Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Fictional Deaths, Fallible Days

More thoughts about literature. Also a discussion on leap years.

I seem to often find myself in a position of emotional detachment from fictional characters written by other authors. I rarely cry when a fictitious character dies (with the notable exceptions of Dobby and Dumbledore). Yet I do not have the ability to kill off my own characters. I become far too attached to them. It would be paramount to murder. So I found that rather odd. I have a detatchment to chararcters of others yet an attachment to those of my own. So I admire authors for that level of bravery. Brave brave people they are indeed.

(I phrased it better in my head. It was all poetic. But then I forgot how I phrased it.)

Anyway today is the 29th of February. And since I won't have the opportunity for another four years I felt I had to post something. So having mentioned the fictional deaths let us move onto the fallible days. (Or more accurately fallible calendars). So the reason for leap days is the universe is indifferent to human attempts to measure time neatly. The orbit of the Earth around the sun and the revolution of the Earth around its axis do not match up to make nice whole numbers. Making calendars of years split up into days (i.e.  measuring the orbit of the Earth around the sun based on the number of times it spins around its axis) is the equivalent of measuring the speed of a flying chimpanzee based on the number of times my imaginary albeit adorable kitten can say the word cupcake a minute. In other words convenient but irrelevant. And in the case of my second example neither convenient or relevant. Though you may have wished for a convenient second example it just didn't work out that way. The universe is like that.
Anyway sidetracked. So to try and align the orbit of the Earth and the rotation of the Earth so they stay the same we add in a leap year. Except if the year is divisible by 100. (e.g. 1800, 1900). But if the year is divisible by 400 then it is a leap year (1600,2000 etc.). Thus by this complicated system we have ensured that the days will align with the years for the next 8000 years. But then it will be a day off again. And we shall have to invent a new calendar. Or just ignore it or something.

Also those people born on the 29th of February are known as leaplings. Does anybody know any leaplings? I know one fictional one.

2 comments:

  1. On fictional deaths:

    I seem to be the opposite of you :P I care so much about other people's characters, but with my own, while I still care, I have no problem killing them off. It's odd how our minds work, isn't it?

    On fallible days:

    I do so enjoy leap years. We get extra February, and it's a reminder of how much we can screw up with calculations sometimes. Oh humans. We are such silly creatures.

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  2. WHUT!?!?!? *looks at Thalia's statement highly offended*
    Silly creatures? I am no silly creature! I am a QUEE...
    *a sudden sparkly rainbow fart interrupts her, the force of it propels her forward and SMACK spread eagle into a brick wall*

    *gets up quickly and strikes a noble pose*


    As I was saying! I am not a silly creature! I am DIGNIFIED!

    *pants rip*



    Now Octa, darling. On to you.
    *smiles brilliantly at the one who holds her heart*
    You write such amazing things my love. I would have loved to hear the above phrased poetic. But even if it is not, your thoughts are so lovely and thank you for sharing what is on you BRILLIANT mind.
    *fan screams over Octa for a good bit before calming down enough to continue*

    I find myself sad when characters die. In addition to who you mentioned Octa, I grieved over Snape and Cedric and Fred and several others.
    There are many books in which I get attached to the characters and don't want anything to happen to them. I think for my characters, I like them well enough. But I would have no problem killing them off. (except for the ones that are based of a certain boy who I love most dearly) Oc's like that are off limits to death and despair.
    :D
    Only fiction character I can think of who was born on leap year is Fredrick from the Pirates of Penzenze!
    :D The song comes to mind too!

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