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New Year's Day

lpetrich

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Just saw the dropping of the ball in Times Square. I didn't give a good view of it, however, in the online broadcast that I was watching.

But what's in a day? A year?

First, when to begin a day. Sunrise? Noon? Sunset? Midnight?

All four conventions have been used by some people or other, though it's mostly astronomers who have used noon. They switched to midnight in 1925, to be like everybody else.

Whatever the convention, people at different longitudes will have days starting at different times relative to each other. A way out of that conundrum is to define a "prime meridian" as a longitude reference. Nearly 2000 years ago, Claudius Ptolemy defined one of the first, using the "Fortunate Isles" (The Canary Islands? The Cape Verde Islands?). Early-modern mariners and cartographers used several prime meridians before settling on the Greenwich one in the 1884 International Meridian Conference.

As to when to begin a year, here also, there are lots of conventions, scattered over the year. The Jewish year and the French Republican year begin around the autumnal equinox, the ancient Roman year originally began around the vernal equinox, our year begins a little after the winter solstice, the traditional Chinese year begins halfway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox, etc. All northern-hemisphere seasons, I may add.

For counting the years, the first system used was the year-reign system. A modern version would go
  • Donald Trump 3
  • Queen Elizabeth II 68 -- Theresa May 4, Justin Trudeau 5, Scott Morrison 2, Jacinda Ardern 3
  • Emmanuel Macron 3
  • Frank-Walter Steinmeier 3 -- Angela Merkel 15
  • Vladimir Putin II-7
  • Emperor Akihito 30 -- Shinzo Abe 8
  • Xi Jinping 8
  • Ram Nath Kovind 3, Narendra Modi 6
  • ...
It is not surprising that the year-reign system has fallen out of style.

As with longitudes, it is convenient to define some reference year that years are to be counted relative to. Several of them have been used, with ours being a calculation of when Jesus Christ was born.

The Jewish calendar has 5779, using a calculation of when the Universe was created according to the Bible. Archbishop James Ussher's calculation would give us 6023, and other calculations give us other year numbers. For the Masoretic version of the Old Testament / Tanakh / Hebrew Bible, it's usually around 6000, and for the Septuagint version, it's usually around 7500.

The Muslim calendar has 1440, though it uses a year of exactly 12 lunar months, without adding extra months to keep in sync with the seasons, as most other lunar calendars have.

Using Marcus Terentius Varro's calculating of the founding of Rome, it is 2772, and using the original Olympics, in summer of this year, the 3rd year of the 699th Olympiad will begin, making "Olympic year" 2793.

Turning to more recent marking points, this is year 227 of the French Republican calendar, and "Unix year" 50.
 

Rhea

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Very cool. That is a fun thing to ponder.

We could do a starting year based on ice cores to the end of the last warming period.
 

lpetrich

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Do you mean the end of the last Ice Age? Or some other event?

There is a proposal for such a calendar, the  Holocene calendar, with the starting point being 10,000 years before our calendar's one. So this year becomes 12,019.

That is easy for CE/AD years, but for BCE/BC ones, that has the problem that there is no year 0. A common way around that problem is  Astronomical year numbering, which is subtracting 1 and multiplying by -1. Thus, 1 BCE becomes 0, 2 BCE -1, 3 BCE -2, etc. Once one does that, one can easily add 10,000.

Another starting-point convention is  Before Present, where "present" is year 1950. This year becomes -69 BP in it. I mention that because it's in a lot of the professional literature.


Looking at the  Holocene, it is now defined as beginning at the end of the  Younger Dryas cold period in the warming up after the  Last Glacial Maximum about 26,500 years ago. The Younger Dryas's end was at 11700 years before 2000, or -9700. IN the Holocene calendar, it would be year 300. I warn that that date could be off by a century or so. The Younger Dryas started at 12,900 years before 2000, or -900 in the Holocene calendar, so the Holocene-calendar start year is toward the end of the YD.
 

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Just saw the dropping of the ball in Times Square. I didn't give a good view of it, however, in the online broadcast that I was watching.

But what's in a day? A year?

First, when to begin a day. Sunrise? Noon? Sunset? Midnight?

All four conventions have been used by some people or other, though it's mostly astronomers who have used noon. They switched to midnight in 1925, to be like everybody else.

Whatever the convention, people at different longitudes will have days starting at different times relative to each other. A way out of that conundrum is to define a "prime meridian" as a longitude reference. Nearly 2000 years ago, Claudius Ptolemy defined one of the first, using the "Fortunate Isles" (The Canary Islands? The Cape Verde Islands?). Early-modern mariners and cartographers used several prime meridians before settling on the Greenwich one in the 1884 International Meridian Conference.

As to when to begin a year, here also, there are lots of conventions, scattered over the year. The Jewish year and the French Republican year begin around the autumnal equinox, the ancient Roman year originally began around the vernal equinox, our year begins a little after the winter solstice, the traditional Chinese year begins halfway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox, etc. All northern-hemisphere seasons, I may add.

For counting the years, the first system used was the year-reign system. A modern version would go
  • Donald Trump 3
  • Queen Elizabeth II 68 -- Theresa May 4, Justin Trudeau 5, Scott Morrison 2, Jacinda Ardern 3
  • Emmanuel Macron 3
  • Frank-Walter Steinmeier 3 -- Angela Merkel 15
  • Vladimir Putin II-7
  • Emperor Akihito 30 -- Shinzo Abe 8
  • Xi Jinping 8
  • Ram Nath Kovind 3, Narendra Modi 6
  • ...
It is not surprising that the year-reign system has fallen out of style.

As with longitudes, it is convenient to define some reference year that years are to be counted relative to. Several of them have been used, with ours being a calculation of when Jesus Christ was born.

The Jewish calendar has 5779, using a calculation of when the Universe was created according to the Bible. Archbishop James Ussher's calculation would give us 6023, and other calculations give us other year numbers. For the Masoretic version of the Old Testament / Tanakh / Hebrew Bible, it's usually around 6000, and for the Septuagint version, it's usually around 7500.

The Muslim calendar has 1440, though it uses a year of exactly 12 lunar months, without adding extra months to keep in sync with the seasons, as most other lunar calendars have.

Using Marcus Terentius Varro's calculating of the founding of Rome, it is 2772, and using the original Olympics, in summer of this year, the 3rd year of the 699th Olympiad will begin, making "Olympic year" 2793.

Turning to more recent marking points, this is year 227 of the French Republican calendar, and "Unix year" 50.

I notice that you did not use Australian PMs in your list of year-reign.
We have had 7 PMs in 12 years. I used to laugh at Italy with their revolving door of PMs. Not any more.
 

Angry Floof

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As for the beginning of the year count, the 12,000 year idea is the most useful.

Happy New Year 12,019!

[YOUTUBE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czgOWmtGVGs[/YOUTUBE]
 

lpetrich

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We as a species haven't been around for millions of years, only some 100,000 years or thereabouts.  Behavioral modernity is a good landmark, I think. Full evidence of it only appeared about 50,000 years ago, but there is partial evidence that goes back further, like 80,000 years in southern Africa. So 100,000 years may be a good approximate number.

A further problem is preservation bias.

Finding human and human-technology remains in caves has given rise to the stereotype that our Paleolithic ancestors all lived in caves. That has two problems: (1) there aren't that many caves and (2) most people with similar levels of technology were not discovered to be living in caves. Instead, they built huts for themselves with various materials, like sticks and animal skins. There is even evidence of mammoth-bone huts.

Aside from that is patchy preservation. This makes us more confident of when something was present than when it was absent. About absence, one must ask if it would have been noticed if it was present.

That aside, one might define a "human calendar" as beginning in 100,000 BCE. That makes this year 102019.


For whatever reason, humanity was stuck in Paleolithic technology for some 9/10 of that time. But over the Holocene, the last 11,700 years, humanity invented agriculture -- and did so at least 11 times independently.  Center of origin shows several spots. The oldest one was in the Levant, the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea ( History of agriculture). Around 9500 BCE, the eight "Neolithic founder crops" were domesticated there: emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, hulled barley, peas, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas, and flax ( History of agriculture). This is 500 HC (Holocene Calendar).

Of other major crops, rice was domesticated at the Pearl River in China, some 8,200 to 13,500 years ago. Maize (American (sweet)corn) was domesticated in southern Mexico some 9,000 years ago, and potatoes some 10,000 - 7,000 years ago in the Andes highlands of Peru and Bolivia.

None of the early cultivators of these crops had the faintest idea that any of the others existed. It was millennia later that their descendants learned about the others ones' crops and started using them. I checked on crops in Israel, China, Mexico, and Peru, and wheat, rice, corn, and potatoes are now grown in all four places.
 

lpetrich

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 List of domesticated animals (has dates and locations of domestication)
 List of domesticated plants
 List of domesticated fungi and microorganisms

The only pre-Holocene domestication was the dog, though goats, pigs, sheep, and bovines were domesticated around the beginning of the Holocene and not long after.

The main locations of domestication before recent centuries were the Middle East and nearby (goat, pig, sheep, bovine, cat, donkey, honeybee, dromedary camel, pigeon, goose), India (zebu bovine, chicken, water buffalo), China (pig, duck, water buffalo, silkmoth), Peru (guinea pig, llama, alpaca), Kazakhstan (horse), Tibet (yak), Central Asia (Bactrian camel), ...

Of these, nearly all of the more common ones were domesticated at or near places where agriculture was invented. The only exception is the horse.
 

lpetrich

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 Göbekli Tepe is the temple mentioned in that Kurzgesagt video that Angry Floof posted. It is a Stonehenge-like structure with carvings of animals on the stones. It dates back to about 10,000 BCE, around the beginning of agriculture in the region. It is the oldest known megalithic structure, and its purpose is mysterious. No agricultural remains have been found in it.

If its builders only had Paleolithic technology, then that raises the question of why it had no predecessors over the last 100,000 years or so. So I think that its builders were early farmers, and that they used it as some sort of social center rather than as a residence.
 

lpetrich

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I concede that I'm not into New Year's celebrations, because that is a rather arbitrary boundary.

Counting a day as a complete daytime-nighttime cycle, there are four conventions for its beginning that have been used: morning, noon, evening, and midnight.  Julian day notes users of all four of these conventions.

For  Lunar month the main conventions are new Moon and full Moon.

For the year,  New Year's Day mentions a big range of dates, often not very close to celestial landmarks: the equinoxes and the solstices.
 

lpetrich

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Also, what makes this year 2023? That is from someone's calculation of when Jesus Christ was born, though that is a somewhat miscalculated epoch (he was likely born some time in 12 - 4 BCE, if the Gospels are even halfway historical). Not surprisingly, calendars have used a variety of epochs (starting dates), and the original year-counting system was regnal years. For this present year:

Guterres 8, Biden 3, Charles III 2, Sunak 2, Trudeau 9, Albanese 2, Ardern 7, Macron 6, Scholz 2, Putin second reign 11, Zelensky 5, Akihito 5, Xi 14, Netanyahu third reign 2, Salman 9, Khamenei 35, Raisi 3, Modi 10, Widodo 10, Buhari 9, Ruto 2, Ramaphosa 6, Lopez Obrador 5, Lula da Silva 1, ...

 Template:Year in various calendars and Calendar Converter and isotropic.org > today's date have big lists of them.
  • Jewish Year - 5783 - Creation of the Universe (Masoretic version of the Bible)
  • Byzantine Year - 7531 - Creation of the Universe (Septuagint version of the Bible)
  • AUC Year - 2776 - Founding of Rome
  • Olympic Year - 2799 - the 3rd year in the 699th Olympiad - from the first ancient Olympic year
  • Chinese Year - 4734 - from the birth of the legendary Yellow Emperor
  • Holocene Year - 12,023 - add 10,000 years to our calendar
AUC is Anno Urbis Conditae "in the year of the founding of the city" or Ab Urbis Conditâ "from the founding of the city"

The Holocene Year -  Holocene calendar - is intended to have its epoch at the beginning of the  Holocene geological epoch, though that beginning is now estimated at around Holocene Year 300. Adjusting the date downward by 300 years gives an Adjusted Holocene Year of 11,723.
 
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