Is it time for us to switch to a calendar that makes sense?

The calendar system that we've got going on right now is, if you think about it, pretty bizarre. Months and years always (or sometimes) have different numbers of days, and the same dates end up on different days every year. It's confusing and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Let's change it.

There's nothing intrinsically "correct" about the calendar that we're using right now (called the Gregorian calendar), it just happens to be the one that we're, you know, using right now. Some guy named Greg came up with it back in the 1500s because it was slightly better than the one Julius Cesar had invented in 45 BC. The Gregorian calendar has its issues, though, with the most notable one being that it's different every single year. Since the length of the year changes thanks to leap years, different days end up on different dates. Years have different numbers of working days. Holidays move around during the week. And it's not just time, it's money: calculating interest gets to be very complex.

It's possible to fix this, though. There have been a bunch of different proposals over the years, and one of the most recent is the "Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar." Here's a picture of it:

hanke-henry-permanent-calendar.jpg

The idea is that you get two 30-day months, followed by a 31-day month. Every year would be identical, starting on Sunday January 1st. This means that Christmas (for example) is on a weekend, and it would always be on that same weekend. Same with New Year's. Your birthday would be on the same day too. Thanksgiving, which jumps around to be on the second to last Thursday of November, could finally pick a date and stick with it.

If you've been counting, you may have noticed that this works out to 364 days, not 365 plus a leap year every four years like we've got now. There's no way to make the fact that the Earth takes 365.2422 days to orbit the sun just magically resolve itself, but instead of leap years, this new calendar would add on an entire leap week every five or six years, which would be called simply "extra week," and it would be entirely outside the calendar, tacked on between December 31 and January 1. The advantage of doing it this way is that the week length is still preserved without adding or removing Sundays, which various religions tend to object to.

I'm not crazy enough to think that it's going to be easy to make a change like this, but I'm just crazy enough to be able to appreciate the amount of sense it would make. The guys who came up with this calendar also want to abolish all time zones and put the entire world on the same clock in the name of simplicity, but that seems like it might be a bit of a stretch, so how about we try and make this calendar thing work and then take it from there, ok?

Cato.org, via Wired

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