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Re: Yes, I'm back

From:James Landau <neurotico@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 21, 2003, 6:22
In a message dated 1/19/2003 7:40:30 PM Pacific Standard Time,
peter-clark@BETHEL.EDU writes:

> On Sunday 19 January 2003 07:14 pm, James Landau wrote: > > I've usually seen it given as "4 B.C.". (If you can think of any other > way > > to express the would-be year 0 that marked the transition from B.C. to > > A.D., tell me). Of course there had to be some significance to "0" too, > or > > else why would anyone have started there if they knew he wasn't born at > > that point? Or did the extra four years just come when they switched over > > from the Julian to the Gregorian, or come about because they started the > > calendar sometime after Jesus' birth and were unable to count? > No, nothing interesting happened in the year 0 AD.
I never asked about the year 0 A.D. or the year 0 B.C., only the would-be point between 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 1 B.C. and 12:00 midnight on January 1, A.D. 1 on at which you'd logically think Jesus was traditionally believed to have been born (of course, many put it at December 25, 1 B.C., before the "4 B.C." estimate won out, but even that would still mean he was born a full six days before "the birth of Jesus").
> We have to thank a monk by the name of Dionysius Exiguus (aka Dennis > the > Little), who had the task of figuring out the Easter cycles. In 525 AD, > unhappy that the current system of numbering years counted from the reign > of > Diocletian, who had persecuted Christians during his reign, decided that > the > Church needed a new system, and so (naturally) based it on his calculation > of > Christ's birth. Unfortunately, we're a little foggy on why he chose 25 > December 753 AUC[**] (ab urbe condita, i.e. since the founding of Rome); > there are a couple of theories, but I'm not aware of any that have been > decisively proven.
What I always heard was that Christmas had actually been celebrated in March earlier and was moved to the twenty-fifth of December to coincide with the winter solstice festivals of Norse and Celtic pagan religions to try to win them over to Christianity. They could make Christmas much more fun and could convince the pagans who couldn't be convinced by mere missionary work. At least that explains why the A.D. system begins in A.D. 1 and good old Tradition says Jesus was born when we made the transition from B.C. to A.D., a birth that was only dated then in retrospect and then magically lost four years when no one was around to double-check on Dennis the Little.
> In matching up the years I > > imagined a day would last about 1.0146 Earth days or so, supposedly > trying > > to keep the years from going off. (This leads to another question: is > there > > anyone here who knows how to find out how fast a planet will rotate on > its > > axis or complete a year, given its volume, mass and distance from the > sun?) > Unfortunately, the first half of the problem is unsolvable. In > theory, almost > any period is possible for a "day." For instance, a "day" on Mercury is 176 > earth days, while a Mercurian year is only 88 earth days, or half the day > length.
I guess I'll just have to go to that site and see what it suggests to fit ~360 rotations into one full revolution around the sun while keeping a viable mass. The way this is going, I'm probably going to have to answer the question of how long a day is compared to Earth's day after all. I already mentioned on my own Kankonian site that Kankonia is closer to its respective sun than Earth is; that alone would hint at a year that will be shorter to some degree -- but the mass of the star Venska may change that -- I'll have to plug what I have in and see.
> The second is a "simple" matter of physics. If you assume that the > star has > about the same mass as the sun,
The same approximate mass for a planet inhabited by intelligent life would be a safe bet, since living planets wouldn't be completely random -- if a solar system had a sun that looked like it was approaching red giant size, the planets would be extremely hot and no good for life.
> But maybe I shouldn't try to keep it matchable year-to-year. Would the> > > naturalism of choosing a random year length that would make Kankonian > years > > completely drift off from their Gregorian equivalents after a while be > > important for convincing fiction? > Having different year and date lengths from Earth's would be almost > essential--otherwise, you'd have one astounding coincidence. The Gregorian > calendar is specifically designed around the sun. If you have an > extra-terrestrial calendar, it is better a.) to design either a calendar > based on its sun, b.) some other astronomical phenomenom that makes sense > for > the planet, or c.) a neutral dating system (e.g. Star Trek's "star date").
Well, what I've always assumed is that the year would be based on Kankonia's sun, and days would be calculated the same way they decided how long a day was on Earth. It looks like I'm going to determine exactly how the year length compares to Earth. But at least the year lengths can't be <i>too</i> far off Earth's. A planet that had a very short year or a very long year would be too close to or too far from its sun to have intelligent life in the first place. And if your year length is exactly the same length as Earth's or something extremely close to it, there's always the excuse called the Storyteller's Excuse. Although there are dozens of planets in your galaxy with intelligent life where something like this happened, you chose to tell the story about the one whose year length/calendar was the most like Earth's because that selection would make it least complicated for the storyteller's Terran audience to follow and identify with. "Oh, sure, I could have written about the planet of Xarmoso:r with its year lasting 487 Earth days, but I'm going to tell you the stories that happened on its 365-days-a-year, 1.00-AU neighbor Jakarma instead. :)" It works especially well for stories where the length of years is important for measuring something in the conculture, for example if being 16 years old on your planet is the same as being 16 on Earth.
> > The word for Christmas in the Kankonian language is . . . Navidad. Heh > heh > > heh. They obviously weren't exposed to Christianity when they started > > making the calendar, but I suppose now they'd try to celebrate it > whenever > > December 25 was occurring on Earth. > Why? No, really, why? I'm assuming, based off of your above > comments, that > the Kankonians are not human.
As to whether the Kankonians are human, see below. So why would they be all that keen to celebrate>
> Christmas? Unless they converted to Christianity (Missionaries in Outer > Space), at which point, it would be better for the budding Christian > Kankonians to pick a significant date on their calendar for Christmas. > Terran > religious holidays would probably be a rather moot point.
Ah, I said I suppose they'D try to celebrate it whenever December 25 occurred. Contraction for "they <i>would</i>". In answering your question as to when the Kankonians would celebrate Christmas, for which they had to borrow a Terran name, I had to consider when anyone who would actually want to celebrate another planet's holiday would do it. No, there are no Christian Kankonians. (There may be in the future however, if more immigrants from Earth want to do business on Kankonia and people know about the planet by then.) Most Kankonians do not celebrate Christmas. I imagine it would be about as popular as Samhain is in the United States. You mention to some people about Samhain an you get the response that they don't know what you're talking about, and for most other people, they've heard of it but they don't celebrate the holiday (at least under its original form and name) themselves. But just as you have a few Americans in a fringe segment who celebrate holidays like the Feast of Ptah and are interested in that stuff, even though they don't have a trace of Egyptian blood in them . . . then if the people of Kankonia have any knowledge of the existence of Christmas in other cultures, there are probably going to be a few people somewhere on the planet who want to try it out too. I was thinking of what they'd do. Since Christmas is a Terran holiday, they'd want to celebrate it at a time chronologically aligned with when people on Earth were celebrating it, not shortly after the beginning of winter or on the twenty-fifth day of their twelfth month. A planet with a year longer than Earth's could end up celebrating Christmas twice a year. In short, Christmas is a Terran holiday, rooted in a religion that Kankonians don't practice, so any observation they would practice would be very keenly concerned with celebrating it at the time of the date on its home planet.
> > The Kankonians are human, so I guess that means they'd be drawn to dates > > from the sun, moons and orbit. > Wait, now I'm confused. Are they, or are they not, on Earth? If > they are, > then you need to be worried about year length (365.2422 etc.) and what not > for your calendar. If not, pick a random number for the year length (to > keep > yourself honest, hardworking, and pure, make sure that the year and date > lengths do not evenly match up :) and go from there. Although then the next > question would be how did they get on this other planet?
No, the Kankonians are not on Earth. When I say human, I mean that they have the DNA of <i>Homo sapiens</i>. A Kankonian could possibly have a child with a Terran and the offspring would still be fertile. Human =/ Terran . . . the terms simply refer to a species . . . just like Grey, which refers to the species of alien with a Grey's DNA, whether the Grey population in question originated on a planet around Zeta Reticuli, Lyra, Epsilon Eridani or Draco. A sapient being genetically compatible with a Terran human is called a human, even if he lives in Sirius.