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People who were born on Feb. 29 often feel left out. Not this year, it's leap year


Now Part 2 of our series in the run up to leap day on February 29. Today we focus on the good and bad of having a leap year.


We'll start with the bad. Leap years mean our current calendar is inconsistent, at least according to Steve Hanke at Johns Hopkins University.

STEVE HANKE: We started talking about the problems associated with the Gregorian calendar, and part of those problems were just scheduling what we were doing year by year at the university, but there were all sorts of other problems that popped up.

MARTIN: He is talking about his conversations with Johns Hopkins astrophysicist Richard Conn Henry.

HANKE: As a result of that, we developed the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar.

MARTIN: A new calendar with just 364 days...


MARTIN: ...And a permanent calendar - any given date would always fall on the same day of the week every year.

HANKE: You have one calendar, and it's good forever.

INSKEEP: He says the forever calendar has no leap day. Instead, it has a leap week, which is added to the end of December, not every four years, but every six years. Hanke says that keeps the calendar in line with current seasons, which is the purpose of the leap days that we have now.

MARTIN: But how likely is a real change to our current calendar? Well, for those of us in the United States, it could depend on who is in office.

HANKE: Years ago, when President Trump became president, we thought he would be the kind of personality who might go for something like this. Because can you think, how about a Trump calendar?

INSKEEP: Surprisingly, Trump didn't do it.

MARTIN: Now, for a totally different perspective, let's hear from someone who has a vested interest in our current calendar.

BLAIR BERG: My name is Blair Berg. I was born February 29, 1984.

MARTIN: Berg is a high school teacher in Switzerland and a leap day baby.

BERG: I guess it's kind of a double-edged sword, right? Because you see everyone being able to celebrate a birthday every single year and it becomes, like, a big thing, but then ours just gets glossed over. But then when it's actually the time, it's sort of this shining light. You feel recognized.

MARTIN: Berg has grown to appreciate his birthday as a fun quirk and an excellent icebreaker.

INSKEEP: We should note, for all the leap day babies out there, the Hanke-Henry permanent calendar that we mentioned promises 30 days every February, which means no more leap days. There would be a February 29th every single year. So if you're a leap day baby, you get a birthday every year, whether you want it or not. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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