Wednesday 29th February 2012

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It only happens once every four years, and it is the first time that it has happened while I have been writing this blog, so it deserves a whole write up to itself.  As you may know the leap day is an extra day added to most years (except ‘end of century‘ years that are not divisible by 400) that are divisible by 4.  This is to take into account the fact that the Earth does not take 365 days to revolve around the Sun.  In fact, the Earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 16 seconds to complete its journey around our local star hence the need for the additional day to keep our fragile grasp on notional time in sync with nature.  Therefore our calendar repeats itself every 400 years, which is exactly 20,871 weeks which includes 97 leap days.  These 97 days are divided thus: 29th February falls 13 times on a Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday, 14 times on a Friday or a Saturday and 15 times on a Monday or a Wednesday.  In 2012 we find that the leap day is on a Wednesday.

So what happened on Wednesday 29th February 2012?

From a personal point of view, Wednesday saw the family split up.  Both myself and my wife were working and our oldest child was at pre-school and the youngest at her grandparents.  An early start for my wife meant that I had to get the kids ready and drop them off in their respective locations.  The drive into work was fairly standard the overcast skies adding to the monotony of the journey, however as I joined the main artery that leads directly to work I saw a colleague’s car in front.  A quick hands-free conversation later and he realised who was tailgating him and we continued the journey in convoy.

A standard day at work followed and it was home for Salmon stir-fry and an early night to try and catch up on the sleep that our little one isn’t letting us have lately.  Not the most exciting of days but nevertheless a true reflection of a day in our household.

What happened in the World at large?

The main news of the day was that Davy Jones from the 1960’s group The Monkees died of a heart attack at his home in Florida.  The Monkees were probably the first ‘maufactured’ band and were marketed as America’s answer to the Beatles.  Davy Jones was from Manchester and appeared on the iconic Manchester soap opera Coronation street as Ena Sharples’ grandson.

The technology story of the day was the release of the Raspberry Pi a credit card sized computer designed to encourage the next generation of computer programmers.  In the world of biggest is best the £22 computer does not wow the average man in the street with its specifications (single core 700MHz ARM processor, 256 Megabytes of RAM, SD Card slot for storage but does contain 2 USB ports; an ethernet port and a HDMI port) but it has definitely captured the imagination as the two supplies RS and Premier Farnell were hit with so much internet traffic that their websites were down for most of the day.

With only a few short months before London hosts the Olympic games, Len McCluskey the leader of the UK’s biggest union, UNITE, has called for co-ordinated strike action, just what the capital needs!  It is going to be difficult enough for the infrastructure of London to cope without increasing those difficulties unnecessarily.  How will the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh manage to get there on time to open the games?

England lost 3-2 to the Netherlands in a pre-tournament friendly game at Wembley.  This was the first game for England’s  caretaker manager Stuart Peace after Fabio Capello’s departure last month.  With no goals in the first half The Netherlands looked to be easing to a comfortable win after two early goals in the second half.  But two goals in the last five minutes gave England hope that they would secure a draw until Arjen Robben scored a late goal.  After the game Stuart Pearce insisted that he would be happy to lead England to Euro 2012 but is probably not the right long-term option.  Harry Redknapp still seems favourite to take that honour.  We will see.

So that was 2012’s leap day, how was it for you?  Tune in, in four years time for the next chapter of this project!


Project Four: 29th February

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I have lived through nine 29th Februaries and have never really given them much thought.  This is my oldest child’s first 29th February (and my second child’s first 29th February), so the first leap day since I have become a father.  It was with this in mind that I decided to catalogue the general happenings on this auspicious day.

Obviously this is going to be a very slow moving project – with updates only once every 4 years – but should be fascinating if I can keep it up for the next 10 occurrences (should I live that long)!