Happy New Year!
I’ll wear both the pessimist and optimist hats.
Remember how we thought 2021 couldn’t get worse and got disabused of that idea in only six days?
(Yeah well we sort of stepped into that burning bag of bearded dragon poo.)
A friend of mine, who could be a bit of a wiseass at times (and pessimism was part of his schtick), would tell me something sometimes when I was a bit bummed out about something that had just happened.
And it bears remembering, especially with the usurpatious vacuum skull still in the White House:
“It’s never so bad that it can’t get worse.”
OK, on the optimist side. OK, this is cautious optimism, rather than full frontal unicorns and rainbows optimism, but here it is:
I think both the pessimist side and the optimist side can agree this will be a very eventful year. But if things actually work well in November, even a horrific year might contain the seeds of a reversal of fortune.
Let’s go back to 1979. Carter. Malaise. Soviets surging all over the world. 50 Americans held hostage by a bunch of neolithic barbarians.
The man, I think, might actually have meant well. (I was more certain of that a few years ago than I am today.) But he was not competent in that job.
But then, irony of ironies, there was this song. If you do NOT like 1970s/1980s Swedish popular music, skip the next video. Otherwise, the gratuitous fireworks display ends at 57 seconds and the music starts shortly thereafter.
Note the video is set in 1979 New Year’s eve and they actually ask what it will be like in 1989/90.
Quite a bit different, thanks to Ronaldus Magnus! We went from Jimmy Carter Malaise to seven years of economic growth and The Wall coming down! Unimaginable in 1979!
But, we did have to get through the highest misery index ever in 1980, first.
And we have to get through 2022. Which will likely make 1980 look like child’s play. Let’s just hope it doesn’t make 2021 look like child’s play, too.
The Chinese Should Think Before Wiping Us Out As Sometimes They Need Us To Solve Their Problems For Them
Okay you knuckledragging ChiComs trying to take us down…here’s a history lesson for you.
For millennia, you had to suffer from this:
Yep. Steppe Nomads. They laid waste to your country, burned, raped and pillaged (but not in that order–they’re smarter than you are) for century after century.
You know who figured out how to take them on and win? The Russians.
Not you, the Russians. And it took them less than two centuries. And Oh By The Way they were among the most backward cultures in Europe at the time.
You couldn’t invent an alphabet, you couldn’t take care of barbarians on horseback, and you think you can take this board down?
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! We’re laughing at you, you knuckledragging dehumanized communists…worshipers of a mass-murderer who killed sixty million people!
I mean, you still think Communism is a good idea even after having lived through it!
By my reckoning that makes you orders of magnitude more stupid than AOC, and that takes serious effort.
Joe Biteme, properly styled His Fraudulency, continues to infest the White House, and hopium is still being dispensed even as our military appears to have joined the political establishment in knuckling under to the fraud.
All realistic hope lies in the audits, and perhaps the Lindell lawsuit (that will depend on how honestly the system responds to the suit).
One can hope that all is not as it seems.
I’d love to feast on that crow.
A detailed analysis of the contents of His Fraudulency’s skull was performed.
Absolutely no chemicals found!
(That one’s for you, Gail!)
Justice Must Be Done.
The prior election must be acknowledged as fraudulent, and steps must be taken to prosecute the fraudsters and restore integrity to the system.
Nothing else matters at this point. Talking about trying again in 2022 or 2024 is hopeless otherwise. Which is not to say one must never talk about this, but rather that one must account for this in ones planning; if fixing the fraud is not part of the plan, you have no plan.
Political Science In Summation
It’s really just a matter of people who can’t be happy unless they control others…versus those who want to be left alone. The oldest conflict within mankind. Government is necessary, but government attracts the assholes (a highly technical term for the control freaks).
James Webb Space Telescope Update
JWST deployed both booms on the 31st. The first one took quite a long time because some of the sensors that were supposed to show the cover unfurled weren’t working right.
So here’s what it looks like now.
Over the course of the weekend the sheets will be separated and tensioned, at which point the sun shield will be fully functional and the JWST should really start to cool off (though they have been heating things up to ensure they will deploy properly). -370 F is the goal temperature though it will take weeks to get there.
Lawyer Appeasement Section
OK now for the fine print.
This is the WQTH Daily Thread. You know the drill. There’s no Poltical correctness, but civility is a requirement. There are Important Guidelines, here, with an addendum on 20191110.
We have a new board – called The U Tree – where people can take each other to the woodshed without fear of censorship or moderation.
And remember Wheatie’s Rules:
1. No food fights
2. No running with scissors.
3. If you bring snacks, bring enough for everyone.
4. Zeroth rule of gun safety: Don’t let the government get your guns.
5. Rule one of gun safety: The gun is always loaded.
5a. If you actually want the gun to be loaded, like because you’re checking out a bump in the night, then it’s empty.
6. Rule two of gun safety: Never point the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
7. Rule three: Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
8. Rule the fourth: Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
(Hmm a few extras seem to have crept in.)
(Paper) Spot Prices
This week, 3PM Mountain Time, markets have closed for the weekend.
Now THIS is a little more like it!!!
Let’s see if “they” manage to push it down again. Palladium actually went down sixty bucks Friday, it was over 2000 bucks earlier.
More On Time
(Please note, this is not titled “Moron Time.” We’ve had quite enough moron time, thankyouverymuch.)
[And speaking of morons, I somehow posted the original of this on January 1 of last year…I thought I had checked that but it did somehow goof up the time of day and I had to fix that…it probably took that opportunity to “correct” my year.]
Happy New Year!!!
It’s New Year’s Day. It’s an arbitrarily picked day, based (somewhat) on Ancient Roman (and Pre-Christian) practice. And a suitable day for more information on our calendar.
Last time I told the story of Julius Caesar’s reform of 45 BCE, and how it ended the practice of entire intercalary months–months added every now and again to keep the calendar roughly lined up with the seasons. This had had to be done because months were true to their origin back then, matching the phases of the moon. But 12 of these “moonths” didn’t make up a year, not really, and thirteen of them was too much. The Jewish calendar has the same issue; they have to add entire months fairly often.
Julius Caesar made the twelve months longer, and set things up to add a leap day every four years to account for the fractional day over 365 in the tropical year. It wasn’t quite right; I told that story last year.
But that calendar has come directly down to us with only the minor adjustment made originally in 1582 by order of Pope Gregory XIII, and eventually adopted by Protestant and Orthodox countries, and it’s pretty much either official worldwide, or well known.
The months and days of the month set by Julius Caesar seem set almost in concrete; only one lasting change has been made to them in the last two thousand years (even if that change wasn’t done at the same time everywhere).
But the numbering of the years–and even the choice of when the year should begin–has changed a lot.
When Caesar was in charge, the calendar year was generally identified by who was consul at the time, which makes modern historians’ lives a bit of a pain, but we do have a fairly detailed list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_consuls and they can generally figure things out.
That list starts in 509 BC because that is when, according to tradition, the last of the seven Roman kings was overthrown and the Roman Republic was established. And the emperors (starting with Octavian/Augustus) kept the office around but they were the real power.
The Romans, however, did sometimes think in terms of something called Ab Urbe Condita, essentially since the founding of the city of Rome, and that was in 753 BCE. Therefore AUC 753 was 1 BCE, and AUC 754 was 1 CE. Were we still using that numbering, 2022 would be AUC 2775.
[Note, by the way, there was no year Zero. 1 BCE was followed directly by 1 CE. Which makes “how many years between” arithmetic a bit hazardous when computing between dates either side of that line. Astronomers, who sometimes have to “backtrack” such things, do use a zero year, then negative numbers, so their year 0 is 1 BCE, -1 is 2 BCE, etc. Archaeologists tend to use “Before Present” but “Present” turns out to be roughly 1950–they fell prey to institutionalizing a “present” by accident (they probably didn’t expect to use “BP” forever) in exactly the same way that “modern” no longer means “modern” because people named a specific time the modern period and we have moved past it, so we sometimes find ourselves using strange terms like “post modern” that shouldn’t be meaningful without a time machine.]
Early Christians actually did not use AD dating. The AD dating schema was first put forward by Dionysius Exiguus in 525. Before that the most commonly used schema was the Diocletian Era used in an old Easter table; he (understandably) didn’t want to commemorate Diocletian, who had instituted the last and worst persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. (The Diocletian era was, in any case, mostly used in the East.)
The year that is now known as AD 1 (or 1 CE), was almost certainly not the birth year of Jesus. Matthew indicates it was in the time of King Herod (Mt 2:1), who kicked the bucket in 4 BCE. Luke indicates that the census requiring Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem occurred while Quirinius was governor of Syria (Lk 2:2) though he talks about other early events happening under Herod. Quirinius became governor in 6 CE. Absent some major historical discovery these two times don’t even overlap; neither includes 1 CE. But it’s certainly close to the right year. Whether it’s close enough for non government work is, I suppose, moot. We’re not likely to change our year numbers right now.
Which is not to say that it hasn’t happened.
The Eastern Orthodox Church and Byzantine Empire used “Anno Mundi,” year of the world. By attempting to fix Year One to be the year of creation, they sidestepped all issues with negative numbers, missing zero years, and so on. So they got hold of their Bibles, laid out a chronology, and fixed creation at 5509 years before Jesus was born. However, they did not at first agree with Exiguus’s dating of when Jesus was born. Their year 1 A.M. is September 1, 5509 BCE through August 31, 5508 BCE. Note their year began (and within the church organization still does begin) on September 1. September 1, of 2021 (i.e., last September) began the year 7530 A.M.
By the way, it’s technically not quite kosher to give a date like that, because the calendar didn’t exist yet on that date–if anything the prior mess of a Roman Republican calendar should be used–if anyone can figure out how it would have worked that year. So they’ll often qualify things by referring to the proleptic Julian calendar; i.e., they extend the Julian calendar back to that date. (In this particular case, remember that it’s not our current Gregorian calendar.)
(Russia switched from this calendar to a January 1 start of the New Year in 1700 CE; they also began to use the AD numbering at that time…but they were still on the Julian Calendar so they were off from the Gregorian calendar by 11 days, then 12 days in the 1800s, then 13 days during the 1900s before and during the ‘October’ Revolution–which happened in November by the Gregorian calendar. The commies switched in 1918, trying to shed the past–they even considered switching Russian to the Latin alphabet.)
You may think that 5509 BCE sounds wrong. It certainly does disagree with the usual Bible-based dating used by many churches here in the United States, which is based on Archbishop Ussher’s (1581-1626) chronology which fixes creation at about 6 PM, on the 22nd of October, 4004 BCE (by the proleptic Julian calendar). This is the chronology most often used by fundamentalists in the US.
That’s a difference of over 1500 years. It’s really difficult to construct an unambiguous chronology from the Old Testament.
I alluded to some disagreement over what date the year started; Russia used September 1 until 1700, one of Peter the Great’s many reforms, the Eastern Orthodox church still uses it internally, but that wasn’t the only difference between past practice and today’s practice. Up until 1752, England (and her colonies, which would include US (as in U.S.) at the time) was on the old Julian calendar; until that time, March 25 was the start of the new year. Not even the beginning of a month! March 24, 1751 was followed the next day by March 25, 1752. In September of that year, things were set to the current January 1 practice; also September 2, 1752 was followed by September 14, 1752; England dropped 11 days there to get in sync with the Gregorian calendar and would follow it from then forward.
If George Washington had had a birth certificate, it would have read 11 February, 1731 (Julian date); unlike many he changed his birthday to 22 February, in other words following the Gregorian calendar, and the year is now given as 1732 to be consistent with a January 1 start-of-year.
There was confusion as to which European gets the credit for ‘discovering’ South America for similar reasons of confusion between countries who didn’t start the year at the same time.
And nothing would astonish me more than to hear that’s a complete list.
What day to call the New Year, is fundamentally an arbitrary decision. But a date has to be chosen and abided by, and today is that date. So get used to writing and typing 2022.
“Julian Date” means two distinct things. Usually, it’s just a day number within the year. February 3rd, for instance is Julian date 34. It runs all the way up to 365 or 366.
But there’s a different Julian Date used by astronomers. A 365.25 day year is awkward to deal with sometimes, so they’ll sometimes compute the time between two events in number of days. A “day” they can get a handle on; it’s 86,400 seconds and a second is quite thoroughly defined. So they’ll (for instance) compute the period of a planet in days.
Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540-1609) proposed a scheme where days would be sequentially numbered from a start time, then continue counting upward forever. This became the Julian date, named after his father Julius Scaliger. He first suggested it in 1583.
Scaliger chose the day January 1, 4713 BCE as his start date. It was satisfactorily far back in time that negative numbers wouldn’t be referenced often. Why that particular year? It was a leap year, the first year of a solar cycle of 28 years, the first year of a lunar cycle of 19 years, and the first year of an indiction cycle of 15 years. The solar cycle is simply the repeat period of the Julian calendar, the lunar cycle was named such because the moon would undergo the same phases on the same days, every 19 years, and the indiction cycle was an ancient Roman period at the beginning of which taxes would be reassessed. These cycles could be run backward in time, and 4713 BC was the most recent year when all three cycles were in their first year. (Being a leap year was implicit in being the start year of a solar cycle.)
This is, by the way, according to the proleptic Julian calendar, not the proleptic Gregorian calendar.
Astronomers still number their days this way. Their day starts at noon (logical, because that way an overnight period, when they’d be observing, didn’t have a day break in it), so noon, January 1, 4713 BCE was the start of Julian Day 0. (In the Gregorian calendar, this would have been November 24, 4714 BCE.) Scaliger wasn’t familiar with time zones, but the modern definition of this specifies Universal Time (essentially the time at Greenwich without Daylight Saving Time; it’s seven hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time).
And if my arithmetic is right, this post will go “live” on 2459580, almost three quarters of the way into that date; so at 7 AM ET, it will be 2459581. TIme of day is handled as a decimal fraction, so midnight UTC is Julian day [whatever it is].5.
In another common usage, we use a “modified Julian date” that starts at midnight, UT (not noon) and drops the 2,400,000 in front and just goes with 59581. So the Modified Julian Date is the Julian Date minus 2,400,000.5. This will work for another century or so then we’ll have to either restart it at 0 or just start dealing with six digit numbers. It’s handy for computers that might not have the precision to show a seven digit number with multiple digits of precision after the decimal point; we save two digits that way. (This is less of an issue today, with 64 bit computers, than it was with 32 bit computers.)
The following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_day gives a lot more information including a way to compute the Julian day for any “regular” date.
As an aside, someone came up with an idea called the “Holocene Epoch.” The idea was to simply add ten thousand to all years, so that this would be 12,022. 1 CE becomes 10,001, and 1 BCE becomes 10,000. The idea is not to try to find the beginning of the world, but at least all of human history, almost back to the first buildings that survive, would at least have a positive year number attached to it. And 10,000 BCE is very nearly the start of the present geological epoch, the Holocene, roughly corresponding to the end of the last glaciation, hence the name “Holocene.” (That epoch actually began [best estimate] 11,650 years “Before Present” which makes it 11,722 years ago right now, not 12022 years ago. A three hundred year glitch.)
Yeah, that won’t ever happen.
And on a very different topic. File this one under “won’t ever freaking happen” but I include it because you might find it amusing.
Because, as I’ve pointed out, the shape of our calendar–the configuration and sizes of months–has only undergone one slight adjustment in the last 2000 years. I don’t take this seriously–but I find it amusing.
Many are unhappy with the fact that each year “looks” different. January 1 starts on a different day of the week from one year to the next, that of course throws every other date off as well as compared to the first year. Normally, it’s a one day shift, but if a leap day is in between, it’s two days. It sets up a cycle where you can safely use a calendar that’s 28 (or 56) years old, if you want…but don’t go back past 1900 with this. The real cycle is a 400 year cycle before the pattern repeats.
That’s kind of annoying, in some cases it’s really annoying, but we live with it. However some people have suggested reforming the calendar so it won’t happen. But it’s a bit of a challenge, especially now that there’s an ISO scheme that numbers the weeks within the year; this has to adapt to those weeks that straddle years.
And this is because 365 does not divide by 7, there’s a remainder of 1.
Many would-be reformers say this can be handled quite easily: simply have one day (two in a leap year) that do not have a day of the week assigned to them.
OK, I imagine many readers of this would go find the pitchforks and torches (OK, firearms) if this were adopted, because of course it’d throw your church services off; the Sabbath would either have to move around the week, or it wouldn’t be a seven day metronome any more. (It rather messes with the fourth commandment.)
And you’d have a lot of company from both Jews and Muslims.
So it’s not going to happen.
But someone did come up with an interesting alternative. Get rid of leap day. Have leap week. Start January on (say) Monday. The year ends on a Sunday, 364 (yes FOUR) days later. Very soon, though, in order to align with the seasons, you add an entire week at the end of December (371 days), so that way the next year is lined back up with the seasons, but the year still starts on a Monday. The advantage is that the calendar is the same from year to year (an extra week can go at the end of December with an asterisk next to it), and churches, synagogues and mosques would not be disrupted.
This is the Hanke/Henry calendar. It also changes the lengths of some months so that each quarter is 91 days.
OK, it’s at least somewhat clever and thinking-out-of-the-box. But these guys also advocate for everyone on earth using Universal time (i.e., Greenwich time) and that, I think, is ridiculous. It would solve nothing because it will still be midnight in some places while it’s 3PM in others. Worse, the sun would rise here in Colorado at 2PM in December. Almost everywhere on Earth, things would be about that ridiculous. And it doesn’t solve the fundamental problem of having to worry about someone else’s time zone, It just changes it to having to know how out of whack their clocks are compared to yours. You’d still have to wonder whether someone was up when making a long distance call, and you wouldn’t be able to look at the time where they were for a clue. [As far as time of day goes, our situation today is pretty optimal. For applications where time synchronization between continents is needed, we have UTC. For everything else our clocks match the time of day pretty well…or only fairly well during daylight saving time.]
The rule for computing leap years actually depends, crazily, on what day of the week the (presumably abandoned) Gregorian calendar begins.
It’s one of those “interesting idea, but no way” types of things, just like the Holocene Era is.
Enough about years, but there’s a bit more to add about days.
Last week, I posted a graph called “the equation of time.” This one:
It’s the difference between what you sundial says, and what your watch says. (And that assumes you have your watch set to mean solar time for your longitude, which since the advent of time zones, is generally not true. But let’s say you live at precisely 75, 90, 105, or 120 W longitude (or any other longitude that divides by 50). That’s nearly true for me, I live at a bit above 104 W longitude.)
Because your watch is designed to move at a constant rate–whether it actually does so is another matter, and back in the day of mechanical watches there was some correlation between the cost of the watch and how well it did so. But the sundial directly registers the sun…which doesn’t move at a constant rate. So the watch (hopefully) moves at an “average” of the sun’s rate, “mean Solar time.”
[Nowadays even a crappy watch often gets corrected by listening to the “atomic clock” but watch out when that fails…I’ve known two “this is an atomic watch” braggarts to be off the correct time by minutes; but my 1996-purchased Citizen Navihawk keeps plugging away, sometimes even after the computer in it resets.]
The differences are due to two factors: the ecliptic is inclined to the celestial equator, and Earth’s orbit about the sun is elliptical. That elliptical orbit results in the earth travelling faster closer to the sun (Kepler’s second law), which means when the earth is closer to the sun, it has to rotate further to bring the sun to the meridian, more than 24 hours since the last time the sun crossed the meridian.
If noon-to-noon is more than twenty four hours, then, if you’re using a good watch and are monitoring a sundial, you will see it. The watch will be faster (compared to the sundial) the next day as compared to today, because it will get to noon faster than the sun’s shadow will.
In other words, you’re at a time of the year when that squiggly red line is sloping upward, the watch is becoming faster and faster.
As it happens Earth is closest to the sun on about January 6, and the line is really steep there.
During the weeks before and after that time, the time of sunset is changing. You’d expect it to be earliest on December 21, because that is after all the shortest daytime of the year because its the solstice.
But it’s actually earliest a week before that. Check any “sunrise and sunset” table. It doesn’t matter for where, honestly, since you’re looking for the earliest sunset, but the effect is much easier to see the further north the table is for. (And of course this flip-flops in the Southern hemisphere).
So if you’re thinking (like Aubergine said on Sunday) that you’re already “feeling” longer days by the solstice on the 21st, you’re not quite right, but the sun is already setting later by the 21st–the random chart I grabbed showed a two minute difference. (Sunrise is also later but basically forgotten by sunset. In fact sunrise will continue to come later and later all the way through the end of the month and possibly beyond…the chart stops there.)
Another way to visualize this…as well as something else…is a figure called the analemma.
Unlike the previous figure, the horizontal axis/direction shows how far ahead or back of the sundial a watch would be. And this time the vertical axis usually shows how far the sun is north or south of the celestial equator, its declintion. (But in this case it shows how far above the southern horizon in London, though it does show the equator line, labeled φ). So an analemma gives you two pieces of information graphically, but you have to hunt for the date you want on the figure 8.
This has a real meaning. People with a lot of patience and attention to detail will sometimes photograph the sun at the same time each day (or every couple of weeks), from the same spot with the camera pointed precisely the same way each day, and you can see it forming a figure 8 in the sky.
[I had to download from Wikipoo, edit (and shrink), save as a jpg, and upload. Taking one for the team…]
It’s an almost perfect figure 8. If aphelion, the closest approach to the sun, actually fell on the winter solstice, it probably would be. This will happen sometime in the future: the equinoxes and solstices, after all, are moving along Earth’s orbit and if I understand right, we’re heading towards that situation. Give it about a thousand years.
For some reason that graph up above really exaggerated the horizontal direction. The photo, by contrast might look familiar to you as that figure eight that gets printed over the southeastern Pacific ocean on some globes. (There is almost no dry land there so it’s a safe place to print things like that.) Well, now you know what it’s for!
I decided to see what would happen with other configurations. The easiest way to do that is to look up the analemmas for other planets in our solar system, where aphelion is nowhere near a solstice or equinox.
Mars has a very similar axial tilt to that of Earth. Its orbit is more elliptical, though, and so we have:
And in fact here are analemmas and equations of time for all of the other planets, and Pluto. Figure 8s are fairly common it turns out, but just as common is some sort of lopsided quasi-egg-like shape. Saturn appears to be a figure 8 with a very small northern loop.
Well, that’s all for this week. Now I am really going to have to think hard about what to do for next week, other than, of course a JWST update.
Obligatory PSAs and Reminders
China is Lower than Whale Shit
Remember Hong Kong!!!
Zhōngguò shì gè hùndàn !!!
China is asshoe !!!
China is in the White House
Since Wednesday, January 20 at Noon EST, the bought-and-paid for His Fraudulency Joseph Biden has been in the White House. It’s as good as having China in the Oval Office.
Joe Biden is Asshoe
China is in the White House, because Joe Biden is in the White House, and Joe Biden is identically equal to China. China is Asshoe. Therefore, Joe Biden is Asshoe.
But of course the much more important thing to realize:
Joe Biden Didn’t Win
Qiáo Bài dēng méi yíng !!!
Joe Biden didn’t win !!!