(USA Today) Each year, Jan. 1 falls on a different day of the week, and the entire following year shifts accordingly. Schools, sports teams, businesses and banks spend many hours and millions of dollars calculating on what day of the week certain dates will fall, to schedule holidays and set interest rates. It doesn’t need to be that complicated, say an astrophysicist and applied economist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. They have a proposal to make schedules simpler: a permanent calendar in which each 12-month period is exactly as the year before, on into perpetuity.
The extra days created by the Earth’s inconvenient 365.242-day orbit around the sun would be dealt with not by adding Feb. 29 for leap years, but by a leap week tacked onto the calendar at the end of December every five to six years. Hanke, who has helped seven countries introduce new currencies, estimates the change could save “roughly $130 billion” merely by decreasing the chance of interest-calculation errors resulting from incorrectly counting the number of days in a given month.
There have been multiple proposals to change the calendar since the world began to shift from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar starting in 1582. Most suffer from what Henry calls “the Sabbath problem.” Many religions require people to labor for six days but keep the seventh holy. Proposed calendars that break up the seven-day cycle destroy the count, meaning people could end up working on a day they should devote to spiritual matters.
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