Get Your Think On…

Over on another site, somebody posted this:

This year July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So, copy this to your status and money will arrive within 4 days. Based on Ancient Chinese Secret!

Wow! Five full weekends in the month of July! At first glance, many people may see that phrase, “Ancient Chinese Secret” and accept this as a true statement. We’d better cherish this moment that happens but once every 27 generations! Aren’t ancient Chinese secrets wonderful?
Not, really.

Being one to not blindly accept whatever somebody says, I choose instead to think about things so I can understand them. In this case, I’ll invoke a bit of science and mathematics. After all, I’m relatively sure that somewhere in my memory I’ve seen this scenario before — something about getting an “extra”* payday in some July a few years ago.

So, here’s a little shell script — it won’t make much sense to non-Unix types:

year=2010
limit=9999
while [ “$year” -le $limit ]
do
    cal 07 $year | grep -B 3 “1  2$” | grep -i “july” | awk ‘{print $2}’
    let “year+=1”
done | less
If we run this, we see that the first set of numbers returned are:
2011 — Okay, that’s this year for the sanity check
2016 — Wait, that’s only five years from now
2022 — Then six more…
2033 — Eleven more…
2039 — I’m starting to think there might be something peculiar about…
2044 — Yeah, these are all slightly less than 823. I think we’re done here.
The only conclusion that I can come to is that the Ancient Chinese Secret was that they didn’t use either the Julian nor Gregorian calendars (duh — different culture); didn’t have days named Friday, Saturday, nor Sunday (honestly, I’m currently in the dark about ancient timekeeping in China); or that somebody, somewhere, has been rather misled.

* We didn’t actually get an “extra” payday. Some people at work were all giddy with excitement because this year there was an extra paycheck in their bank accounts in July. I didn’t think they were thinking it through — literally, through August, September, etc… but that’s another post.


Update: Rick says this is on Snopes. Sure, Snopes explains it, but my way uses math and critical thinking.

One thought on “Get Your Think On…

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