What time is it, really?

Well, it took a week, but I finally got my first good night’s sleep since we changed over to Daylight Savings time. I suspect it will be shorted lived since the weekend is over and I have to get up at “work time” tomorrow, but hopefully my body is finally starting to adjust.

It wasn’t so bad when daylight savings only lasted half the year, but when they recently changed it so that it runs nearly 9 out of 12 months, you have to ask, why don’t we just change it to permanent daylight savings? Why freak out bodies out twice a year for only a 3 month change?

Would it really matter if we changed it to year round? It’s not as if the Gregorian calendar we are running on is the most accurate form of telling time. Any system that has to be adjusted by one day every four years, except when it’s on the millennium so you don’t adjust at all, unless it’s divisible by 400, then you do add they extra day (is your head spinning yet?) can’t be considered terribly accurate.

Why does February have only 28 days (non leap year), while others have 31? It would have been much more logical to have February have 29 days (30 on leap years), which would make the odd months 31 and the even months 30 (at least during leap years). Even if it were based on the lunar cycles, there should have been 13 months in a year instead of twelve (each cycle of the moon around the Earth is about 29 ½ days) – hence the creation of the blue moon –times when there are two full moons in a month. Obviously, logic never played into the creation of this calendar. I suppose the number 13 was too unsettling for some folks to adopt as the number of months in a year, but yet we have a 13th day each month, and, sometimes, it even falls on a Friday (oh, horror of horrors!).

To add more confusion, there’s this thing called a leap second. Since the Earth doesn’t rotate evenly around the sun (it wobbles a bit), they have to add a leap second every once in a while to adjust to a solar day (the time it takes for this planet to make a trip around the sun). Unlike a leap day, a leap second isn’t added every four years – sometimes they don’t add any for several years, then, WHAM!, you get two in one year (well, that only happened once in 1972 and they were probably playing catch-up). Not only that, but when they do add it, it sometimes occurs on June 30th, and other times on Dec 31st. Looking at the chart on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_second) it looks quite random. The last time one was added was 2008 and there have been 24 seconds added since 1972. That’s almost half a minute!

The solar year, the one that controls the seasonal cycles, is only 365.2425 days (365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds). This comes out to 31,556,952 seconds per year. Throw in a few of those leap seconds and you might be able to come up with a much more simplified calendar – not unlike the metric system (which the US has still stubbornly refused to adopt).

So, the next time someone asks for the date or time, just pick a random number – it appears to be just as good as any other method we use to differentiate one day from the next.

About musingmirror

A writer of many genres, always in search of creative inspiration.
This entry was posted in Social Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What time is it, really?

  1. Pingback: One More Day | MusingMirror 2

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