• Spare Day

    Article by Ey@el and illustrations by Uderzo & Goscinny

    Original en français

    It's official: this year you'll work more indeed, but to earn less1 as 2016 is actually a bissextile (leap) year.

    An Equal Opportunity Year

    Do not fear the leap year but rather the one before and the one after.
    (French saying)

    Unlike some dirty minds (who's that? me?) might insidiously try to insinuate, the year of the bissextus (leap day) should be no more gay nor ambiguous than regular years. Though definitely more twisted even falling apart as Dutronc's song says2 — so natural when you have 365.242199-day years, 31-day months, 30-day months plus one 28-day month which sometimes has 29 days, 27¼-day lunar months, sometimes 28, 29... even 29½ (what about Platform 9¾ as it happens3), it's so easy to lose your bearings (or Latin as we say in French, which is fortunate that I chose to learn Russian). Why do I mention the Moon by the way? Well, the reason is long before leap years, the Sumerians would measure years using moon cycles hence the Indo-European root of the actual word “month” meaning “moon”.

    From Latin bissextus meaning “sixth day”, once again those “crazy Romans”, as Obelix would say, are responsible for this four-year nonsense meant to address the non-integer number of days within a year as first observed by the Egyptians who had initially counted 360 days then added 5. Hence, forty-six years before Jesus cried, Julius the Great, who happened to have a better head for maths (not that much obviously) had one more added to put his best face on Cleopatra (mostly upon consulting aptly named astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria), thus introducing the Julian calendar (with his face on it I imagine).

    Still not getting the amount right, in 1582, Illuminati controlled Vatican Pope Gregory XIII commissioned his own infamous Gregorian calendar which, as explains David Icke in Tales From The Time Loop, “was introduced by more and more countries who accepted the new measurement, of 'time' until it became the 'norm'.

    The Euclidian Complex3

    Karma Police, arrest this man
    He talks in maths,
    Buzzes like a fridge,
    He's like a detuned radio.

     "Karma Police", Radiohead (1997)

    Hence, all years divisible by 4 become leap years except those ending with 00 unless they are divisible by 400. You totally missed the point? It's okay, Microsoft explain it all on their support page:

    To determine whether a year is a leap year, follow these steps:

    1. If the year is evenly divisible by 4, go to step 2. Otherwise, go to step 5.
    2. If the year is evenly divisible by 100, go to step 3. Otherwise, go to step 4.
    3. If the year is evenly divisible by 400, go to step 4. Otherwise, go to step 5.
    4. The year is a leap year (it has 366 days).
    5. The year is not a leap year (it has 365 days).

    Use the following formula to determine whether the year number that is entered into a cell (in this example, cell A1) is a leap year:

    =IF(OR(MOD(A1,400)=0,AND(MOD(A1,4)=0,MOD(A1,100)<>0)),"Leap Year", "NOT a Leap Year")


    You still don't get it? Well, you may not have a head for maths, that's all. And that is good news.

    The Pythagora Army

    Frequent reformations lead to distortion. (German saying)

    So, for when all the hammering won't work, mathletes had to find a way to make it sink in anyhow.

    For this purpose, as explains David Icke in the above-mentioned book, “the British Calendar Act of 1751 declared that 12 days of the following year would not exist and that the day after Wednesday, September 2nd 1752 would be Thursday, September 14th. See how silly the idea of 'time' really is? However you seek to measure 'time' it will always be an illusion because the concept of time is an illusion.

    The Cossacks attack Natacha.
    Vice Consul prefers lashes,
    A Buddha Affair is about to blow up:
    Who had Leon Trostky killed?
    The Yankees are having fun in Warsaw,
    She's after the tsars!

    "Les Tzars", Indochine (1987)

    Personally, I must clearly have a bit (much, a lot, a great deal yeah!) of a masochistic streak for not only did I study maths but also Russian as mentioned above (однако Я не говорю по-русски5). While the former still sticks in my hypotenuse, the latter, as explained in brackets, did get lost in translation long before the wall ever came down. But wait for it, I think you'll understand...

    In 1929, the Soviet Union (world-renowed for its chess players) had this idea of introducing its own revolutionary calendar organised into 30-day months, the spare ones were considered as  bonus gifts and devoted to rest, a bit like the French Sansculottides6 (which didn't last more than two seven-year terms before putting their pants back on).

    From the autumn of 1929 until the summer of 1931, each Gregorian calendar year was usually divided into 72 five-day weeks (=360 days), three of which were split into two partial weeks by five national holidays. The two parts of each split week still totaled five days—the one or two national holidays that split it were not part of that week. Each day of the five-day week was labeled by either one of five colors or a Roman numeral from I to V. Each worker was assigned a color or number to identify his or her day of rest.

    Eighty per cent of each factory's workforce was at work every day (except holidays) in an attempt to increase production while 20% were resting. But if a husband and wife, and their relatives and friends, were assigned different colors or numbers, they would not have a common rest day for their family and social life. Furthermore, machines broke down more frequently both because they were used by workers not familiar with them, and because no maintenance could be performed on machines that were never idle in factories with continuous schedules (24 hours/day every day). Five-day weeks (and later six-day weeks) "made it impossible to observe Sunday as a day of rest. This measure was deliberately introduced 'to facilitate the struggle to eliminate religion [...].

    On 23 June 1931, Stalin condemned the continuous work week as then practised, supporting the temporary use of the interrupted six-day week (one common rest day for all workers) until the problems with the continuous work week could be resolved. During August 1931, most factories were put on an interrupted six-day week as the result of an interview with the People's Commissar for Labour, who severely restricted the use of the continuous week. The official conversion to non-continuous schedules was decreed by the Sovnarkom of the USSR somewhat later, on 23 November 1931.

    The Year of The Great Leap

    For Britons, 2016 is definitely bound to be a (great) leap year, so “mind the gap” as one can hear in the tube in London since 1968.

    As for us, leaping “froggies” (or Gauls), if not an action-packed year, it will probably be the last of the great fool (guess who). Let's hope the sky doesn't fall in after that!



    1. ^ “Work more to earn more” was Sarkozy's former presidential campaign motto.
    2. ^ See The Opportunist.
    3. ^ In the Harry Potter series, only wizards may access Platform 9¾, located between Platforms 9 and 10 at King's Cross Station in London to board the Hogwarts Express steam train to Hogsmead, Scotland, hostplace for the famous Hogwarts Wizarding School.
    4. ^ 30 = 7 x 4 + 2 (Euclidian division). Good old Euclid! Unable to recall multiples of 5!
    5. ^ Translation: « Con todo, no hablo ruso ».
    6. ^ See sansculottides.
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