Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/593

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587
REFORMING THE CALENDAR

westward their weeks are perforce lengthened to more than the standard 168 hours. Should they happen to go all the way around the world they make their weeks so long as to be obliged to throw out a whole day into the Pacific Ocean, thus giving them one 6-day week. If, on the other hand, they travel eastward, their weeks are shortened, and by the time they get home they must have endured one 8-day week. This being the case, how can they logically object to a calendar reform which would only have the same effect upon them, at certain long intervals, as would an extended eastward journey.

Whatever reform is made, one point especially should be insisted upon (one that the calendar reformers seem to have neglected) and that is to start the new year about the twenty-first of December instead of ten days later, as we now do. Thus the calendar year and the solar year would have a definite relation to each other—as they properly and logically should have. Here again an objection might be offered that when the change was made some certain two sabbaths would come too near together, or too far apart, but as this would only happen once for all (it is to be hoped for many thousand years) the difficulty would not be a serious one. Even this could be avoided, however, simply by choosing a suitable year for the grand change.

To those persons who object to the first season (winter) beginning 21 days later than it does now, it may be pointed out that we of the north temperate zone are apt to have many more cold and disagreeable days in March than we do in November and that the early part of September is but a continuation of summer. The occasional frosts which we have in June that so often "spoil the peach crop" (for the time being!) may perhaps also give a hint that summer might just as well commence a little later than it now does. To the thought that we should logically place the middle of the cold season at the solstice, when the earth receives the least sunshine, it may be replied that there is a lag in meteorological phenomena which is the interval between certain causes and the effects which follow. The retardation is due to a variety of physical actions, as the retention of heat in the earth, water and air, and so forth. The length of this lag is uncertain and irregular, but probably a half-season is a near enough period to allow. All of our weather is so variable that it is not feasible to attempt running it upon an exact time-table.

It should be understood that the word "season" is used herein synonymously with "quarter." The latter is of course frequently used in business matters as a division of a fiscal year. There is no reason, however, why the commercial quarter-year should not be identical with the climatological and sentimental unit.

Incidental to this calendar reform, but not necessarily a part of it, is the numbering of the hours of the day from 1 to 24 instead of by the