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Could This Happen?

On what day of the month were you born? Say, for example, you were born on June 11th.

Will the day number you were born on (11th) ever change in the future? You are totally convinced that nothing can change that, right?

Suppose these following events occur at some point in your life.

On June 22, the sun is directly over the equator. An asteroid comes in from the west, exactly along the lines of the equator, breaches the stratosphere without burning up, and the point it reaches the earth's surface happens to be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. A lot of life on land was not destroyed by a huge impact, however, there are other consequences.

The crash hits with such force that the entire earth is jolted, and people worldwide felt the impact. Tidal waves are caused and some even reach shore causing much damage. In spite of not being knocked out of our regular orbit path, the impact is so strong that the speed of the earth's rotation is increased considerably. The crash also triggers seismic plates in the Pacific, and this, in turn, causes changes in the earth's mantle, such that more than 50% of the volcanos in the Pacific islands and many surrounding countries are triggered, including some volcanos thought to be dormant rumbled to life, all spewing out great plumes of smoke, which in turn fills the atmosphere of the entire earth, blocking 80% of the sunlight. This causes the earth to cool initially, however, the atmosphere that is trapped below the clouds starts to heat up, increasing the warmth of the ocean. A lot of the icebergs start to melt at the extreme north and south poles. This released water causes the earth to become thicker at the equator, which causes the earth to slow down in rotation speed (same effect as a spinning ice-skater holding their arms out).

Pretty quickly the volcanos start to subside, and previously dormant ones return to a dormant state, including some active ones. Earth starts to return to normal but it has taken 10 years. A lot of the world's food supplies that were dependent upon crops died due to lack of sunlight. Thankfully, reserves fed those that survived the blackout.

When earth returns to its formal self, the speed of the earth's rotation also returns to normal, however, effectively we are now 47 hours, 59 minutes, 53 seconds off from where we would have been normally (just 7 seconds shy of 48 hours, or two full days). Several dates do not happen as expected, such as when Easter should be. The World Time Consortium* decides that the calendar should change to compensate the nearly two days off time. Their solution is that we should drop the last two days of February, and add a leap second for 7 years, to get us back in sync.

Things work out fine, however, dates that happened before the asteroid hit, all are two days off from where they would be had the asteroid hit before those dates, therefore, it is decided that those dates would be adjusted by two days, and referred to as AT (Atomic Dates), similar to how Old Style and New Style is currently used to distinguish dates before the calendar change (O.S.) and after (N.S.).

Eventually, the world becomes accustomed to the Atomic Dates (AT), and refers to dates affected by this change (e.g., birth dates and the like) by using the new day numbers (2 days later). You may see this two-day shift as a hinderance; afterall, your birthday is now different with this new calendar change. Future generations will eventually see the change as a simple historic calendar change, no different than when the calenar changed from the Julian to the Gregorian format.

Back to your birthdate

Remember these changes all occur at some point in your life, so you are still alive. Therefore, with all this in mind, even though future historians will likely write your birthday as being on the 13th (Atomic Time), did the day number you were born on change for you? No. And wouldn't you agree that it did not change for anyone else either? If you were to count the number of days you have been alive, would you subtract two from the total starting at the 11th (or add two starting at the 13th), or would you neither add nor subtract starting with the 11th? The actual number of days lived should be based on the 11th, not the 13th.

Since the day you were actually born on was the 11th, to you it will always be the 11th. Counting the number of days you have been alive will be wrong if you use any other number other than the 11th. Tying this back in to the original George Washington number of days lived question, the number of days that George Washington lived should be based on the actual day number he was born on.

Since 11 days were dropped out of our calendar in 1752, and Washington was born before that date, his birthdate has been changed to (or referred to) what it would have been had the calendar been changed before his birthdate. Had the change of the calendar been made before Washington's birth, he would have been born on the 22nd, so now, everyone refers to his birthdate by that number (22nd). Thus, we have added 11 days, which causes everyone to think Washington was actually born on the 22nd. He wasn't; he was born on the 11th.

Was Washington born closer to the beginning of the year or closer to the end of the year of his birthyear?

George Washington was born closer to the end of the year because he was born on February 11th. "Wrong," you say, "...February itself is closer to the beginning of the year." Well, it is now, but it wasn't when Washington was born. At the time, the civil year ended with February being the last month of the year, and to make matters worse, the new year did not start on March 1st, but on March 25th, so the year actually ended on March 24th.

George Washington's birthdate is generally listed as happening in 1732, however, at the time of his birth, the year would have been 1731 until the end of March 24th. As a result, George Washington's true birthdate is February 11th, 1731.

Therefore, the 11th, makes his birthday number smaller than Abraham Lincoln's birthday number (12th). Counting the number of days he (Washington) was alive would be 11 short if you started with February 22nd, instead of February 11th, otherwise, you are subtracting the 11 days twice.