back to article Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar

Welcome again to On-Call, The Reg’s Friday column celebrating readers’ stories of being asked to fix the unfeasible. We usually anonymise the names of those who contribute On-Call stories, to protect the guilty and save some recriminations. But this week’s story came from a chap named Jason and that’s relevant to his story. …

Page:

  1. Dr Scrum Master

    July and August must Go!

    July and August need to be removed from the calendar. For centuries these dead, white, slave-owning war criminals have been glorified every year for a whole month each.

    1. smudge Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: July and August must Go!

      Not to mention the agony experienced by nomenclature pedants from 1st September until the end of the year.

      1. Naselus Silver badge

        Re: July and August must Go!

        "Not to mention the agony experienced by nomenclature pedants from 1st September until the end of the year."

        July and August weren't additional months added in for Julius and Augustus, they were existing ones renamed for them. They were originally called Quintilis and Sextilis, which will just mean the nomenclature pedant hell will just be expanded by an additional two months. Unless we move them to the end, but then you end up with Hendecember and Dodecember, which is too many Decembers for my liking.

        The Roman New Year was originally at the end of February, so March should be Month 1. If you do that, everything falls back into place and we avoid silly names. It's also why February has a variable length - originally much more variable. February had 28 days most years, and 23 days in others, when a 13th month of 23 days would be added immediately afterwards to account for the 368 day calendar length. When they corrected the calendar, February was the natural choice to soak up extra time again.

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: July and August must Go!

          @Naselus

          A classically educated pedant writes...

          you end up with Hendecember and Dodecember

          NO! That mixes Greek and Latin. Septem, Octo, Novem, Decem are Latin, Hendecem is a bastard mix of Greek and Latin. ἐνδεκα is eleven in classical Greek, δώδεκα is twelve. Stick to straight Latin and we'd have Undecimber Duodecimber

          Yep, still a bit of a mouthful.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: July and August must Go!

            So they should be pronounced with a hard "C"?

          2. Nick Kew Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: July and August must Go!

            Quisquid Latine dictum sit, turbat legitur.

            (Please correct my grammar - this pleb went to a big Comprehensive and never learned latin. Nor indeed English grammar).

          3. Wilberfarce

            Re: July and August must Go!

            And at least with Undecember we'd get a chance to roll back and try again if December goes Pete Tong.

          4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

            Re: July and August must Go!

            And then it all went wrong when the religious nutjobs decided that their invisible made-up sky fairy messiah was born. The thing is, the reason he was fictionally born in a manger in a stable is that all the hotels were already shut for midwinter Yule.

            1. Muscleguy Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: July and August must Go!

              The problem is rather more fundamental, the reason given for the move was that the Roman census required everyone to move to their home places. In which case surely they could have stayed with Joseph's family? Also there was no Roman census conducted in Palestine over the period supposed and Rome never required such a move.

              It was simply a factor shoehorned into the story so the signifiers of deity could stack up like cordwood. Born in Bethlehem, in Jewish eyes at least, ticked on box. That he was supposedly also from Nazareth was a problem in need of a solution. Hey Presto! a fictional census with a fictional stricture, add fictional star struck shepherds and Eastern Philosophers, stage it in a stable with adoring animals and you have it.

              1. Naselus Silver badge

                Re: July and August must Go!

                "Also there was no Roman census conducted in Palestine over the period supposed and Rome never required such a move."

                Rome wasn't even in control of Palestine at the time. It was under Herod's control - a character who even appears in the same sodding chapter.

                Also, it wouldn't have been happening in December, since it mentions that the sheep were out in the fields. It is possible that the events were happening in February, however - some scholars believe the Romans kept to the old calendar, with March as New Year, until well into the imperial period.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: July and August must Go!

                Born in Bethlehem, in a manger, visited, and recognised as soverign and holy, by shepards and wise men (of indeterminate number and character) who brought gold frankincense and myrh as gifts, traced his line back to david (through joseph who christian scholars and historians agree wasn't his father, but ho hum) all predicted in the old testament, none of it mentioned in the new testament. Everything else is embelishments used to justify, describe, or sell this idea to someone (like balthazar, the black king who was born 200 years after jesus death and lived hundreds of miles west of Bethlehem, who non the less arrived as one of the wise men from the east, long complicated journey I'm sure)

                But lets not let facts get in the way of good story telling.

                1. Anonymous IV
                  FAIL

                  Re: July and August must Go!

                  > But lets not let facts get in the way of good story telling.

                  And let's not bother about spelling, punctuation, capitalisation, and other such niceties which could make it easier to read comments, especially when they have been written in green ink...

                2. Stoneshop Silver badge
                  Holmes

                  Re: July and August must Go!

                  (like balthazar, the black king who was born 200 years after jesus death and lived hundreds of miles west of Bethlehem

                  On a boat? A Mediterranean island? An undersea volcanic lair?

                  , who non the less arrived as one of the wise men from the east, long complicated journey I'm sure)

                  Navigation systems were pretty crap back then.

                3. Kiwi

                  Re: July and August must Go!

                  Everything else is embelishments used to justify, describe, or sell this idea to someone (like balthazar, the black king who was born 200 years after jesus death and lived hundreds of miles west of Bethlehem, who non the less arrived as one of the wise men from the east, long complicated journey I'm sure)

                  From many repeated readings of the Bible including the texts referred to, and a quick check of a search at biblegateway.com and other resources, there appears to be no mention of this "balthazar" character anywhere in the Bible.

                  Perhaps you've fallen victim to some of the many false falsehoods claimed to be in the Bible?

            2. enormous c word

              Re: July and August must Go!

              My kids asked me when they were little why Jesus was born in a stable, and I told them that it was because all the hotels were closed for Christmas that day ;-)

          5. Bill Gray

            Re: July and August must Go!

            Dunno about the "proper" Latin names for an eleventh and twelfth month, but this may be of interest to calendar pedants :

            http://www.tondering.dk/claus/cal/roman.php

            (As part of Julius Caesar's calendar reform, two months were inserted between November and December in 46 BC. "It has been suggested that their names were Undecember and Duodecember, but that is doubtful, as this would mean that the names of the last four months were derived from the Latin words for nine, eleven, twelve, ten – in that order." Note that this was a one-off event; the Roman calendar required occasional leap months, but that hadn't been done for a while. The extra two months were to get things back on track.)

            So... JFMAMJJASONUDD. But if we wanted logic, we'd have switched to the French Republican calendar.

          6. Lorribot

            Re: July and August must Go!

            I'm liking the sound of hristmas during the month of Ewok, a North London bastardisation of greek original as is the English way.

          7. Daniel 18

            Re: July and August must Go!

            Clearly the answer is to completely undo the insertion of those months, and go back to a ten month year.

        2. Def Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: July and August must Go!

          @Naselus

          It is far too early in the year for this level of accurate and interesting information on a Friday morning.

          Keep it up, please!

          1. bitten

            Re: July and August must Go!

            At least July and August could give their 31st day back to February

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: July and August must Go!

              That would screw up the solstices and equinoxes.

        3. breakfast
          Paris Hilton

          Re: July and August must Go!

          You appear not to be in favour of "Sextember" but I have only just discovered that was a thing that might have existed and it's already my favourite month. Perhaps we should just make it last slightly more than two months to celebrate it's greatness, so that the official conclusion of Summer would become the 69th of Sextember.

        4. Deltics
          Coat

          And Janril, Febtober and Marchuary must be introduced!

          Bo**ocks. Sir.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: July and August must Go!

      Can't we get rid of May?

      1. Richard Jones 1

        Re: July and August must Go!

        A/C You beat me to it, my typing is slow and crap after an eye operation yesterday.

      2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

        Re: July and August must Go!

        > Can't we get rid of May?

        Jason means JASON.

      3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Can't we get rid of May?

        Normally I have no faith in the ability of politicians but the is one thing they get right consistently. I know it is hard to believe, but when one finally gets kicked out they consistently find a replacement who is even worse.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can't we get rid of May?

          > they consistently find a replacement who is even worse.

          Oh I don't know: I think it's very unfair to characterise either Cameron or May as worse than Blair.

          His self-enriching reign was the nadir of UK politics.

          1. Paul 195

            Re: Can't we get rid of May?

            Blair might have dragged us into an illegal war, but at least he didn't completely stuff the country like Cameron and now May have done. A pointless referendum on a stupid question that is going to damage our prosperity and possibly break up the union, all because the Tory party can't sort out their internal issues. At least Major had the guts to face down his rebels.

            1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

              Re: Can't we get rid of May?

              Blair and his plan to "rub the tories noses in diversity", sending out search parties for Polish immigrants are the main reason people voted to leave the EU.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                >Blair and his plan to "rub the tories noses in diversity", sending out search parties for Polish immigrants are the main reason people voted to leave the EU.

                Against the flow, I think you're right. Even if there are benefits to immigration (and there are plenty) it leads to resentment and it leads to a drain of talent in the sending country. It does need to be controlled.

                The real problem is with all of the millions who believe their propoganda mouthpiece of choice and believe that every law we're subjected to has been dictated by the EU and forced upon us without us having any say, where in reality it's nothing of the sort. We didn't have to join Shengen, we didn't have to join the Euro and we didn't have to accept immigration.

                The issue with the EU is not the EU; it's successive UK governments who have gone ahead with things they didn't have to, or could have influenced. And what are they suggesting as an alternative? Trade deals with India. Fucking fantastic. Just what we need.

                1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  "believe that every law we're subjected to has been dictated by the EU and forced upon us without us having any say, "

                  Many of the more objectionable ones were rammed through an unwilling EU parliament by the British, then used back in the UK as an excuse to do what they wanted to do all along, without appearing to be evil.

              2. fruitoftheloon
                Happy

                @Disgusted: Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                Disgusted,

                a little question for you, I was wondering how you came to your conclusion about why so many folk [me included] voted to leave, did you spend a ton of your own money on some statistically valid research or jump to conclusions and trip over your own prejudices?

                Btw my vote to leave had 'nowt to do with immigration, but I can understand why some folk would hold that opinion...

                Hey-ho!

                Jay

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                  Re: @Disgusted: Can't we get rid of May?

                  Interesting point that. I've as yet been unable to find anyone I've chatted with (among Brexit voters) who seems to have an explanation for their choice beyond a slogan. Reduce immigration. But why? One person said that wages will go up without foreign competition. Will they? Is there any evidence for that? Slogans. Take back control. But what control do you think you'll have that you don't already have? Which laws would you really want different? ( The only answer I've been given, by three of four people, was immigration again, though one person did rather half heartedly say "Health and Safety" but couldn't say which bit of law he didn't want). A few people said that we'd be able to trade with the world again, but didn't know of any (legal) trade we couldn't have already. And I've heard of people who say "all that European bureaucracy" which I kind of sympathise with - but not enough to tear up the whole agreement for. All slogans so far. I'd love to see some evidence that it could all turn out well. I'm old enough not to have to face the consequences. My kids are young adults. They've got to live in the post-Brexit world.

                  1. H in The Hague Silver badge

                    Re: @Disgusted: Can't we get rid of May?

                    "... though one person did rather half heartedly say "Health and Safety" but couldn't say which bit of law he didn't want). "

                    Please give them my regards and communicate the following to them:

                    In my experience, H&S regulations are stricter in the UK than in the rest of Europe.

                    Example 1: in the UK activities done above ground level are much more likely to be classified as 'working at height' than in NL.

                    Example 2: in the UK a course on chainsaw maintenance, crosscutting and light felling takes 5 days, in NL 3 days. And in the UK you have fewer students per instructor than in NL.

                    Example 3: installing and maintaining central heating boilers has been strictly regulated in the UK for yonks. In NL that's deregulated, though regs will be introduced in about a year or so (about time, methinks).

                    So Brexit will not have any effect on H&S legislation. In fact most H&S legislation is national, as far as H&S is concerned the EU is mostly (but not exclusively) involved in setting standards for ladders, safety glasses, machinery, etc. How you work safely with that kit is a national matter.

                    (In my view the higher H&S standards in the UK are often a good thing. Admittedly, H&S is used as an excuse by jobsworths to make life difficult for others, but that has nothing to do with the regulatory environment. Often their objections are actually a figment of their imagination, not based on H&S law/regulations.)

                    Industry also has form in this. I mentioned before that the UK construction site safety passport system is more bureaucratic than that in NL, without providing greater safety.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: @Disgusted: Can't we get rid of May?

                      "in the UK a course on chainsaw maintenance, crosscutting and light felling takes 5 days"

                      ?????!!!!!

                      FIVE DAYS?

                      What in the name of Paul Bunyan's whiskers takes five days?

                      1. Kiwi

                        Re: @Disgusted: Can't we get rid of May?

                        "in the UK a course on chainsaw maintenance, crosscutting and light felling takes 5 days"

                        ?????!!!!!

                        FIVE DAYS?

                        What in the name of Paul Bunyan's whiskers takes five days?

                        I'm pretty sure I could teach housewives{ to strip, inspect, repair and rebuild chainsaws inside 2 days. 3 if it's a large class! How the hell one part of the course takes more than a few hours beats me! (or did TOP mean "a course on using chainsaws to maintain" rather than "maintaining chainsaws"?)

                        | By "housewife" I mean people who are quite useful in any regard but are generally clueless about anything technicalK, ie who could not change a light bulb or change a tyre.

                        z I taught a totally computer illiterate person who'd not even handled a screwdriver to change laptop screens inside an hour, and that's covering different models with different ways of taking them apart. Some laptops seem to have twice as many screws just in their screen as an entire brand-range of chainsaws.

                  2. Justthefacts

                    Re: @Disgusted: Can't we get rid of May?

                    Haven’t you? I don’t believe you have genuinely asked anyone in your social group.

                    What you list are certainly the reasons that the media story has officially sanctioned brexiteers to say. But they aren’t mine, and in particular they aren’t the reasons of the *educated middle classes* who support brexit. In the *educated middle classes*, I am in the minority, but by no means vanishing.

                    Here are my concerns:

                    1) I’ve had rather a lot to do, professionally, with various EU institutions. Including, for example, Horizon2020 R&D contracts. I’ve done over £40M of business with EU institutions *personally*, and £20M with UK government. My experience is that EU contracts are hugely mismanaged, and over-bureaucratic. Even by comparison with UK gov. They are also terrifyingly and explicitly corrupt. I have *personally* put together the commercial logics of each winning bid, to include a method to pay off the assessment panel. That is how the system works. Period. It is a huge waste of human and social capital. People like me saw the future, we worked within that system, and we have come back to report to you from our personal experience that shit stinks.

                    2) Not one of the benefits of “the EU” are anything at all to do with allowing the European Commission to intermediate. “freedom of movement”, “zero tariffs”, and “peace in our time” are not given to us by fiat by the EC. It is entirely possible to negotiate these directly by inter-governmental treaty. There is a strong argument that the chaos and death in Ukraine was directly caused by the broken promises and lies from Brussels. The death and poverty in Greece certainly is - and if you don’t think that is like the aftermath of a civil war, then you my friend live in a bubble of middle-class privilege.

                    3) I strongly favour free immigration of skills. I have worked in teams of Indian, Chinese, Russians, and Europeans. There are great engineers amongst them all, and crap ones. I see no reason at all why someone with brown skin should work twice as hard to get a work visa as someone from France. If you want to play the race card, the racists are the Remainers. Ask the Indians or Russians in your team how they voted, or would vote.

                    4) I have Jewish parentage. A rather close friend of mine tells me how life is today in Hungary - things are now very close to Kristallnacht there, all the senior professional posts (in both public and private sector) have been politically replaced. If one is Jewish and has any money, one is very quietly selling up and making plans. In Austria, the far right is now in government. And you want leaders of those governments to have an equal vote on my rights. Not in *my* lifetime, you don’t.

                    If one is Jewish, or gay, or black, Never Again. Not Here.

              3. Mooseman Bronze badge

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                "main reason people voted to leave the EU."

                yes yes....of course. Nothing to do with a torrent of misinformation, lies and good old fashioned racism at all.

                1. Justthefacts

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  As posted above, the “race card” is a favourite of Remainers, as that is what they have been told to think Brexiters voted for. Unfortunately, the reasoning is precisely the opposite.

                  My reasons can be right or wrong, of course, but from my perspective it is very definitely the Remainers (if any) who are the Racists.

                  1) Fairly much the definition of Europe is “where the white people come from”.

                  2) I’m very pro-immigration for skills. In the voice of Mrs Merton, what first attracted you to handing out working rights for software engineers to poorly qualified white guys (and they are exclusively male) from the Czech Republic, rather than well qualified brown Indian men and women?

                  3) If you are white British, go through the EU passport line at an Italian airport happily and quickly and don’t think about it. Now look to your left, and see where your black British countrymen are. They are in the non-British line, being given a grilling. Now look at a Uk airport line: not discriminated in that way. This is the truth of “the EU

            2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: Can't we get rid of May?

              Blair might have dragged us into an illegal war, but at least he didn't completely stuff the country like Cameron and now May have done.

              He completely screwed up the educational system, which will do great long-term damage to the country.

              pointless referendum on a stupid question

              So pointless and stupid that hardly anyone voted, and those that did rejected it utterly? Oh, wait...

              1. FIA

                Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                pointless referendum on a stupid question

                So pointless and stupid that hardly anyone voted, and those that did rejected it utterly? Oh, wait...

                It was a referendum on a complex issue, the outcome of which had the potential to change this country for years to come, yet the choice was reduced to a simple Yes or No.

                There was no effort to quantify the ramifications of either choice, or outline the details of what they meant. The question asked was simplistic and naive, playing to broad stereotypes when the issue it purported to address is quite nuanced. This has resulted in widely different views of what should happen next with each camp claiming they represent the 'view of the people' leading to arguing, infighting and a pointless election rather than any real or meaningful progress on dealing with the outcome.

                Seems pretty stupid to me.

                Edit: To clarify, I think the referendum was stupid and clumsily handled. I recognise the issue it attempted to address is important to many people.

                1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                  Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                  It was a referendum on a complex issue, the outcome of which had the potential to change this country for years to come, yet the choice was reduced to a simple Yes or No.

                  Isn't that largely true of any general election as well, though? Anything other than a binary question would have led to so many options that it would have served no useful purpose in terms of making a decision.

                  You could have asked "Do you want Brexit to be hard/soft/firm with a runny yolk/etc.?" but then you'd have had to ask the same for the Remain side of the equation, how people want EU participation to be in the future. Unfortunately that ship has sailed 25 years ago, we have no control at all over what Remain would look like, so trying to nuance Exit would have been somewhat unbalanced. Personally if I'd had a choice between a return to the EEC or Brexit I'd have gone for the former, but only the EU parliament as a whole could offer that and those turkeys will never vote for that Christmas.

                  I do agree that campaigners on both sides played to stereotypes, but that's what politicians do. It's up to the people who vote to make sure they understand the issues. Few bother.

                  1. Andy A

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    The problem with these folk who demand that the result of negotiations MUST be so-and-so is that they are forgetting that the "other side" in the negotiations consists of nearly two dozen other countries.

                    If those other countries refuse point blank to play ball, the only possible position is a clean break.

                    Unless you take the position that we can pretend that the electorate never voted the way it did.

                    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      "If those other countries refuse point blank to play ball, the only possible position is a clean break."

                      And Britain will find out rather quickly that Australia, India, New Zealand, etc etc don't need trade deals with the UK, but the UK _does_ need trade deals with them.

                      Britain will also find out that memories of being shafted when the UK joined the EEC in 1972 still resonate and there will be _no_ "special deals for the homeland" despite what those harking back to an empire whose wheels fell off around 100 years ago care to believe.

                  2. DustyP

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    Only 37% of people entitled to vote voted leave.

                    ...and this was in a referendum that was supposed to be 'advisory' to the government. Not blindly follow the decision.

                    The entire referendum was badly planned and the advertising by the leave group was criminally false. - In the leaflets that were delivered to every house claiming that Turkey was about to join the EU and hence Syria.

                    Those responsible should be prosecuted.

                    1. Kiwi
                      FAIL

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      Only 37%35% of people entitled to vote voted leavestay

                      FTFY.

                      The entire referendum was badly planned and the advertising by the leave group was criminally false.

                      Then your side should've got off your arses and done more to point out the truth to those who might believe their side.

                      And yes, had the tables reversed I would've been saying the same. You can't moan that "only 37% voted leave" when even less voted stay.

                      Those responsible should be prosecuted.

                      They're politicians and civil servants. Of course they should be prosecuted!

                  3. MrBanana

                    Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                    You can't compare a referendum to a general election. In a general election people will be swayed by an "of the moment" issue, or use their vote as a protest, knowing that they can change their mind in five years (or May-be less) time. A referendum decision is much more final. Making it absolutely clear that this is a one-shot deal, and ignoring the initial advisory status of the referendum, is one of the big failings on all sides - both political and from all of the commentators.

                    1. Kiwi

                      Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                      A referendum decision is much more final.

                      Really? Here if we were to have a referendum, even a binding one, in time (whether next year or next decade) someone could bring about another one to change things. All it takes is a petition to get things started by the citizens (IIRC needs around 10% of voters), but the citizen's ones are "non-binding".

                      You can see more on our system at http://www.elections.org.nz/voting-system/referenda, and see that a couple of things have come up time and again.

                      Do your laws really say that once a referendum has been held you can't go back and change things later?

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Can't we get rid of May?

                        Getting back into the EU, let alone on the terms we (currently) have is improbable in the extreme. And should there be a way to get back at all the EU members would, quite rightly have cause to be very wary. What happens the next time people go looking for someone to blame? yet another referendum?

                        We are leaving, the die is cast and came up with "exit". And now I want us out as soon as possible. I reckon the Leave voters will be the ones hit hardest. Serves 'em right.

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019