Filtered for vampires and calendars

13.58, Friday 15 Mar 2024


In honour of 2024 being a leap year:

Bissextus (Wikipedia) is the leap day which is added to the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar every fourth year to compensate for the six-hour difference in length between the common 365-day year and the actual length of the solar year.


In the Julian calendar, the leap day is not 29 February.

Instead it is 24 February TWICE.


Read: Turning Back the Economic Clock (The Fitzwilliam, 2022).

A compelling argument that Bram Stoker’s Dracula is about the emergence of Greenwich mean time and standard timekeeping:

Great Britain’s economic prosperity was becoming increasingly dependent on international standards, such as the global adoption of Greenwich Mean Time and the Universal Day. Dracula, whose powers are governed by the sun and the moon rather than clocks and calendars, threatens to destabilise social coordination. If he gained power, he would bring down the economy.

Hollis Robbins makes a strong case, and points out some special features of the book:

  • Stoker spends much time detailing the vampire’s interest in supply chains, citing books and directories on customs, law, shipping, and transportation routes
  • Dracula is one of the first novels of modern paperwork. To read it is to understand the most up-to-date communication technologies of the day.

Also she points out that the vampire myth may be down to calendar confusion, as the calendar transition in that part of Europe took almost 350 years…

Discrepancies about days may have been behind popular belief in the undead in Eastern Europe. Consider that a person who died on April 1 and was buried on April 3 under the Julian calendar could be remembered strolling about by a Gregorian calendar follower on, say, April 7 (March 28 under the Julian calendar). Scholars last century began to put together what Stoker knew: that reports of vampires and dead men walking from their graves were the most common in border regions, where both the Julian and Gregorian calendars were in use


NOTE THAT it is currently provincial human assumptions season, those few weeks between the US changing its clocks for daylight savings, and the UK/Europe doing the same, when all our cross-Atlantic zoom meetings get mixed up. It’s no calendar mixup but it’s something. What micro vampires will emerge from this timezone confusion?


The eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 led to both the novel The Vampyre, the precursor to Dracula, and - arguably - Mormonism. The Year Without a Summer, as previously discussed.


Read: The Day the Dinosaurs Died (The New Yorker, 2019).

The dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid strike 65 million years ago. The Chicxulub impact crater is under Mexico.

The KT Boundary (In Our Time) is the layer of debris, ash, and soot deposited by the asteroid strike is preserved in the Earth’s sediment as a stripe of black about the thickness of a notebook.

And now, at one particular dig:

“We weren’t just near the KT boundary – this whole site is the KT boundary!”

They’ve found fish that died in the impact: The mouth of the paddlefish was agape, and jammed into its gill rakers were microtektites.

Micro-tektites are the blobs of glass that form when molten rock is blasted into the air by an asteroid impact and falls back to Earth in a solidifying drizzle.

A mammal burrow, burnt trees, dinosaur feathers.

An incredibly vivid picture.


Other meteor strikes that have left glass bead evidence including one that may have been the destruction of the ancient city of Sodom.


The Andromeda galaxy (Centauri Dreams) is a flat spiral disc, much like our own Milky Way.

It’s visible with the naked eye, but only on moonless nights and when it’s very dark. It’s larger than the Moon in the sky.

Andromeda is steeply inclined to our line of sight, only fifteen degrees from edge-on.

And so light from the more distant side is about 100,000 years older.

Which leads to this:

When the starlight from the far side of Andromeda started its journey, Homo habilis, the first true humans, did not yet exist. By the time the near-side light started out, they did.

There’s a calendar transition for you.

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