Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Problem Solving.

I think January 1st is as good a time as any to address some of the issues we have with the calendar and our measurement of time in general.

Here's a list of time units: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years. The first few are all very accurately measured. A second is a second and it isn't going to change... it's always going to be 1 Mississippi. There are always 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. But when we get to months this precision disappears. A month is about 4 weeks. They range in length. 31 days? 30 days? 28? One in 48 of the darned things are 29 days long. That's chaos right there. Ridiculous.

We should sort that out. You should be able to define each unit in a precise number of the smaller unit so a month should be precisely 4 weeks. If we stuck with our existing 12 months that would mean the year would only be 336 days long and that won't work because that would make me 40 and that's simply not on. Besides the planets don't work like that and we need the year to come down at around 365 days.

The solution is obvious: we need a 13th month. In this new precise 28 days per month system, 13 months would give us a year of 364 days. Much better.

Changing the months also gives us a chance to sort some other problems out. In olden days the first month of the year was March. Look at the months at the end of our year: September, October, November, December. They were obviously meant to be the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth months. The sequence was even stronger because July and August were originally known as Quintilis and Sextilis before Julius Caesar and Augustus went and got all lah-di-da and had months named after themselves. What egos! The world we live in now, where Dec denotes the twelth month and Oct the tenth must surely offend any linguist. So let's take the opportunity provided by the introduction of a 13th months to sort that out.

I propose we go back to starting in March. I think we should teach those old Roman emperors a thing or two about humility by stripping them of their monthly honours and returning July and August to their former names. I've got no issue with January and February so I think they should just get moved to the other end of things. So the new calendar would start:
March, April, May, June, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, December, January, February and then the 13th month which could be called anything but for sake of argument let's call it Gormanuary.

Now there's still a problem. If we just kept running 364 day years one after the other we'd soon fall out of sync because the planets are working to a 365.25 day year system. But this is easily dealt with. All you have to do is add in a pause before the new year begins. There's no reason why new year's day has to follow new year's eve immediately. We could have a day off first. A kind of intermission or drumroll building up to the start of the year.

That way, we'd all celebrate new year's eve on Sunday Gormanuary 28th and the next day wouldn't be Monday and it wouldn't be March 1st. It would just be the intermission. In practical terms it would end up being a great day for a party. Nobody could go to work because it would never be part of the Monday to Friday working week or part of the weekend. It wouldn't be called anything other than The Intermission. "What are you doing for Intermission 09?" people will ask. Of course, every fourth year, The Intermission will have to last 48 hours which isn't a problem because we just get a bigger and better party out of it. Only when The Intermission is over does the next day begin. And then we carry on as normal.

This would solve the problem currently experienced by February 29th babies who only have a real birthday every 4 years. An Intermission baby wouldn't have that problem because The Intermission happens every year. Sometimes it's a 24 hour Intermission and sometimes it's a 48 hour Intermission but it still happens. It doesn't have any other name... it's not a Monday or a Tuesday. It's not the 29th of anything, it's not in any month. It's just The Intermission and because it happens every year, so does your birthday.

How long is a month? 4 weeks. How long is a year? 364 days. Does one year follow directly from the last? No, there's an intermission. Problem solved.

I probably should have brought it up before the diary makers went to print.


Thomas Knowles said...

Good stuff David, I totally agree, someone should work on a fully functional Gormanised-calender so we will always know what the real date is.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic idea!
Now, if only there was some forum whereby you could present this notion to the nation and get their feedback on it. A national radio show, perhaps...

Anonymous said...

Sounds similar to the International Fixed Calendar. Their extra month is called Sol, between June and July, and their extra day is at the end of the year, with the "leap" day if needed being between June and Sol. I prefer your idea of a 48 hour intermission (or intercalation). :-)

The Romans also used to have an occasional extra month, called Mercedonius, after Februarius; abolished by Julius Caesar, probably around the time he introduced his calendar and renamed his month! ;)

Anonymous said...

I currently do fall into a 13 month year, as much as my work pay is concerned. I get paid every fourth Thursday which works well, but nothing else seems to fit in around this system. The real joy is when the bills to be paid come monthly 12 times a year and I get paid every four weeks 13 times a year it means I have an extra pay cheque to the rest of the world. Ha ha...me so rich!

Nick Taylor said...

It would be much funnier to make Intermission 1.25 days long, and give the entire planet jetlag to go with their hangover...

Anonymous said...

Good idea, but the only flaw in your arguement is that october was actually named after a dude called Octavius. Overall, still a good idea

AJ Cann said...

Tut tut Dave, American units! In the metric system, 1 second = 1 chimpanzee. the Imperial equivalent = 1 bloody second (try it, it works ;-)

Unknown said...

I think there is a problem here. You ask "What are you doing for Intermission 09?" but the intermission isn't in 09. Pub quizzes would be very complicated if the answer to "in what year was so and so born?" had the answer "none".

Indeed headstones might read
"Patrick McGuire
Intermission - Another Intermission"

Nick Taylor said...

I knocked this up while I was watching Eastenders - the Dave Gorman Calendar converter!!


Anonymous said...

You aren't a programmer, are you? Did you thought about the nightmare this would be for programmers?!
And why now my bday is 4th of Febraury?
I preffer to stick with the old system by now. u_u

Dave Gorman said...

@Anonymous: I think you're wrong with October's Octavius connection. I'm pretty sure it's just the Octo-month. Seeing as it's between Sept and Nov it's hard to believe otherwise.

@ajc: There is a popular miconception that the word 'Mississippi' is American in origin when actually the river was clearly named after the made-up-word-we-use-to-count-a-second.

@Patrick: this isn't really a problem. To make things easy we just have to count the intermissions and backdate the whole system. As today is March 1st in the new calendar we would have just completed the 24 hour intermission. It would have been the 2007th intermission since 0BC. So it would be Intermission 2007, not because it was in that year but because it was the 2007th.
All you've got to do then is change all forms that ask for the year of your birth to say, In what year (or in which intermission) were you born? instead.

dataphage said...

It's a bit too early in the year for common sense. I'd recommend a bit more hibernation. It will probably trouble you less after a good 3 month snooze.

Dave Gorman said...

@matthew: how lovely. I honestly didn't know that something so similar had been proposed before - although it is so glaringly obvious I suppose it would have been odd if it hadn't.

However I'm disappointed that they didn't think to tackle the linguistic issues of Dec being 12th when it should be 10th etc and feel I've improved it there.

Also Sol is a ridiculous name for a month.

Anonymous said...

Bloody 'ell, Dave, what were thee drinkin' last night?

Anonymous said...

So, is Intermission 09 between 2008 and 2009 or between 2009 and 2010?

Dave Gorman said...

Intermission 2009 would be the 2009th intermission which would mean it followed the 2009th year. So it would be before 2010.

Anonymous said...

Dave, any chance we could have today as Intermission Day and March 1st tomorrow? That way I have time to recover and I'd stand a chance of starting 2008 a better way than I actually did... Oh and we'd all have time to find you some presents to celebrate the first actual day of the Gorman calendar.

Alex Andronov said...


Weirdly exactly a year ago I wrote a very similar post...

So the Pope hasn't called me back

Very odd to read you coming up with exactly the same thing... It's in the air - we must do it now.

While we're on the subject of inventions I have also come up with a new temperature scale (I'm just mentioning it now so that we don't co-invent that as well): Let me take your temperature on this idea (NB: the follow up article which is linked at the end).



Anonymous said...

i concurr with you as always excellent thought BUT
i think we should start in june. For where i come from June is the traditional Maori new year of Matariki

Anonymous said...

Great idea apart from one flaw I can think of. This being the fact that an intermission would have to include a half day, as in twelve hours? Therefore would that not mean that we would be sleeping during the "day" and awake during the "night"?

Dave Gorman said...

No, The Intermission would only ever be 24 hours or 48 hours long.

Dave Gorman said...

@alex andronov: yes we appear to be in broad agreement on the calendar although, as with the International Fixed Calendar that Matthew mentioned I think it's sloppy not to address the inappropriate names we use for the months at the minute.

I'm less convinced by the temperature scale though. I think Mr. Celsius got that one bang on.

Anonymous said...

So if I understand this correctly, what would under the old system be the date of Jan 1st would become March 1st and what would now be Jan 29th would be April 1st.

I'm sensing a whole new industry springing up to deal with the whole change over. Products to convert a date in the old calendar to the new one. Consultant roles created to help form fill, deal with confused members of the public turning up for events and appointments pre-booked on the old date rather then the new one. If you remember the crisis over the threat of Y2K there must be jobs to deal with technology as well...

I don't know if it’s a recipe for chaos or total genius creating a new industry AND keeping linguists happy at the same time - sounds fun though :)

murdoness said...

Where does Christmas go? Is the 25th of December still the same date? Jesus would not be happy.

Probably. Maybe he would.

Dave Gorman said...

@murdoness: I'm not too concerned with what it would do to Christmas. December 25th isn't the anniversary of His actual birth. I might be wrong but I was under the impression that Christmas was celebrated then because of some existing pagan festival.

Obviously 2008 is going to go ahead using the current, clunky, 12 month system, I've accepted that now, but let's assume that the new and improved 13 monther is kicking in at the start of 2009. Obviously the first year is going to be the hardest. Now people might insist that Christmas be kept where it is in terms of having 364 days elapse before the next one. In which case, we keep it where it is in relation to the planets and so on and Christmas becomes Gormanuary 23rd.

But personally I prefer the idea of maintaining the date and sticking with December 25. According to BibleTools.org, "The best estimate is that Jesus was begotten, as announced in Luke 1:26-38, ironically, during the end of December, and that He was born near the end of September or in early October of the following year. This means His birth occurred around the Feast of Trumpets in 4 BC. Scripture, of course, nowhere states this explicitly, but the internal evidence points to this general time.

So they think Jesus was most likely born late September or early October. Well according to my newly arranged months, December 25th in the new system would land where October 3 is now.

So by keeping it as December 25 we'd actually be moving His pretend birthday much closer to His actual birthday.

fourstar71 said...

@Nick Taylor: Good work - can you please call it "The Gormanator"??

Anonymous said...

The World Calendar is not too dissimilar, but it has months of 30/31/30 days, repeated 4 times.

The advantage of this is that it still has equal 'quarters' which are calendrical.

There is a 'world day' each year, which is similar to your 'intermission', and a second world day on leap years.

The nice thing is that every few years the world calendar is roughly synchronised with gregorian, and so changeover would be relatively easier.

If memory serves, there was a strong possibility of a changeover, mid 20th century, but was blocked in the UN by the US for religious reasons - essentially it was the world day that was the problem (the intermission) as it'd mean that there'd be more than 7 days between sabbaths, contrary to religious doctrine.

Now? I don't see it happening, computers are too prevalent to make it more than a case of reformatting the diary.

If interested in this sort of thing, I can highly recommend 'The Calendar' by David Ewing Duncan. This talks of the history of this problem, from making marks on bones and stonehenge, through to the Council of Nicea, the resulting problem of Easter, Popery in the form of the Julian to Gregorian transformation and so on.

(All info above from memory, apologies for any errors)

Lloyd said...

Mmmm... I find Gormanuary a bit difficult to say. Would you mind people saying Gormanumember instead?

Tony Ruscoe said...

All this is good. I agree with everything you've said. Personally, I'd prefer a decimal-based time system but that would be ridiculous to get my head around, so we'll go with your system instead. I do have one more suggestion though...

Can we also stop changing our clocks for daylight saving time? And while we're at it, could we also make the whole world just to follow one 24 hour clock based on GMT? That way, whether I book a meeting with colleagues in the United States or in China, I simply have to book it for 15:00 and we all know exactly what I mean. So, instead of waking up on the East Coast with their clock blinking 08:00, they'd be getting up at 13:00 instead. It might seem a little weird to them at first but it would make International communications so much easier! It would reduce the need for time zone conversions and all that rubbish. However, I do see only one small problem with this; their New Year celebrations, etc. would all fall at weird times rather than the middle of the night... but is that really a problem?

Dave Gorman said...

@Lloyd: you know it was only when reading your comment that I realised my proposed name for a 13th month, Gormanuary, contained my own name. I hope nobody thought that's what I was trying to do. I'm not sure I like Gormanumember though. If people find Gormanuary hard to say it could always be abbreviated to something like, I don't know, Gorman instead.

@tony ruscoe: I'd certainly be in favour of doing without daylight saving hours. I don't really understand why people don't just do things at a different time instead of changing the clock. I'm not sure about the international aspect though.
I think a lot of working environments would be more complicated if the date changed part way through the working day. When someone leaves for work they want to say, "See you later" not "See you tomorrow" and when someone asks "Do you remember what day you filled the form in?" it would be nice if you didn't have to remember whether it was before or after your afternoon tea break.

Unknown said...

technically, I don't think there was a year 0BC either. I think backdating the years would be very complicated. you might have to rename books "1065 and all that". It might be better just to start afresh with Year Zero of the Gormanic Era. or you could start at 1GE.

would having thirteen months invalidate the results of your astrological experiment?

Dave Gorman said...

No... you don't have to actually have to backdate things, just work as if it had been backdated.

Which is what we do with the current system. People in 12AD didn't know it was 12AD but we still use it as a reference point. When a new calendar is introduced there's no need to do a big reset.

So all I mean is that even if the first Intermission happens between 2009 and 2010, we still label it Intermission 2009 as if the system had always been in place - purely for convenience.

Dan said...

I've thought through the same thing before. I like the idea and a sad part of me would love to see calendar reform. However, I see two problems not addressed by your system.
1. Date conversion for existing dates beyond the 28th. What would you do if someone's birthday previously fell on the 29th, 30th or 31st of any given month? Where does it fall now? The IFC system seems superior here. Sorry.
2. As the year would have a multiple of seven days in it any given date would fall on the same day every year. Great news for people born on Saturday but people born on a Wednesday aren't going to thank you when it comes to party planning.
I hope you have a solution to these problems up your sleeve too. Good luck. And Happy New Year to you.

Dave Gorman said...

1: there's no issue with date conversion. Someone's birthday is there to commemorate the day they were born and so all birthdays should remain on the anniversary of your actual birth.

So if your current birthday is January 1st then in the new system your birthday becomes March 1st. This is a necessary function of the new calendar. Someone's 30th birthday celebrates the fact that 30 years have elapsed since they were born so it should happen 30 years after they were born. My birthday is currently March 2nd. In the new system, it's March 2nd today but it would be ridiculous to celebrate my birthday today because I haven't been here for 37 years. My new birthday would be May 5th. (Oddly, this is also true for my twin brother - we have so much in common it's amazing)

2. Actually it's an improvement for party planning. The key word is 'planning.' I never think about what day of the week my birthday is going to fall on until it's quite close and then I have to look it up. That makes planning difficult. But if I knew that it was always going to be on a Tuesday, say, I'd be more prepared. I could decide to celebrate on the nearest weekend, or I could celebrate on the day but forewarned is forearmed and all that. (Actually it would always be a Friday so I guess I'd be one of the lucky ones)

Besides, whoever said that weekend birthday weekends are supposed to be evenly shared out? (which the current system also fails in.) As with so much in life, you get what you get and make the best of it.

Lloyd said...

@dan - and since Saturday's child is loving and giving - loving giving parties, obviously - and Wednesday's child is full of woe... because no-one ever comes to her party 'cos it's in the middle of the week. QED

Craig said...

Fantastic Dave! Straight forward thinking if you ask me! I'm a new fan, keep doing what you're doing, it's great!

Stephen said...

Dave, this is a good effort at calendar reform. The only objection, which has been rasied before with previous calendar reform proposals like this, is that by having an "off-calendar" day, you disrupt the natural flow of the 7-day week. In the past, religious groups have objected to that.

Whether or not you are religious, literally billions of people are (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc.) and they would surely object to their Sabbath/Day of worship being skewed.

Your proposal is similiar to the Sol Calendar, as was already noted, though I do like the idea of starting on March 1 again. That's unique. Sol adds a day to the end of the year as the 365th day, to keep it in line with the solar year, and adds two days in leap years like 2008.

The New Earth Calendar is also simliar. It's 364 days long in normal years, but every 5 years, there's a "leap week" which leaves the 7-day week intact.

My proposal is the 30x11 Calendar, which has the benefit of easy-to-remember months (30 days for the first 11, 35/6 for Dec.) and still remains 365 days long. http://www.30x11.com.

I'm happy to come across another calendar designer! You and your blog's visitors should check out the Calendar Wikia:
http://calendars.wikia.com/wiki (check out the Alternative and Proposed Calendars page.)

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

The Western calendar looks positively sane compared to the the Hebrew calendar that we observed concurrently when I grew up in an English/Jewish household.

The craziest thing I remember was having a whole leap month ..occasionally.
There was Adar then Adar Sheni (=Adar number two)

It's too complex for me so I will steal from wikipedia..
"The Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar, or "fixed lunar year," based on twelve lunar months of twenty-nine or thirty days, with an intercalary lunar month added seven times every nineteen years (once every two to three years) to synchronize the twelve lunar cycles with the slightly longer solar year"

yeh right

"The twelve regular months include: Nisan (30 days), Iyar (29 days),Sivan (30 days), Tammuz (29 days), Av (30 days), Elul (29 days), Tishrei (30 days), Marcheshvan (29 or 30 days), Kislev (29 or 30 days), Tevet (29 days), Shevat (30 days), and Adar (30 days). In the leap years an additional month, Adar II (29 days) is added."

Anonymous said...

This also means that Jewish festivals would move around compared to the English calendar ie occur on a different day every year except I think in the 19th year they were in sync again.

Which reminds me of the Jewish Joke - Q:"What day is Hanukkah this year?"
A: "25th of Kislev , same as always"

Anonymous said...

Howabout 'interannum' rather than 'intermission' so that people don't get confused and think they're in a really long interval at the theatre.

Also, if you're getting rid of June and July, why not be done with it, and Latinise (if that's a word) the whole year:
Unumtober / Unumtilis *
Duotober / Duotilis *
Tresember / Tresilis *
Quatober / Quatilis *
Eleventilis **
Twelvetilis **
Gormantober ***

* whichever trips off the tongue most easily.

** sorry - google only went up to ten.

*** personal preference over Gormanuary.

Anonymous said...

Wow that means that my new birthday is Friday 26th Gormanuary.....fine with me

jonnus said...

There seems to be a recurring theme that religious people would be in a bit of a tizz over having their regular 7 day week interrupted by Intermission. To solve this I have an idea, why not make Intermission another religious day. That way your respective god gets a bit of extra praying to, which I'm sure he/she/it wouldn't complain about, and then you can go out in the evening and sin to your heart's content.

Anonymous said...

Would you not run into problems with your leap intermission with food dates. For example, you have milk that is set to go off during intermission, fine, just print intermission on the carton, but on a leap intermission, your milk might be gone off half way through. I don't want to wake up half way through the 48 hour intermission, and have lumpy milk poured over my cornflakes?

Matthew Wilkes said...

Without meaning to sound like a nerd, but I'm a computer scientist – I can't help it, Dave is indeed correct about August/October. August is the month that's named after Octavian. Augustus Gaius Thurinus, I believe.

Augustus was his title, we get the adjective august from it. The romans had an odd system of nomenclature, Julius Caesar name was actually Gaius as well, Julius was his caste name.

Nice idea, lets implement it! Lets face it, if we did go to all the trouble of doing it without permission nobody would be motivated to change it back.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the labelling of your intermission wrong?

Wouldn't the theoretical 1st Intermission be between 1BG (before Gorman) and 1 AG (after Gorman)

Hence the 2009th Intermission would be between 2008 and 2009 not 2009 and 2010

In effect the intermission would be heralding in the new year and remind you to change the date you put on your cheques (yes some of still use them)

By the way 13 months isnt new ancient astrology had 13 signs (arachnid is one of the many) these were astrological months of 28 days they never noticed the need for the intermission

Dave Gorman said...

@smike: no... for a start, there is no BG/AG required. The system isn't related to the day of the change over. Whenever the change happens - presumably next year - you just have to extrapolate backwards.

So next year won't be Year 1AG, it will be 2009. And we extrapolate backwards to the year 1. There is no year 0. On the current system the year before 1AD isn't 0, it's 1BC.

So if we extrapolate back and imagine this system was in place in year 1... then the first Intermission comes at the end of year 1. And the 2nd Intermission then follows at the end of year 2. Year 4 is the first year in which there is a 48hour Intermission and so on. Intermission 2009 would come at the end of 2009.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I haven't read through all the comments but the impression I've had from a few is that what was 1st January is now 1st March, the beginning of the year. I'm all for the change to make March the start and the linguistics of proceeding months making more sense but I must insist that March remains at the beginning of Spring. That's my favourite part of this whole idea. Who starts afresh in the dark, damp and boring mid-winter anyway? You start going to the gym but then it snows and you think "the sooner I get home to a plate of jaffa cakes the better", soon enough you're out of the habit. The promise of spring would promote a lovely feeling of optimism which might just have enough momentum to last through a disappointing summer. In this system, if I've got my rough maths right, you would have Christmas landing on 25th Dec, exactly where it is now. Three days till 28th December the end of the month and then controversially, no NYE straight after Xmas. Then three months - Jan, Feb, Gor, and an intermission leads us up till what we currently call 23rd March, roughly beginning of Springtime, beginning of year.

Platothefish said...

I think that you have missed a trick here Dave. Simply extend a second by 'x'. Keep 60 to a minute, 60 minutes to an hour and 24 hours to a day. Now if x = a little then you can have 12 months and no leap year. if x = a lot (Maths wasn't a strong point of mine at school) then you can have 10 months in a year or whatever you wish. All you need to do is extend or contract the seconds as desired and the rest will work out as you wish.
We could try some different seconds and vote on them. 2009 a second = 1.1 OS (old second) I bet no one would notice and just think of the saving over the year.
It will also mean that you are unlikely ever to be late again.

Dave Gorman said...

@platofish: no, I'm afraid that wouldn't work.

A year is always going to last the same amount of actual time because that's fundamentally locked down.

If you change the duration of a second by a tiny increment it might not be noticeable over 1 second... or even 1 minute... but over a 365 day year there are 31,536,000 of them. 31 and a half million, tiny imperceptible changes add up and will be noticed.

Think about it this way. Say you wanted to use your system on my calendar system to do away with the need for an intermission... so you could just have a year = (13 months of 28 days) = 364 days.

So you want to stretch each second so that 364 of your new days so that they last the same amount of abstract time as 365 of our current days.

So your theory is that across the year, we could swallow a day's worth of time without noticing.

Let's imagine we do that. We set two stop watches in motion at 00:00 hours on day 1 of the year.

1 stop watch is counting seconds, the other is counting SECONDS, where capitalisation denotes your new system.

1 year = 1 YEAR
365 days = 364 DAYS
8760 hours = 8736 HOURS

because your tiny little stretched seconds have 'lost' you 24 hours.

Which is all well and good at the end of the year... but what about at the half way stage?

Half way through the year, you must have 'lost' 12 hours.

Which means that it would be pitch black at noon and bright and sunny at midnight. Which would be more than a little disruptive and definitely noticeable.

Some of our time units are arbitrary man-made constructs while others are defined by nature.

Seconds, minutes and hours are inventions we use to help us measure our lives. As are weeks and ultimately months. But days and years are both defined by nature.

Your system assumes that years are fixed but that days can be changed. They can't.

Anonymous said...

Genius or not? GENIUS!

Anonymous said...

dave, im guessing Genius has one of those terms and conditions stating that none of its employees can be involved in its ideas - because your idea is chuffing genius! haha, i loved reading it! tell me this though, would 'the intermission' be just one mad day of parties etc.? or do you think shops and industry would operate on it? perhaps you could lay down a law of "what can and can't be done during an intermission". or maybe its just like any other day, just not part of the year. *offtopic* i met you in belfast in 2003 after your googlewhack show and a picture of me meeting you is on my wall, alongside a signed poster :D

Anonymous said...

Just curious, cause I ilike th idea, how would you assign birthdays to the people born during Intermission?

Or would they all just be born on the 1st?

Dave Gorman said...

This is directly addressed in the main post... and I'm slightly confused as to why you think you'd need to assign any particular day other than the day they were born.

If you were born on Intermission then your birthday would be Intermission.

Anonymous said...

Intermission Day should be the day that everyone celebrates their birthday!

This way the New Year party could merge into a Birthay for all party.

If we are to have this intermission day though I think it is vital that somebody somewhere is responsible for keeping Dave away from the tequilla! who knows where he would end up!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I've come to this very late. Generally I like the idea, but I have one problem with it. The second intermission day that happens every leap year isn't fundamentally different from February 29th. Since you raised this in your original argument as a problem for people born on that day, how does your solution change their situation in any way from how it works currently? Won't they still have to shift their birthday to a different date in three out of four years?

Oh, and while I'm being pedantic I don't think Mr. Celsius got temperature bang on, I think Mr. Kelvin did.

Dave Gorman said...

It doesn't cause anywhere near as much havoc as Feb 29th because unlike Feb 29th intermission always exists. It just varies in length.

If you're born in the last 24 hours of a 48 hour intermission your birthday is Intermission. There will never be a year without an intermission. You just get to have a 24 hour long birthday 3/4 of the time and a 48 hour long birthday 1/4 of the time.

And on temperature: Celsius is a far more user friendly system than Kelvin. There is some use in an Absolute Zero but it's not an everyday use. Zero for freezing and 100 for boiling is a far more understandable and intuitive system for most people in most situations.

Anonymous said...

I assume there's a good reason why we differentiate our birthdays though? Won't it mess up the system somewhat if twice as many people are born on intermission every 4 years? Otherwise why isn't an official birthdate of 28 February recorded for leap babies? Surely not having a separate date for a separate day must be unpractical.

Fair enough, I'll concede that Celsius is more practical for most people.

Dave Gorman said...

What possible system would be messed up by this?

The reason an official birthdate of Feb 28 isn't recorded for leap babies is that they aren't born on February 28. They are born on February 29.

And the nature of Intermission is that it sometimes lasts 24 hours and sometimes 48 hours.

But it is always just Intermission. And so the record of someone's birthday would be the same: Intermission.

It's people passively "assuming there's a good reason" for things that allows the flawed status quo to continue.

Anonymous said...

i understand what you mean. christine - intermission isnt technically a 'day' as we come to know it, its simply a period of time, sometimes lasting 24h, sometimes 48h, but never quantified into 'days'. feb 29th is a 'day'. therefore that is when leap babies celebrate their birthday. interbabies just celebrate their birthdays for shorter/longer periods of hours, depending what year it is.

sorry if ive just repeated what you said dave, but thought id offer another way of explaining it! oh and i hope ive grasped the whole concept the way you meant it in the first place!

Anonymous said...

OK. But surely for all practical purposes it'll still be counted as a separate day. If you're meeting a friend you'll specify meeting on intermission day 1 or day 2. If you're staying in a hotel you'll pay for 2 nights rather than 1. If you're collecting your pension you'll get enough money to have heating for the extra winter day. I see how you envision intermission working, but I just don't understand the advantage of it over a leap day. And saying it's still one day, just 48 hours long, won't stop people living it as 2 days.

If your birthday would be just be called intermission at which of the two dinner times would you blow out your candles? Surely the second day in years where a second day occurs. In practice things would work exactly as they do now, we'd just all agree not to mention it. Where's the advantage in that?

Besides, I've never met someone born on February 29th who wasn't a little bit smug about only being 6 years old. Are you sure they see it as a problem that needs to be solved?

fourstar71 said...

@Christine: "And saying it's still one day, just 48 hours long, won't stop people living it as 2 days."

Surely, if you had one day that was 48 hours long every four years, you'd make a bit of an effort? Enough people would have been born in an Intermission to make it party central, across every nation on Earth. I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Fine, maybe I'm an old stick-in-the-mud, but being up for more than a day would leave me longing for an afternoon nap. Perhaps even an 8 hour afternoon nap. Then we're back at 2 separate days.

Matthew Wilkes said...

Dave, I've just clocked the problem with this. Naturally everyone will want to be born on the party-tastic intermission. Couples will start aiming for intermission in the same way they aimed for the millennium; the allure of spring time sex is already deeply ingrained in mammals, you'd just be encouraging people.

Within a few short decades you'd have skewed the birthday distribution, people would have to find significantly more birthday presents around February. Not to mention Valentines day, so forget I did.

This has the possibility to ruin the economy for our unnaturally vernal descendants.

Dave Gorman said...

@ Steve: yes that's right.

@ Christine: Nobody's suggesting that you have to stay up for the whole of intermission. This is the kind of rigid mindset we're working against. It's just a way of making the year neater and coping with the extra day every four years. It's not about solving February 29, it's about making a month last a consistent length of time instead of the 28/29/30/31 day chaos we endure at the minute.

@ Matthew: There would be no advantage in having an intermission birthday. Yes it would be party time but it wouldn't be your party. I've met a couple of NYE birthday people in my time and they weren't exactly thrilled that 'their' day had been swallowed up by another more significant party.

Besides it would only really skew the stats if people stopped having sex the rest of the time and I can't see that happening.

Anonymous said...

OK then. But you can see how I got the idea you were trying to solve February 29 when you said, "This would solve the problem currently experienced by February 29th babies". Anyway, I agree that the leap day's a small issue in comparison to the non-standard month lengths, so good luck getting your calendar into general use.

Evelyn said...

Sounds good, yes. And it would definitely simplify a lot of stuff in general. But surely it would involve some pretty dramatic economic consequences?
I remember when there was a debate in Sweden about making the national day a bank holiday and the government insisted that we in that case had to exchange it for an already existing one since it would be way too expensive otherwise. And that’s just concerning one single country. Since this would be a global matter it would have monstrous effects financially.
I mean, if we theoretically just pretend that this day doesn’t really exist in a society context, and everybody just sort of “takes a break” and don’t use society in it’s normal way, then yeah maybe it could work. As in if everybody is just strolling down to their local park and sit on a bench doing pretty much nothing. But as long as people are producing and consuming stuff, then society still exists in a economical aspect. You can’t just take a break from that.
And if everybody took a day off from work everything would end up in chaos. I mean, no police, no doctors, no bartenders…?
And soon it would spill over to become a psychological as well as a legal chaos. People would unconsciously feel that “this day doesn’t exsist..hmm..basically this day doesn’t really count..” and then before you know it people are going crazy left, right and centre.
People would loose all their inhibitions and start stealing each others lawn mowers and start tying each other up to totem poles in their back yards. Cows would probably stop producing milk.. Honestly it would be chaos. ;-P

PS. Ok, you might protest, claiming that not that many people have got totem poles on their properties, but you’d be wrong. Where I live, on Portobello Road, there was a guy trying to sell one in the market a couple of weeks ago. Was sold within the hour! Next week there was a new pole, and I’ve got a feeling there’s plenty more where that came from because he’s looking well smug… People are crazier than we give them credit for! :)))

Anonymous said...

Good grief, I hadn't even considered the potential totem pole-related carnage!

Unknown said...

I've arrived here late and haven't read ALL of the comments, but isn't your 13 month year exactly the same as the pagans had before Christianity came along to force their power upon everybody? Women go through 13 menstrual cycles, 13 full moons etc... October 31st, Hallowe'en, was seen as neither a day in the old year or a day in the new year. The year ended on Oct 30th, started on Nov 1st.

And yes, the Christians chose Dec 25th as Jesus's birthday because it was close to the pagan yule festival and so it was one step closer to Christianity over-shadowing Paganism and so getting that much sought-after power they so desperately wanted.

Anonymous said...

I'm an intermission baby- I'm thrilled :) I've always liked having all my friends available and willing to party on my birthday (not like those poor- born on a school night children) but now every leap year I get a two day birthday! this rocks. Count me in.

spugmeistress said...

today reminded me of this post and made me think back on how great an idea this is. leap year days are a bit weird, plus totally unfair for those working on an annual salary who have to work an extra day for free, rather than pro rata types who get paid by the hour for a whole extra days worth of work. you'd think people would make a bigger deal of leap days, everyone is always complaining that there isn't enough time to do what they want to do, and here we have a a whole extra bonus 24 hours! and we spend it just like any other day... it really should be a day off, or rather, we really should just start using the gorman year so we can have awesome intermission parties \o/
although i do see the questions raised about what would happen if no one worked, what would we do for doctors, bar staff, emergency chocolate sellers etc. on one hand this could be good for dave as he would be physically unable to fly anywhere random because all the airlines would be shut ;) i like to envisage intermission as some sort of utopian day where no one would need to work because everyone would just help each other out for free. surely we have the skills between us to keep society running for one capitalist-free, charitable day a year? could the utilities companies could give us 'free' heating etc. for the day by budgeting it into the rest of the year?
also, as much as i like the idea of making jesus's symbolic birthday nearer his probable real one, christmas would be rubbish if it wasn't cold (yes i know this is purely a UK thing) and i too think a spring new year would be much much nicer. (party dress and winter really dont go together) so this would make the intermission heating situation a little less expensive too.
rach =)

Patty1985 said...

Dave, you've got the right idea but you're still off. Instead of having 13 4-week months, we should have 4 13-week seasons.
The reason? We have 4 seasons, but we don't have 13 (or 12) moons. Also, your new year should be the day after the solstice.

I advocate for World Season Calendar here:

Alex Zeffertt said...

Far more sensible than Gregory's calendar! I've written a Unix shell utility so I can keep track of the Gormanian date from now on, and use it in all my correspondences. It's called /usr/bin/cal++ so I don't get it mixed up with the Gregorian version /usr/bin/cal.

Screenshots, code, and manpage for cal++ can be found at https://dorkscratchings.blogspot.com/2020/09/gormanian-calendar-shell-utility.html

- Sept 21, 2020

Tom said...

I was thinking, this upcoming Saturday 31st of December would be a good time to wave off the Gregorian Calendar. Enjoy my first Intermission (on what would have been Sunday), and then Monday shall be the 1st of March - as designated by the Gorman Calendar.

Now, how do I tell my phone this?