# Thread: Metric Time

1. ## Metric Time

A Guide To Metric Time

What do you think about the idea of Metric time?

I remember I've always wondered why the day is divided into 24 periods, and why there are 60 minutes in an hour, and sixty seconds in a minute. I mean, that's always thrown me off... my brain keeps thinking there should be 100 minutes, not 60, and it's really annoying to have to think about it. It's that way in most other processes involving numbers.

Another thing that always bothered me was the week. I mean, the 7-day unit seems rather arbitrary. Plus, I've always had trouble remember the order of the days and distance between them, and simply labeling them in a way that indicates their order would resolve this easily. Naturally, a 10-day week would also seem to make more sense.

We really don't need a replacement for the month. That one also just serves to throw people off... I mean, we could easily just count by the number of days within the year, rather than dividing them into months. That always throws off my sense of how far away a date is, when I'm not sure how long the month I'm currently in is, or being able to think to myself, "Oh, that's not till next month," when it's really only three days away.

The only units of time that really seem to make sense are the day and the year... the rest seem a bit arbitrary.

The best part of metricizing time, is that we could probably get the date to a point where we could simply express the current time and date as a single numeric value (yes, like Stardates on Star Trek), emphasizing the important number by moving the decimal point, rather than expressing a series of separated number values that have to be processed sequentially to get a sense of what time is being described.

I know that this is never going to happen because people would focus on what they were losing and how much it would take to change their habits (I mean, heck, people in the U.S. won't even use Metric Measurements over the old ones), etc... but still, it's nice to dream.

What do you think? Do you ever fantasize about a perfect world where people use Metric Time rather than cumbersome dates?

2. The logistics of instituting this change would destroy the world, and it doesn't really seem to corroborate with celestial events, which were the basis for our calendar system of days and months in the first place [it might, I admit I skimmed.]

But, I'm all for it. It gives me a whole new set of excuses for being late to things.

3. I skimmed also. It doesn't bother me either way - I can get used to anything.

The month is based on the moon cycle.

4. Originally Posted by JocktheMotie
The logistics of instituting this change would destroy the world, and it doesn't really seem to corroborate with celestial events, which were the basis for our calendar system of days and months in the first place [it might, I admit I skimmed.]

But, I'm all for it. It gives me a whole new set of excuses for being late to things.
Eh, I was mostly thinking about time divisions within the day, rather than to the larger calender. The months don't bother me that much, it's only the week that I think needs to be refined. There's not really any good reason to mess with the month and year, now that I think about it.

Originally Posted by jenocyde
I skimmed also. It doesn't bother me either way - I can get used to anything.

The month is based on the moon cycle.
Yeah, I just thought of that. The month makes sense if you pay attention to the moon cycle. I guess the only one I still think should be changed are the units of week and lower, excepting the day.

So, the month, day, and year are based on celestial events, good point. But the others (hours, minutes, weeks) are still quite arbitrary. The week is probably the worst offender, IMO.

5. Originally Posted by Athenian200
Eh, I was mostly thinking about time divisions within the day, rather than to the larger calender. The months don't bother me that much, it's only the week that I think needs to be refined. There's not really any good reason to mess with the month and year, now that I think about it.

Yeah, I just thought of that. The month makes sense if you pay attention to the moon cycle. I guess the only one I still think should be changed are the units of week and lower, excepting the day.

So, the month, day, and year are based on celestial events, good point. But the others (hours, minutes, weeks) are still quite arbitrary. The week is probably the worst offender, IMO.
Well, there are 12 lunar cycles in a year, which accounts for the 12 months. So that's how we arrived at the base 12 system.

Hours lengthened and shortened with the season - longer in the summer, shorter in the winter. Without going into too much history, there were 12 hours of daylight and 12 of night, but of unequal length. This had to do with 36 stars that seemed to segment the sky at equal intervals. Then 60 was adopted for reasons no one can explain, but it makes fractions easy because it's divisible by 1-6 and 10, 12 and 15.

The 7 day week came from the Torah/Bible. And on the 7th day, He rested... So it seems that this one would be the hardest to change.

6. Originally Posted by jenocyde
Well, there are 12 lunar cycles in a year, which accounts for the 12 months. So that's how we arrived at the base 12 system.

Hours lengthened and shortened with the season - longer in the summer, shorter in the winter. Without going into too much history, there were 12 hours of daylight and 12 of night, but of unequal length. This had to do with 36 stars that seemed to segment the sky at equal intervals. Then 60 was adopted for reasons no one can explain, but it makes fractions easy because it's divisible by 1-6 and 10, 12 and 15.
That does explain why they did it. Although that doesn't explain why we're still doing it. Oh, well.

The 7 day week came from the Torah/Bible. And on the 7th day, He rested... So it seems that this one would be the hardest to change.
You see, that's actually another reason it should be changed or removed from the standard calender. I actually find it mildly offensive that I have religion thrown in my face every time someone talks about what day it is. So it's not only arbitrary, poorly labeled, and difficult to keep track of, it's rather offensive to people who don't share the religion of the people who invented it. It's one thing for religious people to want it, but why should the rest of us be subjected to it when we're trying to figure out when something happens?

Hmm... everything else can be justified based on how people had to tell time in the past, in my mind, but I firmly believe that the week is a truly awful unit of time.

7. I was just thinking yesterday how it would be cool if I started using the Metric Time just for shits. As one would probably expect, I did poorly at keeping it up.

I think it would be a good change opace. There wouldn't really be any logical reason to do so, but I think it would be really cool.

8. I tried this in 2000. Along with reformed calendars etc. And an attempt at time standardisation outside Earth. What I found was similar to what has been said, that most of what we have was made that way for a reason.

We do need a time system that is planet independent once we become more space faring though.

On the why are we still doing it, because digital time is far less beautiful and far more unintuitive. And it's segments in no way relate to anything measurable in our surroundings.

9. Originally Posted by noigmn
I tried this in 2000. Along with reformed calendars etc. And an attempt at time standardisation outside Earth. What I found was similar to what has been said, that most of what we have was made that way for a reason.

We do need a time system that is planet independent once we become more space faring though.

On the why are we still doing it, because digital time is far less beautiful and far more unintuitive. And it's segments in no way relate to anything measurable in our surroundings.
Great, so our time measurement system is an ART FORM rather than the best tool for the job? Intuitive? I really don't see that, to me it's the current time system that seems "unintuitive."

And of course you're going to end up going back to the normal system eventually... because it's impractical to continually convert it from what other people are using. As long as other people use it, there's no point in trying to use a different system yourself. Things just don't work that way.

Sigh. The fact that "there's A reason" (regardless of whether it's still a very good reason) appears to be enough justification for most people to keep doing things they way they've been doing them rather than try to improve. For instance... I can't imagine a society that used digital/metric time would ever decide to switch to what we use now. But people sure do want to cling to it regardless. And you know why? They have no vision.

Interestingly, I recently found that the time system I'm thinking of isn't actually new. Apparently during the French revolution, almost exactly the same time system as the one I'm thinking of was implemented, though it never caught on.

The only justification I can usually get is "well, it may work better, but people don't like it." Why do people have to like such... ANNOYING things, anyway?

10. Originally Posted by Athenian200
Sigh. The fact that "there's A reason" (regardless of whether it's still a very good reason) appears to be enough justification for most people to keep doing things they way they've been doing them rather than try to improve. For instance... I can't imagine a society that used digital/metric time would ever decide to switch to what we use now. But people sure do want to cling to it regardless. And you know why? They have no vision.
Yeah, but changing something just for the point of changing it is also pointless. But I don't mind the change, like I said, I could get used to anything... I'm not clinging to anything, I just don't care either way.

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