February 19, 1700

February 19, 1700, was the last day of usage in Denmark of the Julian Calendar, as it was adapting to the cool, new Gregorian calendar that all the rich kid nations, like England, Spain and France were using. Why did the nations change from the stodgy, it-ain’t-broken Julian Calendar to the New Math Gregorian calendar? Because it was broken. Even though the Julian calendar did observe a leap year every fourth year, the years weren’t exactly 365.25 days long. They are 365.24217 days long, good enough for farm work, but not for science or accounting. Therefore, every four hundred years, the calendar would gain about three days, and in 1700, those centuries were adding up and Denmark was 12 days behind the rest of the civilized world. The Gregorian calendar took into account that slight variance and fixed it. When the Danish were complaining about  January in Denmark, Spain was already in February and looking forward to Spring Break. So remember, pi isn’t 3 or 4 or 3.14 or 3.14159, it is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and the number after the decimal point is important if you have to calculate out for a long time or a long distance. The Julian Calendar was only going to get more out of whack as each century rolled over and eventually our descendants would be having Summer Vacation in October. Remember, New Math happens every generation and if you don’t learn it, you’ll end up like those people who have stubbornly stuck to the Julian calendar, which means, instead of it being February 19, 2019, it would be February 6, 2019, and you’d still be waiting on payday, if you get paid twice a month.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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One Response to February 19, 1700

  1. Anders Andersen says:

    Legally, Denmark is still still slightly behind the rest of the world by a few hundredths of a second. When they adopted UTC, they neglected to update a Danish law that established Danish Mean Time as a location slightly off from where UTC measures it.

    In real, day-to-day terms, this doesn’t have any actual effect, since clocks and devices in Denmark all use UTC instead of the legally-mandated Danish Mean Time, but it does mean that, on paper at least, Denmark still hasn’t quite caught up with everyone else.

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