Now for the second chapter. I’m not sure if it’ll be the last though, since there are many more things in the world to rant about.
Before you read on though, if you’ve been here before, you’ll need to refresh the page as I’ve added a few styles into the stylesheet for a table further down in this entry.
Time, it’s measured in a very strange way, and in many ways it’s similar to the money system. We have a lot of units that simply aren’t necessary, much like the pounds, shillings and pence of the old English money system, we have hours, minutes and seconds. On a larger scale we have the same thing again with days, weeks, months and years.
There are simply an excessive number of units, with a few random extra’s thrown in for good measure. Who the hell was it that decided base 60 was a good way to divide up seconds, minutes and hours? Daylight savings is the biggest pile of bull too, lets just randomly skip an hour in April and repeat an hour October.
Anyway, moving on, there are four units that I think we should keep; seconds, days, weeks and years. Let me explain how I think the new system could work.
I propose that there be 100,000 seconds in 1 day, as opposed to the 86,400 seconds in a day that there are now. The new second would therefore be 0.864 the length of time that the current second is. For comparison, a minute would be approximately equal to 70 new seconds, and an hour would be just under 4200 new seconds.
However, in the new system, there would be no minutes or hours, the time could simply be given as one number. For example, one might say, “Meet me outside at 50K for lunch.” 50K being 50,000 new seconds, since there are 100,000 new seconds in a day, 50K would be midday. Also, since 1,000 new seconds is just under 15 minutes, expressing the time in “K” (short for Kiloseconds if you hadn’t already guessed (although Ks would be technically correct, but people are lazy in speech)), is a reasonably accurate, yet short, way of reporting the time.
An alternative unit, instead of thousands of new seconds would be % of the day, and in fact, the two are one and the same. Some people are more familiar with the unit of % since it’s used for all sorts of other things, such as interest rates, crime figures and what-not. 1% of the day would be exactly equal to 1000 new seconds, since there would be 100,000 new seconds in a day.
I think I’ve covered time fairly well there, now I’d like to move onto dates. As I mentioned previously, I would like to dispose of months, but keep days, weeks and the year. What I didn’t mention is that I’d also like to change the length of the week and also, while it may seem strange at first, change the length of the year too.
It may not be too clear why I would keep so many units for the date, while having only one for the time, so I’d like to explain why that is before moving on. The day is necessary so that people can build their short term schedules around it, for example, “I’ll see you the day after tomorrow.” Also, it’s a fairly obvious starting point, since most of us are on a 24 hour (100,000 new second ;)) cycle. The year is necessary so that people can plan long term schedules, like the time it takes to construct a sky scraper for example, and they can give an estimate in years. However, another unit is needed between these two, to allow for planning in the medium term, I decided to ditch the month (since months are of a somewhat irregular and varying length), and lengthen the week slightly.
I would change the length of each week to be 10 days long. The reason for that is that it fits in much nicer with the decimal system, much more orderly, 7 is a rather perculiar number after all. I can imagine a lot of people opposing that change (not least that religious lot), since it would make their working weeks longer. However, hear me out.
Currently the week is 7 days long, 5 of which are work days, 2 of which are days off, obviously that’s not true for everybody but it’s true for most. That means that 71.43% of each week are work days, and the remainder 28.57% aren’t. If we change to a 10 day week, 7 days would be work days, 3 day’s wouldn’t, so actually there would be more time off per week, 70/30 instead of 71.43/28.57.
Additionally, since employers most likely wouldn’t want to work their employee’s too hard (7 days solid could be a bit rough), they could split the 7 days up into two blocks. Say, work for 3 days, have a day off, work for 4 days, have two days off, it’s still roughly the same ratio of work hours, but employees would be more refreshed because of a mid-week break and so theoretically they would be more productive.
Now, onto the year. I would change the length of the year to be 360 days long, except that every fourth year, instead of each year being an extra day long (as it is now), I would make every fourth year 21 days longer. If you run through the maths of that, it works out to be correct, 1461 days every 4 years. The actual change of the year would be slightly incorrect, but since the Earth would still have completed approximately 1 orbit, this error would be imperceivable.
Let’s say that the system started at the beginning of this year, the new year would arrive 5 days early, next year it would be 10 days early, then because 2008 is a leap year, it would be 5 days late, then in 2009 it would be on the correct day, then the pattern would repeat, -5, -10, +5, 0.
Here’s a little table of the years, the cumulative number of days throughout a four year period for both systems and the difference between them.
|Year||Days (current system)||Days (my system)||Difference|
Now, how to measure dates. With the current system, months play a starring role, however with my system there are no months, instead the weeks can be used. Since the week does not change length like the month does, it makes a much more simple unit to use, also, with my system there are an exact number of weeks in the year, including the leap year (I’ll explain why in a moment). 360 days in a year, 10 days in a week, that makes 36 weeks in a year, 38 weeks in a leap year. I have therefore thought of a few different ways to write the date. Here they all are showing how to write the first and last day of a normal year aswell as the format used:
- day, week, year : 1, 1, 2006 – 10, 36, 2006
- day, week, year : 0, 0, 2006 – 9, 35, 2006 (where 0 is the first item in the array, to use a bit of programming talk)
- week.day year : 0.0 2006 – 35.9 2005
- year week.day : 2006 0.0 – 2006 35.9
I think I like the last format the most, people may not be too comfortable with counting from 0 at first, but I’m sure they’d get used to it in time. Also, it doesn’t actually use the day, it’s the number of weeks to the nearest 0.1, it just so happens that a day is 0.1 of a week.
Finally, the leap year. Each leap year would have an extra 21 days, that’s 2 weeks and 1 day. These extra days would simply be tacked onto the end of the year, so the last day of a leap year would be 38.0. However, the day after 38.0 would NOT be 38.1, because with the start of every new year the weeks start again from 0, this would be order of dates around new year in a leap year:
- 2008 37.7
- 2008 37.8
- 2008 37.9
- 2008 38.0 – Leap Day
- 2009 0.0 – New Years day
- 2009 0.1
- 2009 0.2
- 2009 0.3
The extra two weeks in a leap year would be considered normal weeks just like any other, but the leap day would not be considered to be part of a week, or in fact a normal day. The number 38.0 is assigned to it merely for consistency, but since it is the only day in 38, and there are 10 days in a week, it cannot be considered a week. 38.0 would be called Leapday, if we were to assign the name of Monday to the x.0 days, it would not apply to 38.0 because it is not a normal day, it is simply a correction and would be treated as a holiday.
So to recap over the whole system.
- Each day would have 100,000 new seconds.
- Each week would have 10 days.
- Years would have 360 days (36 weeks).
- Leap years would have 2 extra weeks to make up for the error introduced by a 360 day year.
- Leap years would have another extra day, called Leapday, to correct for the fact that the Earth takes 365.25 days to complete a full orbit.
This system is much more orderly and regular than the existing system and therefore, I believe, it makes more sense.