Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Leaplings!

TWUniversal Search (accessible from the TWU Libraries homepage, at the bottom of the maroon column on the left) is a useful tool for all types of research--scholarly, popular and the just-for-fun.

As a Leap Day demonstration, a search for 'leap year' in TWUniversal Search yields sources containing the following 'leap' info that will make you the most popular person at your Leap Day gathering:

LEAPLINGS
Someone born on Leap Day may be called a 'leapling'. Leaplings usually celebrate their birthdays on February 28th or March 1st.

BLESSING OR CURSE?
In non-leap years certain countries legally recognize February 29th birthdays on February 28th or March 1st--resulting in hassles with birth certificates, driver's licenses and entry fields on websites. Many Leap Day babies report benefits to playing the 'leap day card', however--receiving discounts and free meals and admissions.

FAMOUS LEAPLINGS
--1980: Simon Gagne, Canadian hockey player and NHL All-Star
--1976: Ja Rule, American rapper and actor
--1972: Saul Williams, American rap poet and actor
--1972: Antonio Sabato Jr., Italian-born soap star whose credits include 'The Bold and the Beautiful', 'Melrose Place' and 'General Hospital'
--1968: Bryce Eric Paup, football player, named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1995 and a four-time Pro Bowl selection
--1952: Sharon Dahlonega Raiford Bush, America's first African-American weather anchor
--1944: Dennis Farina, ex-Chicago policeman-turned-actor with memorable roles in 'Get Shorty' and 'Law & Order'
--1940: Billy Turner, successful trainer of thoroughbreds including Seattle Slew (winner of the U.S. Triple Crown in 1977)
--1940: Gretchen Christopher, vocalist and songwriter who founded 'The Fleetwoods', one of the most popular doo-wop groups of the 1950s
--1936: Jack Lousma, astronaut who was a crew member of the Skylab 3 flight in 1973, and of the Columbia Space Shuttle in 1982
--1932: Newel Kay Brown, who wrote the children's song 'I Hope They Call Me On A Mission' (which every child in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints since 1970 has sung)
--1916: Dinah Shore, American singer, actress and television personality
--1904: Mr. Wolfe Plus 585 Sr., person with the longest official name. With a name for every letter of the alphabet, his full name is Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenberdorft Sr.
--1904: Jimmy Dorsey, prominent American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, trumpeter and big band leader
--1736: Ann Lee, founder of the Shaker movement (which she brought to America in 1776)
--1712: General Montcalm, hero of the French & Indian War

LEAP YEAR MATH
A leap year is a year in the Gregorian calendar with one extra day added to the end of February, making the month 29 days long. The day was established to keep the seasons and the calendar in sync. A year is measured by the amount of time it takes the sun to return to the spot directly above the Earth's equator. Although it actually takes 365.2422 days, we round it to 365. This results in an error of 0.2422 days, or almost 6 hours, per year. After 100 years this calendar would be more than 24 days ahead of the seasons; Leap Day makes up for the inaccuracy. Years that end in '00' can only be a leap year if they are divisible by 400 (so 1900 was not a leap year, but 2000 was).

LEAP YEAR BY THE NUMBERS
--Between 1904 and 2096 Leap Day occurs on the same day of the week every 28 years (so the last time February had five Fridays was in 1980, and the next time will be in 2036).
--The odds of having a leap birthday are 1 in 1,461.
--The longest possible time between two leap years is 8 years. The last time this happened was between 1896 and 1904--and it won't happen again until 2096 to 2104.
--According to the 2000 U.S. Census there are about 200,000 Americans (and 4.1 million people worldwide) who were born on February 29th.
--Norway's Henriksen siblings are recognized by the 'Guinness Book of World Records'. The three siblings were born on three consecutive Leap Days (Heidi Henriksen in 1960; Olav Henriksen in 1964; and Leif-Martin Henriksen in 1968).

Sources: http://www.leapyearcapital.com/
; http://www.leapyearday.com/content/famous-leapers; and http://www.timeanddate.com/date/leapyear.html.

From TWU Libraries and TWUniversal Search--Happy Leap Day.

--Sandy Cochran

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