Time for a revolution

I’ve always thought that our way of telling time doesn’t fit our culture very well, particularly the way that a day officially begins at midnight. What sense does that make in a culture where people so often stay up beyond that time? Below is my idea for a better system.*

Let the day be divided into four sections: morning (6:00am to midday), afternoon (midday to 6:00pm), evening (6:00pm to midnight) and night (midnight to 6:00am). These definitions are very similar to the way people already use the terms, but under my proposal it would be official.

Let night be known as post-evening and also as pre-morning, so that “post-evening Saturday” is synonymous with “pre-morning Sunday“, in the same way that in music, C Sharp is synonymous with D Flat. Thus the six hours from midnight to 6am would belong equally to both the day before and the day after, providing principled grounds for a more flexible use of the terms “yesterday” and “tomorrow”.

Now let the four sections of the day be divided into three parts each (early, mid, and late) so that the whole day is divided into twelve units:

  • Early post-evening aka early pre-morning (middnight to 2am)
  • Mid post-evening aka mid pre-morning (2am to 4am)
  • Late post-evening aka late pre-morning (4am to 6am)
  • Early morning (6am to 8am)
  • Mid morning (8am to 10am)
  • Late morning (10am to midday)
  • Early afternoon (midday to 2pm)
  • Mid afternoon (2pm to 4pm)
  • Late afternoon (4pm to 6pm)
  • Early evening (6pm to 8pm)
  • Mid evening (8pm to 10pm)
  • Late evening (10pm to midnight)

Again, it seems to me that most of these definitions are very similar to the way the terms are already used in practise, an observation that I’m trying to take advantage of to create an intuitive, culturally-appropriate proposal. I am not inclined to allocate numbers to these units, because I don’t want to arbitrarily decide which should be number one (should the night come first or last?).

Let smaller intervals of time be metricised. In particular, let the basic unit of time be a hundredth of one of the above units, and let that unit be called a dure. Note that “dure” is an antiquated word synonymous with “endure” and derives from the French “durer“, “to last”. It strikes me as an appropriate name for the unit on three counts: (1) it provides a new role for an antiquated word; (2) it is derived from French as befits a metric unit; (3) the word itself is nice and short.

The dure (72 seconds) would replace the minute. Each of the twelve units of time listed above would be called a hectodure (2 hours) and would replace the hour. A hundredth of a dure would be a centidure, and would replace the second. The following image should change every centidure in order to help you to practice thinking of time in the new units.

The speed of light is 215,850,570 metres per centidure.

Below are translations of times from the current system into the one I am proposing. Of course, the words “zero centidures after” can be omitted in each case, and are only included below for illustrative purposes.

What I haven’t figured out yet is how the time should be displayed on a digital watch, although I’m thinking along the lines of allocating each hectodure a symbol, possibly the following twelve from “early post-evening/pre-morning” to “late evening“: . Analogue watches would be antiquated, and good riddance in my opinion.

12:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero early post-evening Saturday.
  • Zero centidures after zero early pre-morning Sunday.

1:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty early post-evening Saturday.
  • Zero centidures after fifty early pre-morning Sunday.

2:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero mid post-evening Saturday.
  • Zero centidures after zero mid pre-morning Sunday.

3:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty mid post-evening Saturday.
  • Zero centidures after fifty mid pre-morning Sunday.

4:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero late post-evening Saturday.
  • Zero centidures after zero late pre-morning Sunday.

5:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty late post-evening Saturday.
  • Zero centidures after fifty late pre-morning Sunday.

6:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero early morning Sunday.

7:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty early morning Sunday.

8:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero mid morning Sunday.

9:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty mid morning Sunday.

10:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero late morning Sunday.

11:00am Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty late morning Sunday.

12:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero early afternoon Sunday.

1:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty early afternoon Sunday.

2:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero mid afternoon Sunday.

3:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty mid afternoon Sunday.

4:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero late afternoon Sunday.

5:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty late afternoon Sunday.

6:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero early evening Sunday.

7:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty early evening Sunday.

8:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero mid evening Sunday.

9:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty mid evening Sunday.

10:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after zero late evening Sunday.

11:00pm Sunday

  • Zero centidures after fifty late evening Sunday.

* It is doubtful, to say the least, that anyone out there will ever read this post and assume that it is intended in earnest. So I’m reluctant to add a disclaimer pointing out the blatantly obvious. You get this footnote instead.

Advertisements

One Response to “Time for a revolution”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    Get rid of the SI second? Change every scientific definition, reference work, report, and measurement to adjust to the ill-governed behavior of a crappy and oversized clock? No, no, 1 kilotime no!

    Better we should switch to the time system of Joan Vinge’s Heaven Belt, where there is no inhabited planet, only asteroids, and people talk in kilosecs (~ 15 min), megasecs (~ 1.5 weeks) and gigasecs (~ 30 yr). If you have to wait more than a kilosec for an appointment, you have something to complain of (at least in some cultures); a megasec is a reasonable unit for a project; a marriage that lasts a gigasec is doing very well.


You are welcome to add your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s