Some things I've learned....

(1) An Engineer can do with 10 cent what a fool can do with a Euro.

(2) "Puff" - unimportant; insignificant; unworthy of study by engineering students; waste of time

(3) It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid than to open it and prove them right!

(4) Blockwork people and concrete people can never work on the same site... Apparently they don't like each other....

(5) It's official; I'm fantastic!

Thursday 22 February 2007

Metric Time????

This is something which I've always thought about. Sure the Simpsons gave us a very (very!) brief idea of what metric time would be like, but I only discovered recently (thanks to Kev browsing the net during Mechanics), that real-life alternatives to our current method of measuring time actually exist. The following are extracts from different websites, as I personally don't have the time to actually postulate a viable alternative for time measurement! The following extracts are also extremely summarised, as after reading through them some of the technical details are exceptionally heavy going!

"A Guide to Metric Time" (Courtesy of

A Metric or Decimalized Time system is, like ABT, based on the solar day (i.e. one revolution of the Earth). This day is then divided into units of tenths, hundredths, thousands, etc. that are used to keep and tell time.
NOTE: Although we are defining Metric Time here based on the rotation period of the Earth, that doesn't mean that we couldn't redefine it based on something more stable (such as the radioactive decay rate of some atom,) as has been done with ABT.
Most proposed day-based decimalized time systems are basically the same in that one tenth of a day is one tenth of a day for all of them. However there are differences between systems, these mainly being the unit names, display format and how
locality and universality are handled.

Any system of measurement must have a unit that measurements are expressed in and a standard format for expressing that unit to avoid confusion. Metric Time is no different. However, there are and have been a number of units and formats proposed.

French Revolutionary Metric Time
10 metric hours in a day
100 metric minutes in a metric hour
100 metric seconds in a metric minute
10 days in a metric week (called a dekade)

The main attraction of this is that seconds and minutes are fairly close to their ABT counterparts, allowing people to continue to use expressions like "I'll be done in a few seconds" or "any minute now!" and have them mean the same thing. There are, however, two major drawbacks.
One is that using unit names that are the same as the ABT units could lead to confusion where precision is more important. This is especially problematic with the metric hour which is almost two and a half times the length of the ABT hour -- a significant period of time for a scheduling mishap. This could be solved by always saying "metric hours" and "ABT hours", but this would quickly grow tiresome.
The second drawback is that, while metric minutes and MT seconds are as convenient as their ABT counterparts, the metric hour is a bit ungainly. Blocking out the day in ABT hours is manageable, but a tenth of a day is too long a period to be useful for higher resolution mapping of the day on the scale of appointments, TV show times and such (although it would still have value as a low resolution day-overview).
The obvious solution to the latter problem is to pick a base-ten fraction that gives a more reasonable length of time and promote its use as the basic building block of the day, much as ABT hours and half-hours are used. It will be the unit that time is normally expressed in, except in technical situations. A hundredth of a day (let's call it a centiday here for brevity) is the logical choice for this unit as it is 14.4 ABT minutes. For example: a TV sitcom is 2 centidays long and a typical class session lasts 4 centidays.

I'll let you read the rest there yourselves at the above link.

"Swatch Internet Time" (Courtesy of Swatch obviously)
Swatch have developed a new time system that has no geographical boundaries, and is a simple, innovative way for people around the ever-decreasing globe to keep in touch.
Called 'Internet Time', the day is divided into 1000 'beats', each equal to about a minute and a half. The designation for Internet Time is an '@' symbol before a 3-digit number, such as @593. Swatch have developed a series of Beat Watches, which display both conventional time and Internet time.
Internet Time is based upon midnight, winter time in Biel, Switzerland, home of the Swatch. At any given Beat, it is the same time all around the world.

The time now being 10:19 whilst writing this very phrase, it is now @471 beats!!!

BMT Standard Time Conversions
Designation----Conversion To----
Designation----Conversion To
1 .beat--------->0.001 day--------1 day-------->1000 .beats
1 .beat--------->0.024 hours------1 hour------->41.666 .beats
1 .beat--------->1.44 minutes-----1 minute----->0.6944 .beats
1 .beat--------->86.4 seconds-----1 second---->0.01157 .beats

I'll try to get my hands on more info about this at a later stage, and maybe a gripe about the imperial system and why its so "bastardised".


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