Monday, 2 January 2012

New Year, New Calendar?

Last year, I posted about Isaac Asimov's suggestion for a new rational calendar, freed from the idiosyncrasies of the current dominant Gregorian beast.

Since then, I have come across an even better suggestion that does not include the wholesale renaming of everything that was part of Asimov's vision. (Today would be A-1, for example, not January 1st.) This is the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, described in more detail at wired.com.

Rather than getting too het up about revolutions around the Sun, this calendar focuses on being functional and consistent for users. Like the Asimov calendar, it features four equal quarters, each of 13 weeks. In the Hanke-Henry calendar, however, these quarters are subdivided into a repeating three month cycle of 30 days, 30 days and 31 days. In both cases, there is an extra day (and a quarter). Asimov adds an extra "Year Day" each year and evens the rest (I think) with Leap Years as present. The Hanke-Henry solution is, in some ways, more elegant - an "Extra Week" every 5-6 years, which covers both the extra days and the leap years.



The best thing about - and, from what I can gather, the motivation behind - the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar is that each day always falls on the same date every year, hence the "Permanent".
As the architects point out, this means that sports schedules and term times etc. only need to be drawn up once and can then be kept from year to year, unless their content actually changes, as opposed to the current situation where these things must be drawn up afresh.

The big question of course, is would it catch on? Would people feel happy to use it? Well. it seems that I am not alone in thinking that this kind of thing is a great idea. Although by no means scientific, the poll on the website suggests that yes, people would use it - approx. 62% of them, at least.

Will it ever happen? I doubt it. Still, a nice idea.

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