Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy National Surf & Turf Day (a.k.a. Leap Day)

Did you know that Julius Caesar proclaimed the first Leap Day in 46 B.C.?? I didn't!

I also didn't realize that Leap Years were so complicated! Through the magic of the internets, though, I found out that there are THREE criteria which determine which years are leap years! To wit:

1. Every year that is divisible by four is a leap year;
2. Of those years, if it can be divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless
3. The year is divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.

You may be asking yourself why we even bother with Leap Years.

Good question!

Well, the simple truth is that it takes planet Earth approximately 365.2422 days to circle the sun, so every 365-day year we observe leaves a little less than 6 hours unaccounted for. By adding the extra 24-hour day (almost) every four years, we make up for the almost quarter of a day we are off each year. So, per the math:

4 x 0.2422 = 0.9688 or very nearly 1 day

Thus, the need for a nearly-quadrennial adjustment known as a Leap Day!

Besides holding the honor of being National Surf and Turf Day, other notable Leap Day events include...

On Feb. 29, 1692, the Salem Witch Trials began when Tituba, the female slave of the Reverend Samuel Parris, Sarah Goode, and Sarah Osborne were all arrested and accused of witchcraft.

On Feb. 29, 1916, Dinah Shore, singer/ actress was born.

On Feb. 29, 1940, Gone with the Wind won 8 Oscars, one of which went to Hattie McDaniel, who was the first African American to win an Oscar. Also on this day, Mario Andretti, Italian racing driver, was born.

On Feb. 29, 1960, Anthony Robbins (who made an appearance in the movie, Shallow Hal), motivational speaker, was born.

On Feb. 29, 1972, Hank Aaron was the first Major League Baseball player to sign a contract for $200,000 a season (he was signed for 3 seasons).

On Feb. 29, 1976, Ja Rule, rapper and actor, was born.

1 comment:

skyedance said...

I found this so cool. I had no idea of all the rules.