Random Walk 28: Francesco Zangari on ComSciCon-GTA (pt 2) + 2020 needs another month!

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Thanks again to Francesco Zangari! Follow him on Twitter, https://twitter.com/franthewriter1

And now, you may notice we still have a couple minutes left. So here we go, another installment of Journal Club.

This week, I want to share something timely. The new year is upon us, which means we are almost done with this 12th month of ours, and this garbage fire of a year. But what if we could have one more month? Allow me to introduce you to the International Fixed Calendar.

Where did the concept of a 12-month calendar come from anyway? Some pope or something. I personally don’t know, but I’m sure many listeners do. But you have to admit, it is annoying trying to remember which months have 30 days and which months don’t. The 13 month calendar does away with that by giving us a nice, regular, 28-days-per-month framework, every month. 

So, anyone doing the mental math right now, I know. 365 does not divide nicely by 13. Not quite. The way it works, is a year has 28 days x 13 months = 364 days. Since a solar year, or the time it takes to do a full revolution around the sun is 365 days, we add a leap-day into the yearly calendar. I vote we use this as the First Day of the Year. Call it Day Zero, and don’t attach it to any month. Let it float in space, just like the Earth itself, and we can all take the day off to think about our place in the universe. You’ll also notice that we still have that pesky leap year to take care of. Same plan. Day Zero-Prime. More introspection. Also important to note, these spare days don’t get a day of the week. They exist outside the traditional 7-day week. Sppooooooky!

There is no country that uses this calendar. I guess it’s an Internationally discarded idea. But there are some cool benefits to the system:

The several advantages of the International Fixed Calendar are mainly related to its organization.

  • The subdivision of the year is very regular and systematic:
    • Each month has exactly 4 weeks (28 days).
    • Every day of the month falls on the same weekday in each month (e.g. the 17th always falls on a Tuesday).
    • Every year has exactly 52 weeks divided in 13 months.
  • The calendar is the same every year (perennial), unlike the annual Gregorian calendar, which differs from year to year. Hence, scheduling is easier for institutions and industries with extended production cycles.
  • Movable holidays celebrated on the nth certain weekday of a month, such as U.S. Thanksgiving day, would be able to have a fixed date while keeping their traditional weekday.
  • Statistical comparisons by months are more accurate, since all months contain exactly the same number of business days and weekends, likewise for comparisons by 13-week quarters.
  • Supporters of the International Fixed Calendar have argued that thirteen equal divisions of the year are superior to twelve unequal divisions in terms of monthly cash flow in the economy

The financial and scheduling aspect is pretty nice, and actually inspired the Eastman Kodak company (think cameras) to take it up for their internal business. They used it for 61 years, finally ditching it in 1989. I’d really like to know what they called the 13th month. A lot of proponents suggested calling it Sol, after the Sun. Not bad, but not all that fun. Hey, if you have a good name for it, tweet it to me @adamFortais .

It’s not all roses for the Fixed calendar though. Of course, changing to it now would be an absolute nightmare, and a lot of holidays. Public holidays, birthdays, etc would have to be re-scheduled. But once they were, I think things would be fine… I think the worst thing though, is that 13 is a prime number. That means you won’t be dividing the year into halves, quarters, thirds, fifths, or anything at all. You get the benefit of being able to compare each month to each other month, but there is no clean way of dividing up “quarters” like a lot of businesses do. Oh well! 

Anyway, this whole re-inventing the calendar thing is kind of just science fiction in my opinion. I guess the League of Nations was interested in alternative calendars for a little while in the 20’s , but never ended up doing anything with it. But hey, maybe this century’s 20’s is the right time to pitch it again. Who’s with me? 

Anyway, that’s it for this week. Thanks for listening. If you like what you heard, check us out at scientificanada.ca . You can find older episodes there, as well as some of our other content, like articles written by guests like Francesco, and videos of the show. If you want to support the show, you can visit our Patreon at patreon.com/scican . Feel free to find me on Twitter @AdamFortais . Thanks, and I’ll see you next week!

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