Wednesday, February 29, 2012

amazing facts about leap year

What is a leap year?

A leap year is a year in which one extra day has been inserted at the end of February. A leap year consists of 366 days, whereas other years, called common years, have 365 days.

The extra day, the 29 February, is the 60th day of a leap year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 306 days remaining.

Why is it called a Leap Year?

Hundreds of years ago the leap year day had no recognition in English law. The day was 'leapt over' and ignored, hence the term 'leap year'.

Why do we have a leap Day?

The 29 February is known as a leap day and it is added to the calendar during a leap year. This extra day is added every four years to bring the solar year of 365¼ days into line with the calendar year of 365 days.

A Leap Day Tradition

The one day of the year on which, traditionally, women can propose to men. It was considered that as the day also had no legal status, it was reasonable to assume that tradition had no status, so women took advantage of this and proposed to the man they wanted to marry.

A law once existed in Scotland forbidding a man to refuse a proposal made to him. Punishment for such an offence was a large fine.

 According to legend, St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick in fifth-century Ireland about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. St. Patrick's solution was to allow women one chance that only came around every four years to take the initiative. In 1288 Scotland supposedly made the tradition a law and any man who declined a proposal in a leap year had to pay a fine ranging from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves. Today North Americans call this tradition Sadie Hawkins Day, invented by Al Capp in his cartoon strip Li'l Abner, but there is debate over whether it's Feb. 29 or Nov. 15 -- the date the cartoon was first published.

Leap Day Superstition

In Scotland it is thought unlucky to be born on a Leap Year’s Day.

Greek superstition claims that bad luck will come to couples that marry during a leap year. Allegedly one in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid planning their wedding during a leap year.

Interesting Fact about Leap Years

You can work out which year will be a year year by dividing the year by 4. Years which are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004 and 2008 are leap years. However, there are some exceptions in century years.
Years that are evenly divisible by 100 are not leap years, unless they are also evenly divisible by 400, in which case they are leap years.

A century year, that is, a year which ends in two zeroes 1800, 1900, 2000, etc., is not a leap year unless it is also evenly divisible by 400. This means that the year 2000 was a leap year and 2400 will also be one, but 1800 and 1900 were not leap years. Can you work out other century years which wont be leap years either? ( 2100, 2200, and 2300).

By the Numbers

-- The chances of a leap birthday are one in 1,461 -- long odds for getting the short end of the stick. Imagine waiting four years for your real birthday and hearing endless jokes about being three when you're really 12.

-- The longest time between two leap years is eight years. The last time this happened was between 1896 and 1904 and it won't happen again until 2096 to 2104.

-- There were five Fridays in February 2008 -- the month begins and ends on a Friday. Between 1904 and 2096, leap day occurs on the same day of the week every 28 years, so the last time February had five Fridays was in 1980 and next time will be in 2036.

-- According to global statistics, there are about 4.1 million people worldwide born on Feb. 29.

-- Norway's Henriksen siblings are recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. The three siblings were born on three consecutive leap days. Heidi Henriksen, 1960; Olav Henriksen, 1964; and Leif-Martin Henriksen, 1968.

-- The Keogh family has three consecutive generations born on Feb. 29. Peter Anthony was born in Ireland in 1940; his son Peter Eric was born in the United Kingdom in 1964; and his granddaughter Bethany Wealth was born in the United Kingdom in 1996.


Someone born on leap day may be called a leapling. They usually celebrate their birthdays on Feb. 28 or March 1 in common years.


In 1988, Time magazine proclaimed Superman to be born on Feb. 29, making the superhero a leap day baby!

1980 -- Simon Gagne, Canadian hockey player and NHL All-Star.

1976 -- Ja Rule, American rapper and actor.

1972 -- Saul Williams, American rap poet and actor.

1972 -- Antonio Sabato Jr., Italian-born soap star whose credits include The Bold and the Beautiful, Melrose Place and General Hospital.

1968 -- Bryce Eric Paup, football player, named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1995 and a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

1960 -- Tony Robbins, American self-help author, infomercial fixture and motivational speaker.

1944 -- Dennis Farina, ex-Chicago police officer turned actor with memorable roles in Get Shorty and Law & Order.

1940 -- Billy Turner, a successful trainer of thoroughbreds including Seattle Slew, winner of the U.S. Triple Crown in 1977.

1940 -- Gretchen Christopher, vocalist and songwriter who founded The Fleetwoods, one of the '50s most popular doo-wop groups.

1916 -- Dinah Shore, American singer, actress and television personality.

1904 -- Mr. Wolfe Plus 585 Sr., person with the longest official name. With a name for every letter of the alphabet, his full name is Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenberdorft Sr.

1904 -- Jimmy Dorsey, prominent American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, trumpeter and big band leader.

1736 -- Ann Lee, founder of the Shaker movement, which she brought to America in 1776.

1712 -- General Louis-Joseph Montcalm, hero of the Seven Years War, died in the Battle of Quebec.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Facebook turns 8.. happy b'day fb..

Eight years ago this week, Facebook was born. Do you even remember life before it?

Once known as “TheFacebook” when it launched on Feb. 4, 2004, the site will turn eight years old on Saturday. It’s expected to celebrate its birthday week with the filing of an initial public offering, which could value the company at around $100 billion.

The move would make the social network about four times the value of Google at the time it went public in 2004 with a valuation at $23 billion the day after.

The site has come a long way since it launched in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room. First limited to just Harvard University undergrads, the site later opened up to other schools and raked in about 5 million members in just two years. Now, it boasts more than 800 million users worldwide — or 40% of all Internet users — and is on track to reach 1 billion members by August. Behind Google, it’s the number one most-visited site worldwide.

Facebook caught the attention of investors since its beginnings, but declined bids from various companies from NBC and the Washington Post Group to MySpace and Viacom. In 2008, Zuckerberg was reportedly in talks with Yahoo for a potential sale, but he turned down an offer for $1.6 billion, saying the bid was too low.

Four years later, the company could be worth nearly 100 times that number.

Where do you think Facebook will be in the next 10 years? Do you think it has more long-term staying power? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Taj Mahal could collapse within 5 years

The Taj Mahal will collapse within five years unless urgent action is taken to shore up its foundations, campaigners have warned.

The 358-year-old marble mausoleum is India’s most famous tourist attraction, bringing four million visitors a year to the northern city of Agra.

But the river crucial to its survival is being blighted by pollution, industry and deforestation.
Campaigners believe the foundations have become brittle and are disintegrating.

Cracks appeared last year in parts of the tomb, and the four minarets which surround the monument are showing signs of tilting.

The Taj Mahal was built by Mogul emperor Shah Jahan, who was grief-stricken by the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in childbirth.

Its romantic image has attracted film stars and royalty, including Princess Diana, who posed in front of the building after the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles.

A campaign group of historians, environmentalists and politicians say time is running out to prevent a 'looming crisis'.
Ramshankar Katheria, the MP for Agra who is leading the campaign, said: 'If the crisis is not tackled on a war-footing, the Taj Mahal will cave in between two and five years.

'The architectural wonder of the world is losing its shine, and if this persists the minarets may also collapse since the wooden foundation - beneath the wells - is rotting due to lack of water.

'No one has been allowed to go into the foundations for the last three decades. If everything is fine, what have they got to hide?'

Professor Ram Nath, a historian who is one of the world's leading authorities on the Taj, said: 'The Taj stands just on the edge of the river Yamuna which has now dried up.

'This was never anticipated by its builders. The river is a constituent of its architectural design and if the river dies, the Taj cannot survive.'

The Yamuna River has fallen victim to India's soaring growth.

Large numbers of businesses draw water from the Yamuna upstream of the Taj.

Pollution has increased as trees have been cut down to make way for new roads.

The trees also protected the city from the worst effects of regular dust storms which now blow over the Taj unimpeded.

Mr Katheria said: 'The Taj has been enveloped by a smokescreen of dust for the past few years.

'Every year, the water level is coming down by five feet, raising fears of turning the entire area barren.

'Besides, there is an acute shortage of drinking water in Agra. Around 70 per cent of the population is drinking impure water, and consequently suffering from several health hazards.'

The Taj is built on a raised platform on top of a hillock, which is based on wells underneath.

The four 40ft high minarets balance the platform, and are designed to tilt slightly outwards, to prevent them crashing on top of the tomb in an earthquake.

Mr Katheria said around £71million is needed to construct a barrage on the river.

Environmental campaigners also believe a tree-planting campaign and a water pipeline may improve the situation.

The sinking water level is also affecting India's capital, New Delhi, which is at risk of suffering water shortages.

The Indian government has set up body to deal with the Taj Mahal's preservation.

Officials connected with eight projects say the national and state governments are now working together to deal with the issue.

BB Awasthi, regional officer of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, said: 'These projects have been held up since 2003 for want of funds.'

He said he expected the projects 'would receive top priority treatment'.