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Leap Day, to me, means ...

Displaying poll results.
Nothing at all
  16505 votes / 55%
A time-keeping annoyance
  4921 votes / 16%
A good excuse for a party
  2406 votes / 8%
Finally, another birthday!
  1524 votes / 5%
A chance to bring up alternative calendar ideas
  4167 votes / 14%
29523 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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Leap Day, to me, means ...

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  • by Nemyst (1383049) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @11:56PM (#39193535) Homepage

    A chance to read up on all the superb calendar implementations that make their way into common consumer (and not so consumer) products.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by robbak (775424)

      It's amazing how much software ends up released with no, or wrong, leap year calculations. You'd think that they could get ordinary (YYYY % 4) right, but Nooooo.

      • Re:Missing Option (Score:5, Informative)

        by Joe U (443617) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:59AM (#39193975) Homepage Journal

        Except (YYYY % 4) is not how you calculate leap years.

        End-of-century years that are exactly divisible by 4 but not by 400 are common years. 1800, 1900 or 2100 are not leap years, while 2000 was a leap year.

        • by toutankh (1544253)

          It becomes even more complicated when you take into account that this rule only applies to the Gregorian calendar. Other calendars have different rules and the Gregorian calendar wasn't always the standard, so for instance it would make little sense to calculate whether year 1000 was a leap year or not using the Gregorian calendar. I doubt historical dates have all been converted to Gregorian in history books, although if I'm wrong I'll welcome any informed input on this. Any historian here?

          • Re:Missing Option (Score:5, Interesting)

            by srjh (1316705) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @02:44AM (#39194519)

            Not a historian, but old faithful Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] has some interesting info on that.

            As I understand it, dates are not converted and are left in the Julian calendar if that was in place at the time. But for countries who didn't immediately switch over, there's some confusion and they sometimes specify "old style" or "new style". Actually, there's a fair bit of confusion:

            It is sometimes remarked that William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died on the same date, 23 April 1616, but not on the same day. England was still using the Julian calendar in 1616, while Spain was using the Gregorian calendar. Cervantes actually died ten days before Shakespeare.

            Hence the October Revolution of 1917 is so called, despite having started on 7 November under the Gregorian calendar...

            For example William III of England arrived at Brixham in England on 5 November (Julian calendar), after setting sail from the Netherlands on 11 November (Gregorian calendar).

            Luckily modern computers don't have to handle these dates retrospectively, if some can't even figure out this year is a leap year.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by multatuli (740516)

              "For example William III of England arrived at Brixham in England on 5 November (Julian calendar), after setting sail from the Netherlands on 11 November (Gregorian calendar)."

              Don't underestimate the North Sea! It rivals the Bermuda Triangle when it comes to time travel.

          • Re:Missing Option (Score:5, Interesting)

            by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:01AM (#39195747)

            It becomes even more complicated when you take into account that this rule only applies to the Gregorian calendar. Other calendars have different rules and the Gregorian calendar wasn't always the standard, so for instance it would make little sense to calculate whether year 1000 was a leap year or not using the Gregorian calendar. I doubt historical dates have all been converted to Gregorian in history books, although if I'm wrong I'll welcome any informed input on this. Any historian here?

            Don't forget the sweet period the Swiss must have had between 1584, when the first administrative districts of the country adopted the new calendar, and 1812 (!), when the last ones did and the adoption was complete. :)

        • by h2oliu (38090)

          True, but % 4 would be an adequate approximation given the expected lifetime of most consumer products.

        • Re:Missing Option (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mooingyak (720677) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:52AM (#39196525)

          Yes, but we're in the middle of a nearly 200 year span where YYYY % 4 will work just fine for the current year. The likelihood of any of my consumer electronics of today (or just plain me for that matter) still function in 2100 are pretty slim. Which is a shame. I think I'd find the chaos from goofed leap year calcs in 2100 would entertain me.

        • Re:Missing Option (Score:4, Informative)

          by almitydave (2452422) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @05:06PM (#39202187)

          The code I've used (C++) is:
          bool isleap = year % 4 ? false : year % 100 ? true : year % 400 ? false : true;

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Knx (743893)
            Or from linux/kernel/time/timeconv.c :
            static int __isleap(long year)
            {
            return (year) % 4 == 0 && ((year) % 100 != 0 || (year) % 400 == 0);
            }
            I think it was originally implemented as a #define. Hence the remaining parenthesis around 'year'?
        • Except (YYYY % 4) is not how you calculate leap years.

          I agree, it's better to do (YYYY & 3).

      • Re:Missing Option (Score:5, Informative)

        by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:54AM (#39195715)

        It's amazing how much software ends up released with no, or wrong, leap year calculations. You'd think that they could get ordinary (YYYY % 4) right, but Nooooo.

        Hah, today it turned out that the programmers of the new information system for my country's public service were incapable after this fashion as well. No one can get a new ID card or a passport, since the identity card component of the IS went down, nation-wide.

        Since this is not the first issue with the new software, the programmers of the old contractor must be rolling on the floor laughing. The new contractor clearly managed outbribe them, but the money should have been better spent on more capable programmers. The public is already in steaming rage; many of them have already happened to be greatly inconvenienced at their last visit to this or that government office, since a large part of the information system has been at a rather low level of nation-wide operational availability since its introduction in the beginning of the year. But, boy, this leap day blunder could really be the last drop of patience for the common citizen.

    • The first one I ran into was the QX-PC card for my Epson QX-10.

  • I voted the birthday option, but it's actually my Dad's birthday. He turns 16 tomorrow!
    • I voted the birthday option, but it's actually my Dad's birthday. He turns 16 tomorrow!

      Did you remember to accommodate the 400-year rule when counting?

    • by leonem (700464)
      Huzzah! My grandfather turns 21, so it's party time.
  • anniversary (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:12AM (#39193661)

    Its the perfect day to get married. only have to remember it once every four years and you save loads on gifts..

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:21AM (#39193737) Homepage

    This year is a special Leap Day, because it creates a very rare instance of a February with 5 New Comic Book Days in it! Every month periodically has 5 Wednesdays in it, which (as every comics geek knows) means 5 days upon which new comics are delivered to shops throughout North America. It normally happens during four months each year; this year it will happen five times. For it to happen in February can only happen during a Leap Year, and only when February starts on a Wednesday, a period of 4*7=28 years. It last was in 1984 (pre-Crisis!), and the next instance will be in 2040. With distribution moving toward digital, there probably won't be comic book shops (as we know them) by then, so enjoy this 5th-visit-in-February, comics geeks... it'll be your last.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:44AM (#39193891)

      I wish I had mod points, and I wish there was a "+1 Totally useless, but strangely fascinating" option.

    • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:16AM (#39194081)

      There will always be comic book shops in major markets, even if there are no new comics. There will be stacks of old comics in droves that people can purchase or collect. And there will be stacks of bound collections, books, where companies take a handful of issues and press them into a hardcover book. Not to mention digital collections available on CD/USB and whatnot.

      Not to mention the plethora of comic book themed stuff since Marvel and DC started going wild with big budget movies. Shirts, toys, video games, mechanical pinball machines, board games, and so on. That's how most comic shops are now anyways. You have sections of toys, board games, video games, and then a comic book section.

      If Marvel and DC keep racking up interest in their characters and franchises with movies then they'll always be creating new fans for their comics and other merchandise.

      • by tverbeek (457094)

        If there are no new comics, there will be no New Comics Wednesdays, will there? Way to completely miss the point, but some of your other comments also bear rebuttal:

        If by "major markets" you mean in the two dozen largest cities in North America, you're probably right: there will always be antique shops that specialize in printed comics. But the market for back issues (that aren't Action #1, Amazing Fantasy #15, etc) has already collapsed, with the only thing sustaining most comics shops today being the we

    • by srjh (1316705) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @02:58AM (#39194581)

      It gets even more interesting.

      Leap years aren't quite periodic under the Gregorian calendar, since every hundredth year isn't a leap year, but every four-hundredth is. This also makes the distribution of days uneven. There are actually more Sunday February 29s than Thursday February 29s. There are 14 Wednesdays in the 400-year cycle, so it happens on average once every 28.57 years.

      Utterly meaningless, but interesting nonetheless.

  • Is less friendly this year
  • There's no way (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dr. Hellno (1159307)
    There's no goddamn way 6% of Slashdot users were born on february 29th. Assuming all times of year are equal, by my math 0.068% ought to be closer to the truth.

    If it's really true, Slashdot is a hell of a statistical anomaly
    • Re:There's no way (Score:4, Interesting)

      by droopus (33472) * on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:55AM (#39194291)

      Well, are you accounting for the yearly Slashdot 5DigitUID Impregnation Day every June 1?

      Might be a correlation....and the reason they all look like Taco. B)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, it doesn't neccesarily have to be your own birthday.

      I chose that option because my son turns four today on his first birthday.

    • by RR (64484)

      There's no goddamn way 6% of Slashdot users were born on february 29th. Assuming all times of year are equal, by my math 0.068% ought to be closer to the truth.

      Not necessarily your own birthday. Could be your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, or any other loved ones.

      The social scientists claim that an average person can make stable relationships with somewhere between 100 and 250 [wikipedia.org] people. So, it makes sense that it's 0.068 times about 100.

    • It's a self-selecting sample though - many people probably can't be bothered to vote (I haven't). Whereas on the 29th of February, people who were born on a leapday are likely to be far more sensitive to the word "birthday" than usual, and thus may be far more likely to vote for something which acknowledges that.

      There's also the possibility that people are just picking it for teh lolz. But I would guess that some significant fraction of the people picking that option are actually leapers.

      • by repetty (260322)

        It's a self-selecting sample though - many people probably can't be bothered to vote (I haven't).

        I agree... it's such a burden!

  • by milbournosphere (1273186) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @02:48AM (#39194537)
    This year I turn 6.
  • by kallenberg (1949762) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @03:56AM (#39194807)
    Check your calendars, leap day is always on the 24th of February. Why? Because on this day we are missing a complete day in the calendar. On the 29th we are missing more than a day. So the days are pushed. 24th->25th, 25th->26th, 26th->27th, 27th->28th, 28th->29th and finally the 24th is inserted. Being born on the 28th, I celebrate my birthday on the 29th if it is a leap year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar [wikipedia.org]
    • by mooingyak (720677)

      Do you note your time of birth and adjust 6 hours every year?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @03:52PM (#39201231)

      Despite being technically true this is easily the most moronic thing I've read this week.

    • by geekgirlandrea (1148779) <andrea+slashdot@persephoneslair.org> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:14PM (#39204645) Homepage

      While it's true that the 24th was the traditional leap day, this explanation of why is, shall we say, orthogonal to reality. If a full day of error accumulated so early in the year, the one day every four years intercalation would be much more wrong than it actually is; if there were no leap years, a full day of error would accumulate a few minutes before midnight on Dec. 31 of the fourth year.

      In fact, the reason is that in the ancient Roman calendar the days of each month were counted relative to the kalends (first day of the month), ides (fixed day about mid-month, the 15th in March, May, July and October, and the 13th in other months) and nones (two each month mid-way between ides and kalends). Thus, the Romans would have called Feb. 24 in a common year ante diem sextum Kalendas Martias (the sixth day before the Kalends of March; in Latin one counts from one in such contexts, so Feb. 28 would have been ante diem secundum Kalendas Martias in a common year). See Wikipedia on months of the Roman calendar [wikipedia.org].

      After Julius Caesar's calendar reform in 46 B.C., the leap day was inserted after the 24th, and called ante diem bis sextum Kalendas Martias ("second sixth day before the Kalends of March"); thus, the purpose of designating a particular day as the leap day at all becomes apparent in regards to the Roman calendar. At some point later on [wikipedia.org], the bis was attached to the first day of the two sixths (the 24th), leading to the custom of regarding the 24th as the leap day and the alternate terms 'bissextile day' and 'bissextile year' [wikipedia.org].

  • 13 moons + one green day.

    Too bad 13 isn't as neatly divisible as 12 ...

  • It's amazing how many people mess up the date calculations in their unit tests and forget about leap years and daylight saving time.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:53AM (#39195455)

    Salaried staff get paid by the month - so they effectively work on Feb 29 for free. Contractors get paid by the day or by the week, and therefore get an extra days pay for their extra days work.

    Maybe, in order to celebrate, IT staff everywhere should get their nearest "consultant" to pay for lunch today - so long as they have a cost code to bill the time to.

    • by mooingyak (720677)

      I'm salaried. I get paid every two weeks.

      • by gnapster (1401889)

        I am salaried and get paid semimonthly.

        This is the second subthread where salary frequency has come up. I think that would make for a much more interesting poll.

    • by Xtifr (1323)

      No, the salaried folks get overpaid less for February on a leap year. Most months have 31 days, and most of those that don't still have 30. So February is when these folks get paid more for doing less. The company is paying you as if you had worked the normal 30.6 days that an average month has, but you're only working 28, so that's 2.6 days you're not working, but still getting paid for. On leap year, that goes down to only 1.6 days you're unjustifiably paid for.

      Actually, it's the contractors who are s

  • Missing option (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:27AM (#39195577)

    The opportunity to ask my boyfriend to marry me?

  • Rather than messing with the calendar itself, has aonyone ever thought of redefining the length of a second so that leap days become superfluous? What would be the catch compared to alternate calendar ideas (apart from having to modify every clock in existence of course)?

    Captcha: redesign - seems to fit :)

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      Well we'd eventually end up with it being the middle of the night at noon - that might cause some issues for a lot of people.
      • by Thud457 (234763) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:12PM (#39198979) Homepage Journal

        Rather than messing with the calendar itself, has aonyone ever thought of redefining the length of a second so that leap days become superfluous? What would be the catch compared to alternate calendar ideas (apart from having to modify every clock in existence of course)?

        Well we'd eventually end up with it being the middle of the night at noon - that might cause some issues for a lot of people.

        That's only a problem for those that go out into the big blue room. Sometimes they'll end up in the big black room instead. Real people that stay in the basement don't have those kind of problems.

    • by glwtta (532858)
      Leap days exist because a year isn't an exact number of days, not really sure how redefining the second would fix that.
  • Girls proposing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Carewolf (581105) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:21AM (#39195863) Homepage

    By old Nordic tradition, on leap day girls can propose to men (and still follow tradition!). Also men are not allowed to say no, and have to pay damages if they do. 12 pair of gloves in Denmark, or a new dress in Finland, etc.

    • by Sique (173459)

      I never understood the whole proposing business anyway (and yes, I am married).
      What's the point in having one side being required to propose to the other one? The result, a mutual agreement to marry, is the same, whoever starts the process.

      • If we accept the stereotype that men are less eager to commit than women, then it makes sense that it's up to men to propose. It's effectively saying "I'm the one who is more likely to cheat/freak out/etc. and yet I want to spend the rest of my life with you... so it'll probably work out". Of course, it's very arguable whether or not that's true (from evolutionary biology POV, males have less interest to commit but if we look at modern society, I'm not certain that it's men who end most relationships) and

  • by realsilly (186931) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:34AM (#39195953)

    .... this certainly should have been an option.
    or

    The Summer Olympics year.

  • In my previous job, they outsourced certain Java programming and database modeling and building jobs to an IT company (that shall remain nameles... let's just say it also produces cheap cars).

    The quality of their software was hideous. Among many, many other issues, their handling of dates and leap years was outright ridiculous. Before I was let go, I fixed some of those problems in the Java software they delivered, but many others remained. I'm willing to bet money that some of the SQL queries they wrote are still unpatched and must be blowing up in the company's face right now.

    • by anyGould (1295481)

      In your position, I would be sorely tempted to send a note today saying "hey, haven't talked to you guys in a while - how's your day going?"

      (Sarcasm would vary depending on what terms you left the company.)

      • by mfarah (231411)

        Great idea! :-D

        That said, I'm sure that most of the big problems will manifest themselves tonight, when the batch processes run (with today's date). I'll send them that note tomorrow...

  • While a day is 24 hours long, a year is 365 days AND a few hours.
    Any alternative calendar will have to reckon with this fact AND compensate with a leap day.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:17AM (#39196773) Homepage

      I think most of the efforts at reforming timekeeping systems revolve around the fact that you're counting by 12, then kinda-30, then 24, then 60, then 60, and also by 7. The real kicker is that a lot of that stuff dates back to the Sumerians, and some of the other peculiarities of the calendar (including when Leap Day is) had to do with decisions made by Caeser Augustus.

      But hey, base 12 is just like base 10, if you happen to have 2 extra fingers.

      • 13 lunar (28-day) months + 1 extra to celebrate the Solstice. Can't get much simpler than that.
        And we can finally openly acknowledge Ophiuchus as a zodiac sign while we're at it. That way, horoscopes would actually work correctly for prognostication.
        We can sweep out all the ills of the modern world with one simplifying reformation.
  • It just means one more working day. A day for which you won't even get paid for.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:11AM (#39196713) Homepage

    That's what this day means to me - a major plot point is that the main character was born on Feb 29.

    • by Kittenman (971447)

      That's what this day means to me - a major plot point is that the main character was born on Feb 29.

      I'm here for you ... "Yet ...reckoning by my natal day ... I am a little boy of five?" (now that tune will be stuck in my head all day...)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:13AM (#39196731)

    I swear this poll was posted like 4 years ago.

  • He was only 25. Why was he cut down in the prime of his life!?

  • Frederic has his 39th birthday today.
  • It's a timekeeping annoyance. My 25-year-old Casio watch told me it was March 1st this morning, and I spent the first couple hours believing it - until I glanced at my wall calendar. (First thought? "Hey, this wall calendar is off by a day..." Obviously, this was all pre-coffee.)
  • A New Calendar
    30 days hath January, February, March, April, May, June...
    http://world.std.com/~swmcd/steven/rants/calendar.html [std.com]

  • A chance to snipe at Microsoft for getting the leapyear algorithm wrong in Excel.

  • Aren't those of us on salary working today for free?
  • ... to miss every scheduled meeting for the rest of the year because my calendar's leap year algorithm is screwed up.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @05:39AM (#39206479)
    The extra day means that at the end of the year there is a day when Zune users won't be able to turn their device on.
    Forget Y2K, stuffing up a calendar application so badly that the device will not work on a day at the end of a leap year is such an amusing level of programming stupidity that I'm not likely to forget it. It's almost as insane as allowing arbitrary code hidden within images to run. Some things are done so badly that they just look like they are designed deliberately to fail, so let's call Dec31 on a leap year "Zune Day" to remember why marketing should never dominate function to that level.
  • by stox (131684) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @10:16PM (#39243703) Homepage

    for the leap second at the end of June.

Real Users never know what they want, but they always know when your program doesn't deliver it.

 



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