On November 11, 1994, Councillor Frank Sartor, The Lord Mayor of Sydney, wrote to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Professor Don McNicol, asking for his views on the best way to progress the perpetual calendar proposal. The Vice Chancellor in turn referred it to Professor Paul Crittenden, Dean, Faculty of Arts. With a number of colleagues, mainly mathematicians, they discussed the proposal and gave a fair assessment of the idea.

Herein is the rest of Professor Crittenden's letter to the proponent dated February 2, 1995 on the proposal for a new perpetual calendar:

"In summary, the proposal works in a technical sense and could have some advantages, but the whole world would have to agree on it and it would need to be introduced simultaneously. Agreement on that scale in the envisaged time frame is very unlikely and there is question whether the endeavour would be worth the effort. My suggestion would be to try to get it adopted by the United Nations in the first place."

"The proposal is not as strange as it may appear. The problem with the current calendar is that the year contains 365 days (or 366 in leap years) and the week 7 days. The former is fixed by astronomy, the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun and for the seasons to repeat; the latter is convention, seeming to go back to Sumeria and Babylonia. 365 days gives 52 weeks of 7 days plus one left over. The left-over day pushes the calendar forward one day of the week the following year (or two following a leap year). Mr Fernando suggests escaping from this dilemma by simply not allocating the last day of the year to a weekday, i.e. Sunday, December 30 is followed by 'No-weekday', December 31, followed in turn by Monday, January 1. Then all is plain sailing. Of course, in leap years you need two 'No-weekdays'."

"I suspect that the impact of such a calendar change on the sale of diaries and calendars would be minimal. Once the change is made, though, all schedules (e.g. train and plane timetables) would carry over unchanged from year to year. This could significantly reduce effort and confusion for everyone."

"On the down side, the initial confusion that would result from the introduction of the new calendar would be immense. The whole world would have to embrace it simultaneously. And as a matter of practicality, the whole world would have to adopt the 'no-weekdays' as public holidays."

"This advice is probably a little disappointing for you since your ingenuity in devising the calendar is linked with idealism and a very worthy concern for world peace and understanding. Still, I hope that the assessment is of help to you. I cannot now offer any further advice. With all good wishes, (signed) P J Crittenden, Dean, Faculty of Arts."


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