So what you’re saying is that people used to nap more? And that they would sometimes wake up around midnight for a bit. What would they do then? I mean, other than the obvious.
Look, I see what you’re saying, and I’m sure that fixed work times must have influenced sleeping patterns. IMHO the big change, however, wasn’t during the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago - it was during the Agricultural Revolution 12,000 years ago, when we had to force our hunter-gatherer rhythms into a way of life we were not prepared for on a genetic level. Compared to that, the invention of clocks had a very minor impact.
Cows need to be milked three times a day or it can be very unhealthy for them. Back when I worked on a dairy farm, we’d milk them at 4 AM, 12 PM and 8 PM. Fun times.
True. Sleeping primarily when it’s dark out and being awake primarily during the daylight hours isn’t, though. What there’s evidence of is that a lot of people had a brief waking period during the night, then went back to sleep during the daytime. As far as I know there’s no evidence that people anywhere slept entirely randomly with respect to daylight, and a great deal of evidence that daylight affects internal clocks.
Yeah, you could work around it. But you’d still have to work around it. And you’d still have the problem that every other clock you happened to see would need to be translated or ignored; which would be a nuisance for whatever part of your head would be doing that.
My guess – which is a guess – is that it was advantageous to a group to always have somebody awake, to watch out for Tiger and to keep the fire going and to notice a toddler toddling off; and advantageous even in a group too small to easily always have somebody awake if at least somebody woke up briefly in the night to check on those things.
Farms trying to get highest milk production do milk three times a day. Many small scale farms milk twice a day. I know one person who milked/does barn chores at 10 AM and 10 PM, because that works better for her.
Cows that are used to being milked three times a day may indeed get health problems if one of those times are skipped; and it’s possible that modern Holsteins at peak production need to be milked three times a day because they’re producing almost (and sometimes actually) more milk than their bodies can stand.
Average dates of last frost, first frost, planting seasons in general would then start wandering. Those equinox and solstice dates would wander too so they lose all their meaning. It seems like anything related to climatology and weather would be messed up. Then history recording too. “The winter of 2278 was a frigid one, it got down to -40 degrees that August!”
Well, in the first place I think you have to go back a lot further than 250 years to get to our evolutionary sleep patterns, rather than cultural ones. We’ve had artificial lights and lived in areas with long winter nights and short summer ones longer than that.
Second I was talking about activity patterns, not sleep, business hours in ‘sun zones’ is unaffected by whether we sleep in one block or splint ones.
I thought of that, but it messes with the 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 asthetic 12 provides. How about 12 thirty day months with an extra 5/6 monthless/weekless days (make up new names for them). Instead of New Year’s Eve/Day we can have a 5/6 day celebration! At the same time, let’s switch to a 6 day week (who needs Mondays?) and the months/weeks/dates wil always be symetric. That should finally get us to a 4 day work week they keep suggesting. Who’s with me?
That’s true under the bog standard calendar we use today. If you’re talking about the Southern Hemisphere.
On a more serious note…
If per one aspect of the OP’s plan we abolish leap years all that happens is the calendar slowly drifts earlier vs the astronomical and climatological seasons. Or perhaps better said, the seasons drift later versus the calendar. How slowly? If you live to be 100 years old over the course of your life it’ll have drifted ~25 days, so nearly a month.
If April’s showers were bringing May’s flowers when you were a newborn, by the time you’re a decrepit ancient wrinkly it’ll be May’s showers bringing June’s flowers. Given the climatological changes to be wrought by global warming over that same hundred years, I’m not sure laypeople could even notice the calendar signal amidst the AGW signal.
For sure things like solstices, equinoxes, conjunctions would also be on different dates. But those aren’t really things ordinary people can see or predict. It’s cool that the spring equinox is on (quick Google) Monday Mar 20th, 3 days from now. But even as somebody who cares about such stuff, if I got the day wrong by 5 days either way it would not much affect my life.
For sure scientists and academics of all stripes would care a lot about all this stuff. But they already use more complicated calendars & reckoning systems fussing about every tinier details than we ordinary folks do.
My bottom line:
I’ll suggest that if we abolished leap days and leap years, the consequences would be just about zero for just about everyone over the span of any single human life. The cumulative effects over hundreds or thousands of years would be significant. But we already can’t make detailed sense of dates from 2000 years ago. Why should the fine people of the year 4023 care that much about the details of which date was predicted to be the first frost of 2023 in Frostbite Falls MN.
Folks predicting calamity are being alarmist. But IMO it’d still be a silly change for a silly reason with more down- than up-side at this point. But fomenting a crisis? Hardly.