Let’s do this again next year
I didn’t know how to celebrate my one year anniversary of not drinking. It doesn’t seem like an auspicious occasion for merriment. On the contrary, spending the day in quiet reflection seemed far more appropriate. I compromised by going to school, finishing all of my math homework and then eating a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream).
I searched Google, where else would one go for an answer, and discovered that paper is the traditional gift for a one year anniversary. Under “modern gifts” the same website suggested a clock and then proceeded to offer me several rather nice ones. Since I don’t have a mantle or even my own wall I have to pass on the clock for now and will count the 18 month pocket planner that I bought for myself as my gift for myself. It’s a really nice, with a soft leather cover and pockets inside the covers and a band that wraps around to keep it neat, and I’m happy with it. I also already have a clock with mathematical expressions in place of numbers. (What else would a physicist use?)
What is a year?
Technically speaking, “A year is the length of time that it takes for a planet, satellite, or other celestial body to complete one orbit around the Sun (or in the case of extrasolar planets, around their star).” The actual measurements vary widely from 365.24219 days for tropical year to 365.25636 for the sidereal year to 365.25964 days for an anomalistic year. That leads naturally to the question of how long is a day. The same erudite source provides this definition; “A day is the length of time it takes a planet, satellite or other celestial body to complete one rotation on its axis. However, this rotation can be measured with respect to the location of the Sun (from noon to noon is a solar day), or the stars (a sidereal day).” Since the solar day is defined as 24 hours, i.e. 1 day≡24 hours, and the sidereal day, as measured by the “fixed stars” is actually 23 hours 56 minutes and 4.091 seconds, the most that these measurements actually deviate is 0.07099 days, or 6134 seconds, per year.
For more amazing facts, check out Study Astronomy Online at Swinburne University All material is © Swinburne University of Technology except where indicated.
For the Anniversary of My Death
By W. S. Merwin
Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Like the beam of a lightless star
Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what
As of writing this it has actually been 367 days, but who’s counting? Maybe next year I’ll have a parade.
Misfit College Fund 2018
“Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of silly persons!”