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Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects our eclectic interests and, we hope, yours. This week, our focus is on Leap Year and other leapers so take a leap of faith with us and read on.

We hope you are finding these offerings fun and maybe even useful. We welcome your feedback. (Kathy@WiserNow.com) And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.

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The Quirky Quote

The most famous quote about a leap is Neil Armstrong’s:
That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
It was inspiring, and advanced the U.S. space program by leaps and bounds, but it wasn’t quirky. This one is:
Cheese is milk’s leap toward immortality.
 ~ Clifton Fadiman
 

The Quirky Observation

If you have ever leapt for joy over good news, you can understand pronking, which is what lots of playful animals do when they literally kick up their heels and leap for the sheer pleasure of the airborne moment. Counting sheep jumping over a fence is an old remedy to supposedly cure insomnia, so it should not be surprising that the behavior is common in sheep as you can see here and here, but llamas enjoy it, too, as you can see, and here is a baby rhino trying to be a pronking sheep.

 

The Quirky Facts

Impressive leapers abound in the animal world. The greatest leaper depends on whether you are counting height, distance, distance in relation to body size, or speed. Kangaroos can jump 40 feet, klipspringers and snow leopards can leap 50 feet, and for their size, rabbits, hares, and chipmunks are all impressive leapers. In the insect world, grasshoppers and crickets play second fiddle to the flea which can jump the equivalent of 220 times its own length. But perhaps the greatest leaper (See Resources) is the planktonic copepod found throughout the world's oceans. They are typically less than 0.1in (3mm) long, but within a few milliseconds, copepods accelerate to a velocity of nearly 1000 body lengths per second.
 
But for most of us, it’s much more fun to watch the quantum leaps of frogs, deer (+ antelopes, gazelles, springboks, and impalas), squirrels, dolphins, and dogs on trampolines.

The Question
Which do you believe?

  • Look before you leap.
  • He who hesitates is lost.

The Quiz

We need a leap day every four years to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the Sun. It takes the Earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds to circle once around the Sun. Without that extra day, we would lose almost six hours every year, and about 24 days in a century, throwing each season off by nearly a month.

Can you answer the following?
1. Ancient rulers did a lot of finagling with the western calendar. It was Roman Emperor Julius Caesar who gave us the 365-day calendar, but it was the next emperor who short-changed February. According to one of our sources, the Julian calendar gave 31 days to July (the month named after the emperor) and only 29 to August, the month related to Caesar Augustus. Therefore, when he became emperor, Caesar Augustus took 2 days from February in the Julian calendar, and added them to August, essentially giving himself equal billing. Is it true?
          a. Yes ___              b. No ___     c. This website says so ____

2. Generally, leap years occur every 4 years, but there will not be one in 2100.
          True ___                False ___

3. Although the centuries-old origins of the idea that women can propose to men on February 29 are debatable, one European tradition dictated that any man who refused a woman's proposal on that date had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. Why?
a. Because she ought to get something for her forthrightness ___
b. Gloves were expensive and 12 pairs suggested an abundance of wealth ___
c. To hide her ringless finger ___

4. The animal associated with Leap Year is
a. frog ___   b. long-horn sheep ___   c. gazelle ___

5. When do people born on February 29 celebrate their birthdays in non-Leap Years?
a. Feb 28 ___   b. March 1 ___   c. It depends ___

6. Does the Leap Year bring good luck or bad luck?
a. Good ___           b. Bad ___             c. It depends ___

Answers and explanations are at the end of this document – And check out Resources for much more.


The Shameless Request

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The Kiosk of Resources

The Featured Product
What could be more appropriate to offer this week than the Wiser Now slide show, Time Will Tell? We have every reason to believe you will be pleased by the quizzes, word games, and clever contents for showing on a wide-screen TV or individually on a tablet. Buy it now! No time like the present!

 

Answers to the quiz

1. c – I wouldn’t put too much credence into it because the same website claims astrologers believe people born on February 29 have unusual talents, such as the ability to burp the alphabet or paint like Picasso.

2. True. It’s complicated, but essentially, if the last two digits of the year are divisible by four (e.g. 2020, 2024) then it’s a leap year. But century years must be divisible by 400 to be leap years — so, 2000 and 2400 are leap years, but 2100 will not be one. It’s all about matching calendars to the sun’s rotation.

3. c – Make your own comment here

4. a

5. c – Countries frequently have laws about this and some favor February 28; others, March 1.

6. c – Bad luck: You are working for free on February 29 if you're on a fixed annual wage. Prisoners with one-year sentences must serve the extra day if the term crosses leap day. Good luck: If you are renting your home, you get a free day. Any other reasons?

Our multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what we and people whom we admire are doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. We hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (Kathy@WiserNow.com)
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