Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   Great Debates (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=7)
-   -   What is legally 21? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=695760)

MichaelXD 07-06-2013 12:44 PM

What is legally 21?
 
I got a question. 21 years is 7,670 days so if the dates were 7,670 days apart, example March 1, 1991 and February 29, 2012 or February 28, 1991 and February 28, 2012 and the person was allowed to walk into a bar born on February 28 and February 29 wasn't there in 1991, shouldn't you be allowed as well? The only reason why you would've been born on March 1 was because February 29 was skipped.

BTW, I was born on July 7, 1991 and I'm 22 years old today.

DCnDC 07-06-2013 12:49 PM

WAG but I'm pretty certain that you are not 21 years old until you have lived past 21 birthdays. The actual number of days has nothing to do with it.

lawbuff 07-06-2013 12:49 PM

The day you were born on and 21 years later, you are 21 for legal purposes, there is NO allowance for leap year in any state's "computation of time" for alchoholic purchases.

DCnDC 07-06-2013 12:50 PM

And happy birthday. Tomorrow.

MichaelXD 07-06-2013 01:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawbuff (Post 16447050)
The day you were born on and 21 years later, you are 21 for legal purposes, there is NO allowance for leap year in any state's "computation of time" for alchoholic purchases.

What if you were born on February 29? If February 29 came this year, it wouldn't be coming in 21 years. Also why does it seem that if you're born in certain years before the end of the century before a leap year and then a leap year is skipped and the same date is 7,669 days apart, you can purchase alcohol the day before your 21st birthday if the two dates aren't even 21 years apart, because I know what this is? A leap year has to be skipped in order to make a correction to the calendar.

Or how about this? In future years, I change the leap years from every 4 years to every 5 years and insert the double leap year every 30 years. Now I'm no longer talking about legally 21 but about being able to obtain a driver's license. In the 15 year period, there are 5,478 days and the 16th year because it's the 30th year has 367 days. 5,478 days + 367 days = 5,845 days and 16 years is fewer than 5,844 days. Assuming my calendar may be accurate that if you're born on March 1, 99929 and 16 years later, it's February 29, 99945, 5844 days later, could you get a driver's license that day? Remember what I said about the skipping of a leap year.

And it's my birthday today in the US. The sunrise was the exact same as my commerative sunrise for that day in that year. And today is an exact match of July 7, 1859, precisely 154 years ago and that day was on Thursday.

Great Antibob 07-06-2013 03:10 PM

The Master Speaks.

MichaelXD 07-06-2013 03:47 PM

Yeah, I think it's time someone actually takes a look at the birth hours and counts 5 hours and 48 minutes from that each time. That'll determine the day for a birthday if at that! :)

TriPolar 07-06-2013 03:53 PM

Some localities have instituted (or proposed) a day after system to prevent people from getting blitzed after midnight passes on the day before their birthday. It's pointless as far as I can tell, they'll just be back the next night and drink even more.

MichaelXD 07-06-2013 04:15 PM

And what's the point of counting another year at the same date and time you were born? The year or years (plural) isn't a full number of days. Just take a look at 4 years. It's about 1,460.96 days. If the year wasn't NOT a full number of days, we wouldn't need leap years and then we wouldn't have this problem. If the days were about a minute longer so that we'd only have 365 days in a year and not 365.24 or 365.25 days, we wouldn't have this problem either.

Also it leads me to believe that in the far future that because the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 and that was before the calendar had a correction into July 5 in the year 1800 and then beyond that up until 1803 before the first leap year again, when we stop having the needs for leap years, Independence Day should be moved permanently to July 5. It was on the same day of the year this year because the date of the Summer Solstice was the same as 237 years ago, but not the same as 87 years ago. My grandma was born on the 5th and I believe she turned 87 on the 4th. 87 years was more than 31,776 days at the Summer Solstice, but I believe it was fewer than 31,776 days just a few days ago, checking at sunrise times and the length of days.

Czarcasm 07-06-2013 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelXD (Post 16447511)
Also it leads me to believe that in the far future that because the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 and that was before the calendar had a correction into July 5 in the year 1800 and then beyond that up until 1803 before the first leap year again, when we stop having the needs for leap years, Independence Day should be moved permanently to July 5.

Um...not so fast.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wiki
According to the 1911 record of events by the U.S. State Department, under Sec. Philander C. Knox, the Declaration was transposed on paper, adopted by the Continental Congress, and signed by John Hancock, President of the Congress, on July 4, 1776. On August 2, 1776, a parchment paper copy of the Declaration was signed by 56 persons. Many of these signers were not present when the original Declaration was adopted on July 4. One signer, Matthew Thornton, from New Hampshire, who agreed to the Declaration and having joined the Continental Congress, signed on November 4, 1776.


Musicat 07-06-2013 04:34 PM

MichaelXD, are you aware that the solar system doesn't operate in a fashion that allows easy mathematical calculations of "days," "hours," and "years"? We humans are trying to impose those measurements upon a system that is not organized that way. Something has to give. Leap years are one of those factors that allow the give.

You might enjoy reading Questioning the Millennium, by Stephen Jay Gould. Although 2000 has come and gone (those were the days!), this book is still useful and will go far to answer your questions.

turtlescanfly 07-06-2013 04:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelXD (Post 16447100)
And it's my birthday today in the US. The sunrise was the exact same as my commerative sunrise for that day in that year. And today is an exact match of July 7, 1859, precisely 154 years ago and that day was on Thursday.

Could you explain this, please? I also was born July 7th as it happens. According to your OP, you posted at 12:44pm, today, July 6th in the Eastern Time Zone of the U.S. (I believe the settings I have for the Dope automatically translate each post to my local time). I guess somewhere to the east of me (Europe? Asia?) it is July 7th, but not in the U.S.

What do you mean by "commerative" sunrise?(I assume you mean commemorative, but you may just be using a different term I am not familiar with)

And on what basis is today an "exact match" of any other day in history (particularly confusing since today is a Saturday and you state that exact match day was a Thursday). What matches?

Please note, I am not trying to be argumentative or snarky, I am genuinely curious as to the basis of your statements.

MichaelXD 07-06-2013 05:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by turtlescanfly (Post 16447560)
Could you explain this, please? I also was born July 7th as it happens. According to your OP, you posted at 12:44pm, today, July 6th in the Eastern Time Zone of the U.S. (I believe the settings I have for the Dope automatically translate each post to my local time). I guess somewhere to the east of me (Europe? Asia?) it is July 7th, but not in the U.S.

What do you mean by "commerative" sunrise?(I assume you mean commemorative, but you may just be using a different term I am not familiar with)

And on what basis is today an "exact match" of any other day in history (particularly confusing since today is a Saturday and you state that exact match day was a Thursday). What matches?

Please note, I am not trying to be argumentative or snarky, I am genuinely curious as to the basis of your statements.

The length of day. The weekday is irrelevant. There is no right or wrong weekday. It's the weekdays that elapsed which causes it to be Saturday. July 7, 1859 was 14 hours 44 minutes and 59 seconds and today is 14 hours 44 minutes and 59 seconds. The length of day from sunrise to sunset is precisely the same. The length of day and year fluctuate so it won't be the exact same length as July 8, 1859 tomorrow nor was it the same exact length as July 6, 1859 yesterday. I found this on timeanddate.com. You should use it.

Commerative means first. When I saw my first sunrise, it was July 7, 1991.

Duckster 07-06-2013 08:52 PM

If one desires this level of precision to determine when they are 21 just so they can legally drink, said precision is the least of their worries. One should expand the level of precision to where you never become a Darwin Award nominee. :)

Hershele Ostropoler 07-06-2013 09:05 PM

I've had a similar (academic, don't need answer fast) question about "Romeo and Juliet" laws. Yesterday, Sam was 21 and Robin was 17. Today, Sam is 22 and Robin is 17. Tomorrow, Sam will obviously still be 22 and Robin will be 18. Was the relationship legal yesterday (assuming AOC is 18 and R&J is four years)? What about today?

It seems to me unjust that it should vacillate between legal and illegal, and more just (or at least unjust in a way outside the scope of this discussion) that it should be illegal until tomorrow -- Sam's 4th birthday was past when Robin was born, that's more than a four-year difference. But when they met, and asked each other's ages, they seemed to each other to be four years apart.

aNewLeaf 07-07-2013 10:48 PM

Pretty sure a judge would get involved in that particular case.
As for the original question, I'm certain the local laws define it in some way.

Since the question is only important to a few people, and only for a short time, it's not going to change.
Driver's license law isn't going to change either- know why? Kids can't vote! :)

ETA-

Quote:

Commerative means first
[citation needed]

Great Antibob 07-08-2013 12:26 AM

From my Random House dictionary:

commemorate verb:

1. to serve as a memorial or reminder of: The monument commemorates the signing of the declaration of independence.
2. to honor the memory of by some observance: to commemorate the dead by a moment of silence; to commemorate Bastille Day.
3. to make honorable mention of.

Nothing about it being the first anniversary. Or even an anniversary at all.

Blaster Master 07-08-2013 11:27 AM

There's at least three different types of years that I know of, they're very close but still not the same and none of them line up precisely with days. Thus, it doesn't make sense to try to legally define a period of 21 years by calculating the number of days it supposedly is. And if we were to do that, why stop the precision at just days and not go even farther. Someone born in the early hours of the day is theoretically 21 sooner than someone who was born late in the evening. What if a pair of twins are born straddling midnight, so one is born just a few minutes before and the other a few minutes after. It seems odd that two twins would have different birthdays and one might be legally allowed to drink before the other.

Besides, do you really want people selling alcohol, cigarettes or other age restricted products or services trying to take into account the complex relationships between the various revolutions and orbits and human-devised calendars just so someone may have a drink or a smoke a little sooner or later? Legally, it just makes sense to simplify it and getting it right generally to within a day or so seems pretty reasonable.

And, really, for me, I guess I was doubly screwed because my 21st birthday was on a Sunday and sale of alcohol was illegal on Sundays there, so I had to wait essentially two days to have my first legal drink. Oh the horror!

turtlescanfly 07-08-2013 01:32 PM

Seeing as how its well established that someone becomes responsible enough to drink alcohol EXACTLY 21 YEARS after they poked their little head into the world and not a day or an hour or a minute sooner, I'd say we need to answer this question definitively as soon as possible. Otherwise, because of leap years and divergent sun rises we run the risk of allowing someone to drink before they are really ready. Or worse, denying those sweet, sweet intoxicants to someone otherwise rightfully entitled due to the capriciousness of our planet's wobbly orbit. Stoopid planet!

Or not.

Bryan Ekers 07-08-2013 09:19 PM

What happens if you feed the OP after midnight?

BigT 07-09-2013 01:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Great Antibob (Post 16447341)

Cecil still doesn't cover the legal issues with a Leap Day baby. I could guess that you'd just wait until March 1, which would be considered "after" your birthday, so you could drink. But I'd be interested in any factual information.

It'd be a lot easier if you got to drink at 20. Then there wouldn't be a problem until 2100.

MichaelXD 07-11-2013 03:13 PM

I'm still right. 16 years is 5,843 days so you should be able to responsibly obtain a driver's license at 5,843 days and whatever you're not allowed to do until age 25, 25 years is 9,131 days so you should be able to do it at 9,131 days or whatever. My 25th birthday is on July 6 in 2016.

Really Not All That Bright 07-11-2013 03:24 PM

What makes you think your calculation of arbitrary measures of time should be observed rather than some other calculation method?

woodstockbirdybird 07-11-2013 03:27 PM

No, you're still wrong. Literally everybody agrees that your birthday falls on the day of the month on which you were born. That's how we do it in our culture. Nobody except you counts the number of days or hours or minutes. You're being deliberately obtuse (or attempting to be clever).

MichaelXD 07-11-2013 03:30 PM

I'm always right. I've been right since the day I was born. Why does this say that a person born on February 29, 1996 and March 1, 1996 had the same birthday this year when those were obviously 2 different days, Thursday and Friday? http://korn19.ch/coding/days.php

Their 17th birthday should've been on February 28 this year if they were born on February 29 so the next person's 17th birthday would be exactly on March 1.

ethelbert 07-11-2013 03:47 PM

Years ago I worked as a claims authorizer for the Social Security Adm. It was well established law at that time (1970's) that you attained your age on the day prior to your birthday (your birthday being the first day of your next year). It is certainly possible that different laws apply in each state for the purpose of enforcing state laws, but that has always made the most sense to me.

MichaelXD 07-11-2013 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ethelbert (Post 16463561)
Years ago I worked as a claims authorizer for the Social Security Adm. It was well established law at that time (1970's) that you attained your age on the day prior to your birthday (your birthday being the first day of your next year). It is certainly possible that different laws apply in each state for the purpose of enforcing state laws, but that has always made the most sense to me.

So I'm guessing age and years are non-related? What if you're not allowed to start school at 1,826 days? Then what do you do? 1,826 days is obviously 5 years, and SOMEONE had to define the exact number of days in a year, or otherwise we wouldn't have a calendar today or be on the Gregorian Calendar.

ethelbert 07-11-2013 09:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelXD (Post 16463579)
So I'm guessing age and years are non-related? What if you're not allowed to start school at 1,826 days? Then what do you do? 1,826 days is obviously 5 years, and SOMEONE had to define the exact number of days in a year, or otherwise we wouldn't have a calendar today or be on the Gregorian Calendar.

It is simply a convention that we measure age in years, not in days, or for that matter, hours or minutes (unless of course you are less than two years old, in which case your age is measured in months).

Kimmy_Gibbler 07-11-2013 10:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by woodstockbirdybird (Post 16463464)
No, you're still wrong. Literally everybody agrees that your birthday falls on the day of the month on which you were born. That's how we do it in our culture.

Nuh-uh. See also this.

Dammit! Beaten by ethelbert. Well, in this thread at least.

Siam Sam 07-11-2013 11:12 PM

What if you were delivered at midnight right on the International Date Line?

MichaelXD 07-12-2013 02:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ethelbert (Post 16464635)
It is simply a convention that we measure age in years, not in days, or for that matter, hours or minutes (unless of course you are less than two years old, in which case your age is measured in months).

And how are months counted? One month is approximately 30.5 days. Times that by 12 and you get 366 days. Three months is 91 days. Times that by 4 and you get 364 days. It's just easier to count days.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Siam Sam (Post 16464875)
What if you were delivered at midnight right on the International Date Line?

Then I'll still have a birthday because I'll keep counting my 365 days until every fourth or fifth year when I count the 366 days. :smack:

turtlescanfly 07-13-2013 12:14 AM

Quote:

Three months is 91 days.

Surely you realize that it depends on which three months you are talking about? Jan-Mar is only 90 days (unless leap year), Jun-August is 92 days.

In fact, by my calculations, there are only 2 contiguous 3-month periods in the year that add up to 91 days... April thru June and September thru November (there are two additional periods if February falls in a leap year... January thru March and December thru February).
But 3 months adds up to 92 six times (fully half of the time) regardless of leap year.

If you try to vote the day before your 18th birthday, or try to get served alchol the day before your 21st birthday, don't expect anyone to sway anyone with "...no really, you forgot about leap year".
As far as being LEGALLY 21 as inquired in your OP, your are LEGALLY 21 when the powers that be say you are.... regardless of how many days, hours, or minutes have passed since you graced the world with your presence. Don't hold your breath waiting for them to change no matter how much sense it makes to you.

turtlescanfly 07-13-2013 12:20 AM

nm

woodstockbirdybird 07-13-2013 01:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kimmy_Gibbler (Post 16464846)
Nuh-uh. See also this.

Dammit! Beaten by ethelbert. Well, in this thread at least.

Uh huh. And when the SSA starts serving drinks to the public or throwing people birthday parties, that might be relevant to what I assume the OP was asking about (my assumption based mainly on the "walking into a bar" example in the first post).

Kimmy_Gibbler 07-13-2013 01:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by woodstockbirdybird (Post 16468525)
Uh huh. And when the SSA starts serving drinks to the public or throwing people birthday parties, that might be relevant to what I assume the OP was asking about (my assumption based mainly on the "walking into a bar" example in the first post).

Whoops! My mistake. When you said "literally everybody" I thought you meant literally everybody and not "a minuscule fraction of people who may have occasion to consider the question of when somebody becomes a certain age." I regret the error.

woodstockbirdybird 07-13-2013 02:38 AM

Yes, the "miniscule fraction" of people who celebrate their friends'/family members' birthdays on the date of their birth every year vs. a government agency's policy that affects precisely nobody in any meaningful way. Since we're being idiotic, I guess I might as well claim the SSA isn't a person, and so doesn't count under the term "everybody".

Kimmy_Gibbler 07-13-2013 02:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by woodstockbirdybird (Post 16468577)
A government agency's policy that affects precisely nobody in any meaningful way.

You do understand that one's eligibility to collect Social Security benefits is tied to one's age (among other things, one is entitled to benefits in any month in which one is full retirement age, so it does matter when the SSA considers when one turns that age). Now, I know that's not quite a meaningful as one's first legal shot of SoCo, but it seems to me that the program isn't called "the third rail of politics" because no1curr.

woodstockbirdybird 07-13-2013 03:05 AM

And if the OP had seemed at all concerned with collecting SS benefits with his question rather than trying to come up with a pointless "Gotcha!" no rational person even cared about, that would be valuable information. But OK, I'll grant you there may well be one single day in your entire life where getting a check on the 20th instead of the 21st makes the policy pertinent.

Kimmy_Gibbler 07-13-2013 03:29 AM

....

MichaelXD 08-12-2013 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by turtlescanfly (Post 16468397)
Surely you realize that it depends on which three months you are talking about? Jan-Mar is only 90 days (unless leap year), Jun-August is 92 days.

In fact, by my calculations, there are only 2 contiguous 3-month periods in the year that add up to 91 days... April thru June and September thru November (there are two additional periods if February falls in a leap year... January thru March and December thru February).
But 3 months adds up to 92 six times (fully half of the time) regardless of leap year.

If you try to vote the day before your 18th birthday, or try to get served alchol the day before your 21st birthday, don't expect anyone to sway anyone with "...no really, you forgot about leap year".
As far as being LEGALLY 21 as inquired in your OP, your are LEGALLY 21 when the powers that be say you are.... regardless of how many days, hours, or minutes have passed since you graced the world with your presence. Don't hold your breath waiting for them to change no matter how much sense it makes to you.

Three months will always be counted as 91 days regardless of where it's from, just like a minute is always 60 seconds.

So what if I did do my 18th birthday at 6,574 days on July 6, 2009? You got a problem with it?!

Darth Ayebaw 08-14-2013 04:26 PM

Despite numerous examples of three months not being 91 days? I'm unsure of your basis for that, since not all months are precisely 30 1/3 days long. You also realize that there are 365.2422 days in a year, and about 23 hours 56 minutes 4 seconds in a day, right? There's not even the so claimed 60 seconds in a minute, depending on which definition you use.

On what basis do you argue that point? I mean there's all sorts of things that can overrule the factual. Legal definitions, religious definition, common use definition, and so on. It'd help if you'd clarify what definitions you're basing your argument on, since they are neither legal, scientific, religious, or even common use as far as I'm aware. If you have your own non-standard definitions, feel free to share those as well.

Thudlow Boink 08-14-2013 07:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by turtlescanfly (Post 16447560)
I also was born July 7th as it happens.

Ooh, me too! How'd I miss this thread back then?


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:43 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.