Feb 25th, 2010
Don’t jump! (it’s not a leap year)
There will be no confusing hop, skip and a leap over to that ever-so-odd February 29th date (at least it’s odd to me). The next leap year doesn’t happen until 2012. This is great news, because now I don’t have to get a birthday gift for my friend Laura (her often-invisible February 29th birthday has allowed me to save much money through the years).
Although I must admit, on the other hand, I do sorta-kinda miss leap years. With an extra day in February I get more of my money’s worth from those “pay-by-the-month” expenses like the gym membership, train pass, cable bill and such. Somehow I feel gypped only getting 28 days, when the surrounding January and March each have 31 days.
For people who love learning stuff, the added day every fourth February is needed. Why? Because it actually takes the earth 365 ¼ days to finish its orbit around the sun. If we didn’t make the correction, in just a few years kids would spend their “summer” vacation from school shoveling snow off the driveway.
For people who really love learning stuff to the nth degree, the solar year is actually 11 minutes and 14 seconds short of 365 ¼ days (which means after 128 years, we would be off by a day again!). So to top-secret super compensate, a new rule was made in 1582: “Century” years are not counted as leap years unless they’re evenly divisible by 400.
For people who really, really love learning stuff to the nth degree, this new rule still has us about 30 seconds off (to-date). But at this rate, it will take us 3,300 years to wander off by a whole day. Hopefully they’ll come up with another rule by then?