And the prize goes to . . .
1 November 2006
Not sure what tangled interwebbian thread led me to these sites, but they are both contenders in the ‘How To Limit Your Audience To Those Who Know Calculus And/Or FORTRAN And Show Little Or No Empathy To Anyone Else,’ category.
This site wins in the subcategory of ‘How Not To Concisely Define An AU,’ I was just going to give it honorable mention and award the win to ‘I dunno, how?’ but that short, imbecilic answer is actually more comprehensible than this long, obtuse one.
And then, there is the suggestion for calendar reform. It’s been done before, but the system we have is still, as the computer folks say, kludgy. The FAQ’s on the site are great, I particularly like this one:
5.) Do I have to wait until 2006 January 1 to adopt the new calendar?
No, you can adopt it right now; but you and your neighbors won’t agree on the date.
The worst part of it is, some kind of reform seems like a really good suggestion, considering the profusion of calendars. But when you say stuff like the foregoing quote, it’s hard for people to take you seriously. Anyone who lives by the Jewish or Muslim calendars already may actually have that problem. Likewise, all of you out there who organize your planners around Julian Dates will find that inconvenience to be old news.
The question remains, however, why is the seven-day week so sacrosanct? Well, that turns out to be a good word to describe it. Apparently, many of these geeks (ret) who work on calendar reform have the Fourth (?) Commandment firmly in mind.
For me, even despite the lack of much historcal validation, I like the Gregorian calendar for the same reasons I like the Fahrenheit scale and the English system of measurement. First, I’ve worn off all the sharp edges so they fit comfortably in my hands, in a manner of speaking. Second, they are honest about their connection to marvelously idiosyncratic human origins. I find perfect consistentency in praising some awkward systems while condeming others–it brings a sense of aesthetics to bear on the field of measurement, which otherwise tends to venerate a system spawned by the French Revolution.