Right, I'm determined to get a post in before the end of January - even if it exposes my deep lack of understanding of the Gregorian solar calendar (and indeed hints at my naked state of nescience concerning many other aspects of the basic mechanics of our world).
Here's how the problem started: 52 x 7 = 364. Ok, no, wait. A step even further back...
Really how the problem started
I recently received a letter from my real estate agent (That's always bad). It seems that the owner of the house had changed agents, and the new agents were letting me know that I wasn't paying enough rent. All of a sudden.
Their reasoning went like so... "Your last agent calculated monthly rent as: Rent Per Week x 52 weeks / 12 months. However, we calculate the rent as: Rent per week / 7 days per week * 365 days per year / 12 months. So you owe us more money."
Running the sums shows that, yes, indeed they come out as different numbers...
$300 per week (for example) x 52 week / 12 months = $1300 per month.
$300 per week / 7 days * 365 days / 12 months = $1303.57 per month.
That's a $3.57-a-month difference. Where the heck did that come from? Surely 52 weeks is the same as 365 days? But wait... no it's not - 52 weeks, times 7 days = 364 days. Not 365 days. Where did that extra day go?
Where DID that extra day go?
This seemed pretty important to me. Like, really important. I know there are 7 days in a week. I know there are 52 weeks in a year. I know Google will have the answer for me...
"Actually there is an extra day + 6 odd hours in a year. That is why we have leap year. The reason Days are based on the earth's rotation, years are based on the earth's orbit."
"a solar year is approximately 365 1/4 days long..or 52 weeks plus 1 day. the extra quarter day is made up every four years during the leap year. Dumb Ass."
"Your a genius - we have 365.25 days in a year...."
Ahhh that makes perfect sense: Firstly, I'm an idiot for asking, and secondly - adding 1 extra day every 4 years is the answer. Of course! Let's do some more maths then:
52 weeks x 7 days x 4 years = 1456 days
365 days+ 365 days + 365 days + 366 days = 1456 days. With, um, 5 days left over.
So thanks for all your condescendingness (condensation?) but IT'S NOT THE FREAKIN' LEAP YEAR OK! THAT'S BLOODY MORE DAYS - NOT LESS!
I was stuck. Not since that time when I searched on the term "maskon" had Google left me more confused than when I started. My simple question had become entwined in a sea of others' convoluted ignorance. All I learned was that people are scared to look stupid, and so will accept stupid answers to things in fear of appearing stupider. I had no such fear, so I pushed on.
Google had failed me... the internet had failed me... I was starting to think there would not be a computer-based solution to this problem. So it came as quite some surprise when the answer arrived in the form of microsoft's Outlook application. It's got a calendar in it.
Knowing this year is a leap year, I decided not to confuse myself further, and began with 2007. Now, (coincidently, it turns out), January 1st 2007 was a Monday. Which means week #1 in 2007 had 7 days in it. Of course - weeks have 7 days right? Well! Here's the odd thing - the 52nd week in 2007 began on December 24th. It went for 7 days, ending on the 30th.
December 31st, however - was STILL IN 2007! It was the 53rd week of the year! Albeit only lasting for one day. Which also means that this year began on a Tuesday - The 1st week of 2008 had only 6 days in it. Not 7. The last week of this year is the 52nd week and will be a Wednesday. A 3 day week. Not 7.
And I'm happy
Well I'll be. It turns out that "52 weeks in a year" is just an approximation. There are 50 weeks of 7 days, plus 2 (sometimes even 3!) weeks of between 1 and 7 days. Approximately.
Now, to go argue with the Real Estate agent...