February 28, 2012

White Dog snuggled against my shoulder and said, "Well, at least February is over, maybe March will be warmer and brighter and filled with more happiness." "It HAS been kind of a rough month, Little One," I responded, "But there is still one more day of this month.

"Uh-uh! The rhyme says all the rest have 31 except February which has 28." I looked at her in surprise because I can never figure out where she picks up these things, "But it ends, EXCEPT on leap year when it has 29."

"So you humans just randomly toss in another day now and then? Sometimes your rules are just plain crazy! And what the dog is a Leap Year?"

"Let's look it up together," I suggested as we fired up the computer. "And everyone in the world is ok with this idea?" White Dog asked as we waited. "As much as everyone in the world is ever ok with anything."

Here’s what Wikipedia says: A leap year (or intercalary or bissextile year) is a year containing one additional day (or, in the case of lunisolar calendars, a month) in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, a calendar that had the same number of days in each year would, over time, drift with respect to the event it was supposed to track. By occasionally inserting (or intercalating) an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year that is not a leap year is called a common year. "Lots of fancy words," WD muttered.

From infoplease.com we learned that Julius Caesar introduced Leap Years in the Roman empire over 2000 years ago into the Julian Calendar, but things didn't get corrected until the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar more than 1500 years later.

In the Gregorian calendar 3 criteria must be met to be a leap year (there are rules upon rules, WD moaned):

  • The year is evenly divisible by 4;
  •  If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless;
  • The year is also evenly divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.

This means that 2000 and 2400 are leap years, while 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500
are NOT leap years.

Other calendars also have Leap Years: the Chinese; the Jewish; the Iranian; the Islamic; the Baha’i; the Hindu and the Ethiopian are some.

What are your chances of being born on leap day? About 1 in 1,500.

"That is all strangely interesting and another perfect example of how humans take a simple thing like the earth automatically traveling around the sun (which doesn't need ANY help, thank you) and make it complicated and convoluted and hard to remember. AND I am glad I wasn't born on Leap Day, only one birthday party every four years...no way!"

At that she snorted and hopped down. I heard her in the other room telling the rest of the White Dog Army that Too Late Tuesday just got even longer.


GOOSE said...

That space between my ears hurts. I'll just look at it this way: It's one more day of love, hugs, and treats.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

You are the smartest doggy in the world- so full of wisdom!

Nola said...

So smart! Leap years are weird
Dachshund Nola

KB said...

I have a friend who was born on a Leap Day...

I don't know if you ever watch John Stewart on the Daily Show, but, just last night, his astronomer guest told him that the earth graphic at the start of his show rotates the wrong way! He needed the WDA to help him get it right!

Teddy Bear said...

We had no idea. You are all so full of insight and wonder. We just love you all.:)

Teddy Bear & Sierra

Remington said...

You are SO smart! Love the glasses!

Brian said...

Silly humans! If they were going to throw in an extra day it should always be another Saturday!

Random Felines said...

Yep - them humans are strange....we vote for naps all around until March. :)

Jo's World said...

But just think, if my Mom had been born in a leap year she would only be 19 years old instead of 70 something. I think I got that right! Anyway, she'd be a whole lot younger!


Amber DaWeenie said...

Momma has a friend who was born on February 29. Does that mean she is only 10 years old instead of 40?

haopee said...

All I can say is... it's all about the number, sweety.

Hey WDA, how's it going. It's currently 3:24 am in the morning of the 1st of March here, and I'm still awake, fixing another laptop...

Gaahhh, sorry if I haven't replied soon. Will get to it when I have the time.

Huggies and Cheese,


♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Siku Marie, you look darling in your cute specs.

We hope you all had a happy, peaceful, and less windy Leap Day.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightningntom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Natalie on american eskimo dog training said...

Your name must be Wiki or Google. You got all the information.

Sagira said...

I'm glad I'm not a leap year baby. I wouldn't like not having a birthday every year. :)