Today is Leap Day which occurs every four years when we tack on an extra day at the end of February to calibrate our human-made calendar to the natural world.
The Earth does not orbit the sun in an even 365 days, but rather in 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds.
This extra day has given rise to several traditions and superstitions over the years, especially in the Middle Ages. In many European countries, women were allowed to propose to men on Leap Day. In Greece, it’s bad luck to marry in a Leap Year at all, let alone on Leap Day itself. In Scotland, it’s considered unlucky to be born on Leap Day, and it was once believed that Leap Day babies, or “leaplings,” as they were called, were sickly and hard to raise.
If you are born on February 29, you’re eligible to join the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies
On this date in 1927, physicist Werner Heisenberg first described his Uncertainty Principle in a letter.
In a nutshell, the Uncertainty Principle states that the more precisely we can determine a particle’s momentum, the less information we have about its position, and vice versa. The principle represents one of the most fundamental differences between quantum mechanics and classical physics.
Albert Einstein — who was a classical physicist — disagreed with quantum mechanics in general and the Uncertainty Principle in particular.
Einstein said: “I like to believe that the moon is still there even if we don’t look at it.”
“I don’t think poetry is based just on poetry; it is based on a thoroughly lived life. And so I couldn’t just decide I was going to write no matter what; I first had to find out what it means to live.”—
She went to Princeton, where she was in the first graduating class to include women in 1973.
She published her first poem not long after, then went of to northern California to study Buddhism for the next eight years, during which time she didn’t write at all. I suppose that’s part of what the quote is all about…
on this date in 1455, the first printing of the Gutenberg Bible began in Mainz, Germany. Celebrate a book today. No Kindles please.
Although books in China had been printed as early as the 9th century, every book in Europe had been produced by hand, copied painstakingly by scribes, until Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press with moveable type.
Gutenberg had been experimenting with the press for several years, printing mostly single sheets or small Latin grammar books. He created a thick, oil-based ink, because the usual water-based ink wouldn’t have stuck to the type. Then, he started producing the Gutenberg Bible. He printed about 45 copies of the near 1,300 page volume on calfskin vellum, and another 135 copies on paper made from recycled linen clothes.
The invention of the printing press is considered to be one of the most important single developments of the modern age. It made the widespread dissemination of knowledge and information possible and affordable, and it played a vital role in the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution.
Each night you come home with five continents on your hands: garlic, olive oil, saffron, anise, coriander, tea, your fingernails blackened with a marjoram and thyme. Sometimes the zucchini’s flesh seems like a fish-steak, cut into neat filets, or the salt-rubbed eggplant yields not bitter water, but dark mystery. You cut everything into bits. No core, no kernel, no seed is scared: you cut onions for hours and do not cry, cut them to thin transparencies…
The nation’s college-completion agenda may be threatening open-door admissions policies at two-year institutions, says a report released today by the American Association of Community Colleges. The organization is concerned that colleges may become more selective in admissions in an attempt to meet graduation goals, and will therefore limit college access for disadvantaged students. Community colleges are known for their open-door policies, which allow all types of students to enroll.