Culture: Calendar
Calendar-convenient orbit   (0)  [vote for, against]
A (slightly drastic) solution to calendar problems

Calendars, eh, what a mess. Different months have different days, weeks don't fit neatly into months, and it's not even decimal. Well that could all change. All we need to do is change the orbit of the earth so that one loop around the sun equals exactly 400 days. This would be achieved with a giant solar sail attached to the earth at the poles (so it could still spin) by, um, carbon nano-tube filament type thingies.

A 400 day year would split neatly into ten 40-day months. The weeks would be ten days long, and so each month would be 4 weeks long. Weekends would be 3 days long - 3 out of 10 is almost exactly the same as 2 out of 7, so the ratio of work:holiday would be almost unchanged.

The only drawback to this is that it might take a few years for the earth to get into the new orbit, so we would have to change the calendar every year until it settled down.

OK, so this might set off a minor ice-age. But it's omelletes and eggs, isn't it?
-- spacemoggy, May 17 2004

Quality Defined
"Good to, Good to be, Good to be a, GOONER! [dobtabulous, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

aren't we about to hit a new ice age some time pretty soon anyway?
-- po, May 17 2004

I suspect this involves some very bad science, but i'm not quite sure why...
Will reserve judgement until the inevitable annotations from those who know better.
-- MikeOliver, May 17 2004

There is another alternative I would like to suggest. My understanding is that the reason the calendar is so topsy turvey is due at least in part to various Roman emperors tinkering with it to ensure that the month which bears their name gets extra days to make them feel important. This was done in their own interest and without regard for the creation of a sensible strucutre.

Given the historic feat of Arsenal football club completing an unbeaten season in the (English) Premier League, would it not be simpler to introduce extra days and or months named after the players, manager, backroom staff, ardent fans (well, me anyway) etc until we make up the exact total you are looking for? The earth's orbit would remain unchanged and we could all look forward to "Highbury Day" in Wengermonth.
-- dobtabulous, May 17 2004

I'm reliably informed by my brother, who knows about these things, that Arsenal are in fact 'rubbish' and 'boring'. Therefore any further attempts to post pro-Arsenal propaganda on my idea will be deleted forthwith.
-- spacemoggy, May 17 2004

besides the 'bad science' aspect of this, the modern calendar is tied as much to religious and cultural considerations as it is to astronomy. it's a compromise really. there are plenty of people using their own calendar for their own purposes and the modern one to tell when the banks close.

in addition to slowing the earth down, which you seem to have would also need to build either an empire or an institution two or three times the scale of the catholic church to get anyone to pay attention to your new timekeeping device.

recommend 'the discoverers' by daniel boorstin which among myriad other things, summarizes the thousands of years of alterations, machinations and considerations and compromises that got us to the modern calendar.
-- xclamp, May 17 2004

if we want to name days after great football stars who have achieved greatness, what about those that have completed the treble or indeed succeeded in Europe, the true test of great football sides, not a one player team who have succeeded in beating the poorest premiership line up in years.
-- etherman, May 17 2004

The Discordian Calender uses 5 months with 73 days each, and 5 day weeks. I think that's a lot simpler than changing the orbit time of the earth. Of course that's just my opinion.
-- Goseph, May 17 2004

At first I thought: 3 day weekends - great!
Then I remembered that I usually work the weekends.
-- Ling, May 17 2004

Sorry [Po], but you can't say I didn't warn you.
-- spacemoggy, May 17 2004

my arse! this is dreadful censorship - unheard of here!
-- po, May 17 2004

It's nothing personal. I just don't like football is all. And it's not like it's even tenuously related to the idea.
-- spacemoggy, May 17 2004

but how can we play/watch footie if we get another iceage?
-- po, May 17 2004

No more football? This idea just doesn't have a down-side.
-- spacemoggy, May 17 2004

would you mind awfully if I called you spaceoddity?
-- po, May 17 2004

Don't like football = odd?
-- spacemoggy, May 17 2004

Sorry [spacemoggy]. I appear, inadvertantly, to have initiated a football-related side-debate in the middle of your idea. I will refrain from correcting any of the errors relating to Arsenal above as a pennence (it hurts, believe me!). On the other hand your idea is patently silly and you must have known as much when you posted it so I'm glad to see you're not being too precious about it. In fact I'm beginning to suspect that your evidently retarded brother helped you come up with this one?
-- dobtabulous, May 17 2004

[marked-for-deletion] tehcno-magic. Sorry, solar sails simply aren't going to cut it for speeding up or slowing down the Earth, even if carbon nanotube cables were feasible. Beside, I'm pretty certain someone suggested moving the Earth to fix the calendar before.
-- DrCurry, May 17 2004

Depends how big the solar sail is. Also, <pedant mode on> to get a longer orbit you need to speed the earth up, not slow it down <pedant mode off>.
-- spacemoggy, May 17 2004

You don't have to do either. You just have to go around the sun less frequently. Normally that would mean you'd have to speed up to get into a higher orbit. However, that's assuming you're relying only on your momentum to give you your orbit distance. If the solar sails were permanent, you'd have a bit of an extra radial force away from the sun, increasing your orbit and year length without increasing your speed.

The nice thing about this plan would be if there ever were any problems you could just take down your solar sails and drift back into a normal orbit. Hey, maybe this is a (admittadly expensive and arguably impossible) way of controlling global warming.

Bad science or not, I'm bunning this. You can borrow some of my leftover nanotube rope if you need it.
-- Worldgineer, May 17 2004

I like the phrase [ drift back into a normal orbit ]. The combination of drifting leading to a course correction brings joy to my heart. Oh, and something about Arsenal, whoever they are.
-- normzone, May 17 2004

I know it's off topic, and I know I'll be incurring [moggy]'s wrath, but I would request [ether] withdraw his "poorest premiership line up in years" remark, and consider how that makes us wretched Everton fans feel!
-- MikeOliver, May 17 2004

Well, if we get an ice age, we can always watch the Packers play the Vikings.

I still vote for a 360 day calandar, with a 5-day break in there for fun. Good luck booking airline flights then, thougn.
-- RayfordSteele, May 17 2004

I like it, but it needs to be more.... metric. There aren't enough Tens in your plan. 10 days a week, 10 weeks a year, and get rid of months. All of a sudden, people will start living longer, too. Everyone gets to multiply their current age by 3.65.
-- mtoonsdale, May 17 2004

To extend the year to 400 days, it would be necessary to move the orbit of earth outward. That would put us closer to the asteroid belt. My guess is that we would have to deal with more objects like 1997 XR2 (only 35443 days to go). Why not just increase the spin of the earth to increase to 400 hours? [-]
-- Klaatu, May 17 2004

[mtoonsdale] or 10 days a week, 10 weeks a month and 10 months in a year.

We could all feel younger.
-- reap, May 17 2004

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