5 Things You May Not Know About Leap Day – HISTORY

via 5 Things You May Not Know About Leap Day – HISTORY

Nearly every four years, we add an extra day to the calendar in the form of February 29, also known as Leap Day. Put simply, these additional 24 hours are built into the calendar to ensure that it stays in line with the Earth’s movement around the Sun. While the modern calendar contains 365 days, the actual time it takes for Earth to orbit its star is slightly longer—roughly 365.2421 days. The difference might seem negligible, but over decades and centuries that missing quarter of a day per year can add up. To ensure consistency with the true astronomical year, it is necessary to periodically add in an extra day to make up the lost time and get the calendar back in synch with the heavens.

1. Many ancient calendars had entire leap months

Many calendars, including the Hebrew, Chinese and Buddhist calendars, are lunisolar, meaning their dates indicate the position of the Moon as well as the position of Earth relative to the sun. Since there is a natural gap of roughly 11 days between a year as measured by lunar cycles and one measured by the Earth’s orbit, such calendars periodically require the addition of extra months, known as intercalary or interstitial months, to keep them on track.

Intercalary months, however, were not necessarily regular. Historians are still unclear as to how the early Romans kept track of their years, mostly because the Romans themselves may not have been entirely sure. It appears that the early Roman calendar consisted of ten months plus an ill-defined winter period, the varying length of which caused the calendar to become unpegged from the solar year. Eventually, this uncertain stretch of time was replaced by the new months of January and February, but the situation remained complicated. They employed a 23-day intercalary month known as Mercedonius to account for the difference between their year and the solar year, inserting it not between months but within the month of February for reasons that may have been related to lunar cycles.

To make matters even more confusing, the decision of when to hold Mercedonius often fell to the consuls, who used their ability to shorten or extend the year to their own political ends. As a result, by the time of Julius Caesar, the Roman year and the solar year were thoroughly out of sync.

2. Julius Caesar introduced Leap Day, with help from the Egyptians…

The Mercedonius-when-we-feel-like-it system apparently irked Caesar, the general-turned-consul-turned-dictator of Rome who drastically altered the course of European history. In addition to conquering Gaul and transforming Rome from a republic into an empire, Caesar re-ordered the Roman calendar, giving us the blueprint off of which much of the world still operates to this day.

During his time in Egypt, Caesar became convinced of the superiority of the Egyptian solar calendar, which featured 365 days and an occasional intercalary month which was inserted when astronomers observed the correct conditions in the stars. Caesar and the philosopher Sosigenes of Alexandria made one important modification: instead of relying on the stars, they would simply add a day to every fourth year. In keeping with the Roman tradition of messing with the length of February, that day would fall in the second month of the year—thus Leap Day was born. Caesar added two extra-long months to the year 46 BCE to make up for missed intercalations, and the Julian Calendar took effect on January 1st, 45 BCE.

3. …but their math was a little off

By the 16th century, scholars had noticed that time was still slipping—Caesar’s calculation that a year lasted 365.25 days was close, but still overestimated the solar year by 11 minutes. This was a problem for the Catholic Church, as the date of Easter had drifted away from its traditional place, the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, by roughly ten days. Pope Gregory XIII commissioned a modified calendar, one which kept Leap Day but accounted for the inaccuracy by eliminating it on centurial years not divisible by 400 (1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, but 2000 was). The introduction of the Gregorian Calendar marked the last change to the Western calendar as we know it today.

Experts note that the Gregorian calculation of a solar year—365.2425 days—is still not perfect, and thus another correction will be necessary. Thankfully, the Gregorian calendar is only off by about one day every 3,030 years, so mankind has some time before this becomes a problem.

READ MORE: 6 Things You May Not Know About the Gregorian Calendar

4. Leap Day is often associated with marriage, proposals and flipping gender roles

Curiously, many Leap Day customs have revolved around romance and marriage. Tradition holds that in 5th-century Ireland, St. Bridget lamented to St. Patrick that women were not allowed to propose marriage to men. So legend has it that St. Patrick designated the only day that does not occur annually, February 29, as a day on which women would be allowed to propose to men. In some places, Leap Day thus became known as Bachelor’s Day.

This tradition hopped the Irish Sea to Scotland and England, where the British added a twist—if a man rejected a woman’s proposal, he owed her a debt of several pairs of fine gloves, perhaps to hide the fact that she did not have an engagement ring. In Greek tradition, however, it is considered bad luck to marry on Leap Day, and statistics suggest that Greek couples continue to take this superstition seriously.

5. People born on Leap Day are called ‘Leaplings’

There are only about 5 million people in the whole world who were born on February 29, with the odds of being born on Leap Day standing at about 1-in-1,461. Several famous people—including actress and singer Dinah Shore (born 1916), motivational speaker Tony Robbins (born 1960) and hip-hop artist Ja Rule (born 1976)—are leaplings. Leaplings technically only get to celebrate their birthdays once every four years, but they do get to be part of an elite group.

Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution | HISTORY

via Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution | HISTORY

Many people don’t know that African Americans played an integral role in the fight for our country’s independence. Anchored by sit down interviews with NBA legend, best-selling author and esteemed activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as well as numerous esteemed historians and supported with archival material, “Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution” will cover both sides of the fight, highlighting black heroes of the American Revolution who stood up against British rule to help establish the United States of America, and, conversely, black loyalists who fought for the Crown—and the promise of freedom. The documentary will also present Abdul-Jabbar’s personal journey, revealing his own unique discovery of important historical figures like Crispus Attucks and others and how they helped change the perception of his own heritage.

Executive produced by Abdul-Jabbar and Deborah Morales.

CoronaVirus and Pnuts Newsletter

Come On, We’re All Down Cause The Sickness

The World Health Organization (WHO) has made an announcement stating that the world is not yet ready for a major outbreak of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. Despite massive efforts by China’s government to keep the epidemic contained, more and more cases seem to be erupting across the globe. So far, 77,000 people have the disease and over 2,600 people have died in China. Reports have shown that new cases in China have slowly decreased, but a rising number of cases have been reported in other parts of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and even the United States.

As of Monday, the outbreak has killed at least 12 people in Iran. In Italy, authorities have locked down at least 10 towns, closed schools in major cities and canceled sporting events following an eruption of over 150 cases. South Korea has reported over 830 cases and seven deaths. The  US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that the outbreak could cause “severe disruption” to the lives of ordinary Americans, warning families to begin preparations.

The virus has crippled China for more than a month now, and threatens to become a pandemic that could touch virtually every part of the globe. In a speech on Sunday, President Xi Jinping called the epidemic the country’s most serious public health crisis, and said it was “the most difficult to prevent and control” since the founding of the People’s Republic. China has sealed off cities, shut down business and schools, and ordered people to stay indoors in an attempt to combat the virus, with estimates that 760 million people have been put under lockdown since January.

Serious economic concerns surrounding the virus have led to stock markets across the globe tumbling – with European markets recording their worst day since 2016 and the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 900 points in the first hours of trading on Monday. China has stated interest in restarting their economic development by reopening shops, restaurants, and schools, but there are fears that this could lead to a spike in infections. (NYT, $)

Weird Word

  1. monoousian having the same substance
  2. mordacious given to biting; biting in quality
  3. mofette volcanic opening in the earth emitting carbon dioxide
  4. morbus disease
  5. miseri cordledge in church to lean against while standing; forgiveness or mercy


Writing Prompts

  • Magic JewelsWhat are they and what powers do they have?
  • Fire FliesWrite about a secluded stream with lots of wildlife.
  • Tear-JerkerSomething that makes you cry.
  • Spice RackHow does a character add spice to a situation?
  • Not NormalWhat is normal and why are you not?
  • Missing YouDescribe the emotions of missing someone.

Random phrases of the day

  1. Down For The CountMeaning: Someone or something that looks to be defeated, or nearly so.
  2. Keep Your Shirt OnMeaning: Keeping calm. Usually said by someone who is trying to avoid making others upset.
  3. Head Over HeelsMeaning: Falling deeply in love with another person.
  4. Heads UpMeaning: Used as an advanced warning. To become keenly aware.
  5. Playing PossumMeaning: Pretending to be dead, or to be deceitful about something.

Random Acts of Kindness

  1. Google ‘survey for charity’ and complete one. They receive money for every one you fill out!
  2. We all love surprises! Buy someone an unexpected gift
  3. Leave someone flowers anonymously
  4. Forgive someone
  5. Forgive someone a debt and never bring it up

Writing Prompts

  • Tear-JerkerSomething that makes you cry.
  • Purple HazeThere is something keeping you from seeing what’s going on around you.
  • Apple and OrangesWrite a story about comparisons.
  • Magic JewelsWhat are they and what powers do they have?
  • In The ShadowsWhat is lurking just out of your sight?
  • Magic PotionWho created it and what happens when it’s used?

United States: Wells Fargo Forced To Pay $3 Billion For The Bank’s Fake Account Scandal

via United States: Wells Fargo Forced To Pay $3 Billion For The Bank’s Fake Account Scandal\


Ethical Alliance Daily News 

United States: Wells Fargo Forced To Pay $3 Billion For The Bank’s Fake Account Scandal
Feb 25, 2020 08:00 pm

Wells Fargo, the fourth largest bank in the United States, agreed on Friday to pay $3 billion to settle its long-running civil and criminal probes into the heinous accusations of rampant fraudulent sales practices. The San Francisco-based bank announced that…

South Africa: SAP’s Africa head has ‘no recipe’ for handling corruption probes
Feb 25, 2020 07:30 pm

SAP’s Africa head said the German software company is battling to complete investigations following allegations its employees paid kickbacks for government business in East and southern Africa. SAP suspended executives in South Africa after reports that the Walldorf-based company had…

France: Former French PM’s corruption trial postponed over lawyer protest
Feb 25, 2020 07:00 pm

The trial of former French prime minister François Fillon and his Welsh-born wife Penelope on corruption charges was postponed on Monday “out of sympathy” with lawyers who are protesting against threats to their special pension fund. The trial will resume…

Guatemala: Ex-Guatemala prosecutor granted asylum in U.S.
Feb 25, 2020 06:30 pm

Guatemala’s former chief prosecutor said Monday she has been granted asylum in the United States, in the face of charges filed in her home country that she claims are retaliation for her anti-corruption campaign. Thelma Aldana made the announcement in…

United States: Former University of Texas tennis coach gets 6 months in prison for role in college admissions scam
Feb 25, 2020 06:00 pm

Former University of Texas men’s tennis coach Michael Center was sentenced to six months in prison Monday for accepting $100,000 in bribes to falsely tag an applicant as a recruit to get the student admitted. He’s the first college coach…

Thailand: Thailand denies PM aided Malaysia 1MDB graft scandal
Feb 25, 2020 05:30 pm

Thailand’s government threatened legal action on Monday against a banned opposition party which claimed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha aided in the cover-up of Malaysia’s 1MDB graft scandal by harbouring a fugitive financier. The stridently anti-military Future Forward Party, the third…
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wisdom Quotes

Follow the path you’re on and you’ll reach your destination. Divert and you may reach your destiny.

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. (Lao Tzu)

Let your dreams, not your nightmares, define who you are.
Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future. (Robert H. Schuller)

National Science Day – 28 February

National Science Day – 28 February

National Science Day Content Marketing Ideas

This day is celebrated to mark the discovery of the Raman effect by the renowned Indian physicist Sir CV Raman.

Content marketing ideas

Listicle idea: Indian scientists who helped shape scientific thought

Infographic idea: X Sciences you might not have been aware of

Video idea: Scientific revolutions that have shaped society across the world

Podcast idea: How did philosophy influence science?


Wisdom Quotes

All of our fears are treasure troves of self-knowledge ready to be explored if you dare to make the first step.

Fear is a question. What are you afraid of and why? Our fears are a treasure house of self-knowledge if we explore them. (Marilyn French)

It takes a fool to do the same thing again and again with the hopes for a different result.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Albert Einstein)


Part of speech: noun
Origin: English, 19th century

A trite and unoriginal idea or remark, typically intended to soothe or placate.


A compound of bromine with another element or group.

Examples of Bromide in a sentence

“She couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the expected bromide coming from her father.”

“His upcoming chemistry test was sure to cover the chapter on compounds of bromide.”

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is the birthday of the 22nd Amendment? The 22nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1951. This amendment limits U.S. presidents to two terms in office. FYI, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only President to have served more than two terms.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Confidence… thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt