Hello and welcome to another week on the internet. Wargames Con finished up on Sunday so we should be getting some good content spawning from that in the near future. I expect to start seeing some posts as soon as the hangovers wear off and as soon as people catch up on their sleep. In the meantime, there are some moderate to big things happening at the House of Paincakes.
We kicked off a contest last week for a coveted spot in the HoP author pool. We've gotten a few entries so far, but we'd really like to see more. Be sure to check out the details here: HoP Idol
Just a bit of clarification - if you end up as the lucky winner of this fantabulous test of skill (which may or may not involve traveling back in time to have a dream date with the star of your choice at the time of your choice), you'll be producing an original series for us - not reposting something you already do. Just wanted to make that clear.
Oh, and I've watched enough youtube clips to be fully up to speed on the whole Randy "dawg" thing now. So... dawg.. I guess.
Speaking of new authors...
SinSynn and Vice
After much wrangling, hand holding and a little bit of cajoling, we've managed to add dear, sweet SinSynn to our illustrious author pool. You may know the guy from the comments section of your favorite blogs. We thought he was hilarious and well written enough to class up the HoP. His first post last Friday was supposed to be this Wednesday's treat, but an itchy trigger finger and the slew of good comments that cropped up as I slept ensured that not only was his inagural post a good one, but that it stayed up on Friday. Keep your eyes open for an introduction post this Wednesday. It's a good one.
New Member Monday
Keywords: 40k news, character battles, paint and conversion work, rants and strategy discussions
Keywords: Miniatures Games, Super-Heroes, and Movies, rants
The Realm of Dungeons & Dragons
Keywords: RPG’s, investigative journalism, AD&D and C&C
Fully Steamed Up
Keywords: Warmachine, Hobby, Painting, Tactics, News and Advice.
Oinks Overambitious Terrain Project(s)
Keywords: Terrain, Scenery, 40K, Armies
Keywords: Mordheim, Mordheim, Mordheim, Mordheim and Mordheim
The Discount Barber
Keywords: Warhammer 40k, Imperial Guard, list building, Games Workshop, grief.
Now, for your winning and extra long essay from the week's new members. This time around, Oink took a break from his Overambitious Terrain Project(s) to write an overambitious bit on our calendar.
You better sit down because this will shock you to the core;
Warning: this has math in it. A lot. Some of it might even be correct. If you are mathophobic, then you might want to skip to the end...
Once every four years (or so I thought) we are all being forced to take an extra day. The thing is that, in that 366 day year, we are working an additional day without being paid for it (well, those of us on contracts are at least). I for one won't stand for it, who made this ghastly decision and why wasn't I consulted!?
Lets start with the basics. Essentially, each solar year is actually almost 6 hours longers than our standard (common year). So every four years the "remainder" is collated and tagged onto the year as a day. February is the shortest month (due to some Caesarian shenanigans), so we stick the day there, call it February 29th, the Leap Day, and everyone is happy. Simple right... well, no.
The year we now use is called a "Tropical Year" and it is 365.242190419 days long. With malice of forethought - my calculator won’t hold that many digits. In any case, in real terms it is 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds. So it’s a bit short of 365.25 (1 year + 6 hours). That hardly matters, right? Actually, it does, over time. Even that little bit adds up. After four years, we don’t have 1461 physical days, we have 1460.968762 days.
That means that when we add a whole day in every four years, we’re adding too much! We should really only add 0.968762 days. But that’s a bit of a pain, so we add in a whole day. So even though we add a Leap Day to balance the calendar, it’s still a bit off. It’s a lot better, for sure, but it’s still just a hair out of whack. This time, it’s ahead (since we added a whole day which is too much) by about 45 minutes.
You can see that eventually we’ll run into trouble again. The calendar gains 45 minutes every 4 four years. After we’ve had 32 leap years (128 years of calendar time) we’ll be off by a day again!
So we need to adjust our calendar again. But 128 years is hard to remember, so it was decided to round that down to 100 years. (why? because if there is a stupid way of doing something, that's how it will be done). After a century, we’ll have added that extra 45 minutes in 25 times (every four years for 100 years = 25 leap years). To be precise, after 100 years the calendar will be off by;
25 x 0.031238 days = 0.780950 days. That’s supposedly close enough to a whole day.
So after 100 years, the calendar has gained almost a whole day on the physical number of days in a year. That means we have to stop the calendar and let the spin of the Earth catch up. To do this, every 100th year we don’t add in a leap day! To make it simpler, we only do this in years divisible by 100. So 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, we didn’t add an extra day and the calendar edged that much closer to matching reality. But remember, after 100 years, the calendar still isn’t off by a whole number. It’s ahead by 0.78095 days. So when we subtract a day by not having leap year every century, we’re overcompensating; we’re subtracting too much. We’re behind now, by
1 - 0.780950 days = 0.21905 days.
Arg! So every 100 years, the calendar lags behind by 0.21905 days. If you’re ahead of me here (and really, I can barely keep up with myself at this point): after 400 years, we’ve messed up the calendar by 0.21905 days four times (once every 100 years for 400 years), and so after four centuries the calendar is behind by
4 x 0.21905 days = 0.8762 days
and that’s apparently close enough to a whole day. At this point, Astronomers realised they screwed things up enough, so every 400 years February 29th magically appears on the calendar, and once again the calendar is marginally closer to being accurate. The problem is that in around 8,000 years, the calendar will be about one day behind where it is now. But in 8,000 years, the length of the vernal equinox year will have changed by an amount that cannot be accurately predicted... (due to big stuff moving around space)
The theory appears to be sound... (yeah right) the idea being that because seasons and "annual" events do not repeat at an exact number of full 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, thus every four years we are approximately one day behind. What about those poor bastards born on February 29th?
Well, it turns out that the Gregorian calender (todays accepted variation of the old Julian Calender first used by Romans) works out its leap in order to keep the vernal equinox on or close to March 21 in order that Easter falls on or after March 21. Gregorian... a Pope...
Yes thats right - once again religion has well and trully fucked us.
But, I've got a solution that should keep everyone in order... And boy its so simple I can't believe it hasn't been done already.
What we do is, rather than extending each fourth year by one full day (or just over, resulting in some very confused astronomers), we keep each common year 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds longer. Then, we divide this across every Saturday in the year, ensuring that we all get approximately 7 minutes longer at the weekend. Time which we aren't paid for and can enjoy!
See, I'm happy, you're happy, business is happy, nature is happy! What will you do with your 7 minutes?
Religion? Fucking deal with it!