I was hanging out with a buddy of mine recently. We were getting lunch and ended up talking about everything: God, college, food, American culture, you name it.
We eventually got to talking about how we wished we were on the metric system. It makes everything so much easier! It would be sweet to be able to use easier math instead of using meters, grams, and liters. With the U.S. custom system there are weird measurements like:
5,280 feet = 1760 yards = 880 fathoms = 1 mile
7000 grains = 256 drams = 16 oz = 1 lb
231 cubic inches = 8 pints= 4 quarts = 1 gallon.
As we were talking excitedly about this, he eventually threw off the conversation by saying “We should be on Metric TIME too!” At this point I responded with confusion and he started explaining the intricacies of Metric Time. “Uhh…..what?” was my response for most of the conversation.
While the timekeeping method is standard throughout the world (as far as I know), metric time is a proposed revamping of our system of time units. I thought he was just making up to mess with me. But NO! There’s actually a system of Metric Time.
. Standard Metric
Seconds/minute 60 100
Minutes/hour 60 100
Hours/day 24 10
Now if this were going to be adopted, there would be 100,000 Metric seconds in one day (instead of 86,400 standard/ephemeris seconds), so the Metric second would be a little bit shorter (1 metric second = 0.864 standard seconds).
Also, the metric prefix multiples (hecto-, kilo-, mega-, giga-, etc) can be used to give the base units new meaning. So a kilosecond (1000 metric second) would equal 10 minutes. A kilominute would be 1 day and a megaminute would be 1000 days (about 2.7 years). So instead of saying “a fortnight (14 days)” we might say a megasecond (10 days).
The history of Metric time (also called Decimal Time) is pretty interesting, as it has been implemented in the past in both China and France at different times…
In China, both decimal and duodecimal time (meaning, two 10-hour halves of each day) were used, and a dual 12-hour day started being used around 1000 BC, alongside Ke. Ke is 1/100th of a day (14.4 minutes) and is still used today, but since the early 20th century there are 96 Ke to better accommodate the use of the Western dual 12-hour day)
France adopted Decimal Time during the French Revolution (with limited success). So if you happened to be in France from about 1793 to 1805 or so, 5 o’clock would be our noon, and 10 o’clock (or really, 0 o’clock) would be midnight. It eventually died out as it did not catch on. I bet it was pretty sweet though.
Other proposed decimal-based equivalents:
- 0.500 fractional day
- 5h 0m French decimal time
- @500 Swatch Internet Time
- 50.0 centidays
- 500 millidays
- 50.0% Percent Time
- 12:00 Standard Time
The next post will be up within a couple kilominutes.