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who needs leap years? November 1, 2006

Posted by d.w. in misc.

here’s the problem with the other calendar idea that i had: it totally caters to the earth’s revolution about its axis and about the sun. i mean, if we’re trying to move towards a universal calendar, it can’t be fair that on earth a day has a defined night time and day time while on other planets days are completely independent of whether they’re facing the sun or not. so even though 13 months per year is a great idea, it’s a little bit short-sighted. that’s why it’s time to introduce a new calendar idea, based (like all science) on the metric system. you might think i’m stealing this idea from star trek. in fact, i just thought about how maybe i am. so i researched it and stardates don’t make any sense. they’re totally made up and don’t even move chronologically at all. gene roddenberry, who created stardates, said these two things:

  • This time system adjusts for shifts in relative time which occur due to the vessel’s speed and space warp capability. It has little relationship to Earth’s time as we know it. One hour aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise at different times may equal as little as three Earth hours. The stardates specified in the log entry must be computed against the speed of the vessel, the space warp, and its position within our galaxy, in order to give a meaningful reading.
  • I’m not quite sure what I meant by that explanation, but a lot of people have indicated it makes sense. If so, I’ve been lucky again, and I’d just as soon forget the whole thing before I’m asked any further questions about it.

so stardates usually completely arbitrary and totally useless (read: bogus). not that arbitrary is bad. just that if you’re going to make a calendar, you can only take the beginning of the calendar to be arbitrary. then you need to stay consistent. so stardates are out. and i didn’t steal this idea from them because they don’t even make sense. and the regular calendar is out because it’s racist (it favors the west). so take a hike, gregorian calendars — a hike to the top of a volcano while we usher in the metric age.

first of all, we get rid of every measurement of time. say goodbye to years, months, decades, minutes, hours, nanoseconds, etc. the only one we keep is one second. we need that because the speed of light is defined in terms of seconds, meaning the seconds we have right now. then we define a day to be how long it would take light to travel 2 x 10^13 meters in a vacuum. now all we do is just start counting days from september 11, 2001, which i also picked as an arbitrary starting day. so dates are given in terms of how many days since time equals zero (september 11, 2001). for instance, today’s date is 2429.614. it’s been 2429 days since day 0 and the time of the day is .614. so if someone asks, “what’s today’s date?” you can respond, “2429.” if they ask for the time you say, “614.” so it’s been just over half a day since the beginning of the day. for convenience, we can define a week to be 10 days and a year to be 1000 days. all the other units of times are given in days with some metric prefix. like millidays, centidays, decidays, decadays (weeks), hectodays, kilodays (years), etc. so your birthday would be some number between 0 and 999. like if my birthday was 911, then i would have parties on days like 2911, 5911, 10911, etc. what easy numbers, right? hard to ever forget, that’s for sure. so my birthday would be coming up in 482 days. sweet! somebody suggested saying “funday” instead of “birthday.” the only thing i like about that is that in spanish it would be called “diavertido.” but that’s not enough of a selling point for me since “funday” sounds ridiculous, unless we make spanish the official language of the universe. but that seems sort of contrary to the whole purpose of picking a new calendar.

next we should discuss how things in the world would be run. we would set the beginning of each day (.000) to be the time when most people should be waking up. so businesses would be open from like .100 to .400, 6 days a week. those would be normal work hours. there would be 4 day weekends every week. 4 day weekends!? right. people would generally go to sleep between .600 and .700 and sleep until .000 the next day. think how easy it would be to set your alarm! there would be labor laws that dictated that no one is allowed to work more than 20 decidays in a week and no more than .400 per day.

the best thing about this new calendar is that it can be used throughout the universe without aliens getting upset about how it’s based on the earth’s rotation cycle. i guess the only downside that i can see is that it favors base 10 system. i wanted to do base 2, but then the dates get too big too fast. which is fine for computers. and maybe if they make us into computers then it would be way better. but base 2 favors computers, so the non-computer beings would feel discriminated against. there’s no way around this, so we’re doing base 10. base 10 really only favors the hard sciences. so the soft sciences might cry themselves (ourselves) to sleep (around .600) for awhile and then get over it.

some people might complain about how the beginning of each day doesn’t correspond with the lighting outside. they might say that it isn’t good for us biologically or that it isn’t safe to walk to work in the dark. the first point is obviously untrue, so i’ll only address the second point. if we light the world by stadium lights and dim our houses by black shutters then we can effectively control when it’s light outside and when it’s dark inside. so it’ll be easy to sleep (lights out at .700!) and safe to commute to work.

just to put a reference point on our new days, they work out to be roughly 18.53133862 of our current hours long. so you only have to work around 5 1/2 (of our) hours a day and you get to sleep for just under 7 1/2 hours. sounds nice, right?



1. Sra - December 15, 2006

Reading this reminds me of reading Plato. And I have mixed feelings about that fact.

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