One of the nicest things a student would say to the teacher in me was, “Huh, I didn’t know that.” It’s also one of the nicest things the learner in me says to myself. I love to learn. Learning is my passion. But the “Huh” moment is more than just learning, it is correcting a misimpression or misinformation or filling in a gap.
So, I was very happy when I had a “Huh” moment last night. I was watching a recording of the CBS News program, “Sunday Morning” in a vain attempt to avoid watching the Oscars. Vain attempt because this edition of the show was all about the Oscars. “Sunday Morning” has a segment called Milepost in which they briefly review an event that happened on the day sometime in the past. Last night, Milepost was about how leap years came to be as they are now.
I thought I knew all about. Yeah, yeah, Earth orbit is 365.25 days. Leap year fixes that. That’s what the Roman’s thought too, hence the Julian calendar. Well, not exactly. I knew the church switched from the Julian calendar, but was fuzzy on why. Turns out the orbit isn’t exactly 365.25 and that the fix the Roman’s made was off just enough that over time the calendar stopped matching the seasons.
Enter Pope Gregory XIII. He wasn’t happy about the mismatch and applying more accurate orbital measurements came up with the Gregorian calendar which allowed for leap years every four years except century years not evenly divisible by 400. Very smart guy that Gregory. The fix is still working.
My only complaint about leap years is that they are also Presidential election years. This is one election campaign year I would like to be shorter, not longer. Uh huh.