my brain can't process the data without throwing exception codes.

...a made-up religion involving the brain-wiped souls of aliens marooned on Earth by Xenu, Galactic Overlord, and its chief "prophet" copied it from someone else?

Like the commentors on that page, I expect much from the screwheads like Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

New image of Bach! I have a feeling I would have liked Bach, personally. The notion of him having close-cropped hair doesn't sound all that outrageous, considering that in his day, men wore elaborate powdered wigs rather than do stuff with their own hair. Long hair would have been stupid when you were always wearing wigs, don't you think?

Wheat crisis is looming! That's right. Many farmers chose corn rather than wheat this past year, because the government was subsidizing ethanol, which--in America--is primarily made from corn. *sigh* Now there's a shortage of wheat. Can we please stop with the ethanol nonsense? We've found that it's not going to do us any good, and with the solar minimum turning the global thermostat back to "1740 AD" we might as well stop worrying about "greenhouse gases" while we're at it.

The comments for this story are, by the way, utterly worthless.

The editors of this publication believe in "Peak Oil". It bothers me considerably that the editors of something calling itself the Financial Post don't understand what happens when supply is artificially restricted. OPEC makes no secret of the fact that its member nations keep a tight rein on production--why is it then so hard for people to grasp that oil only costs a lot because the producers are limiting their production? An artificial restriction of supply doesn't mean the world is running out of oil!

Anyway, the article goes on to discuss that we may also have reached "peak copper", "peak zinc", etc. "Sounds preposterous, but maybe it's not so far-fetched," the article goes on.

It then goes on to explain the various factors resulting in rising metal costs.

But "peak oil" and "peak [fill-in-the-blank]" assume that supply of a given commodity has reached its maximum...and I don't think that's so, either in the case of oil or other commodities. In the case of oil, for example, Brazil--only 6 months ago--found a massive reservoir of light, sweet crude just off its coast, and it'll take years for them to start producing oil from those fields.

"Peak commodity" theories don't--can't--take into account that new deposits are being looked for, and found, all the time.

All the problems cited in the article with metal costs are not due to the fact that the "easiest" deposits are tapped out, but due to political and economic pressures that have nothing to do with the physical existence of the deposits themselves. The resources are out there; it is just becoming more expensive to exploit them thanks to environmental and economic pressures.

Besides which, if the metals become more expensive, then more expensive sources of them will become economically viable and demand will be met.

This article is bunkum.

British like pickup trucks. What the hell, who doesn't?

Guy on motorcycle gets shot. After some kind of traffic-related altercation he followed two girls home. Their dad shot him.

The details seem sketchy but there is evidence that the guy's motorcycle hit the girls' car, or vice-versa.

If the girls hit the guy and then drove off, that may be why he followed them--but the smart thing to do would have been to get the car's license plate and then call the cops, and let them deal with it.

The guy was a Target team member. Apparently he didn't take the "safeness" lectures very seriously.

Thursday's Boortz' Nuze page is chock-full of goodness, but in particular I liked the bit about climate change vs. global warming. (And the bit immediately below it, too, about gun control.)

This is what the greenies are preparing to do now: "global warming" is obviously not taking place the way they predicted, and this year the sun's not sending us as much love as it has been, so we're getting chilly. Now the greenies will say "CLIMATE CHANGE!" because it's a lot less specific and--as the letter Neal printed points out--it can be ANYTHING UNDER THE SUN. Tornado? Climate change! Unusual freeze ruining the pear crop? Climate change! Atomic waste dump dropping a barrel of Strontium 90 into a river and killing half a county? Climate change! (Err...)

So in other words, all the pollution spewed by SUVs is causing "climate change" rather than "global warming". The effects are apparently highly nonlinear because sometimes it causes warming and sometimes it causes cooling, but the important thing to remember is that if it's a bad result, it's man-made climate change.

As for the gun control? Australia implemented far-reaching gun control not long ago, and one result: "Australia-wide, armed-robberies are up 44% (yes, FORTY-FOUR PERCENT)".

Wow.

* * *

There is apparently a new Potemayo special up on teh Intarwbz, but it hasn't shown up where I can get at it, yet. Maybe later this morning....
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