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Hey, let's Decimalize the Calendar!

01/19/2007 12:26 PM

There have been many comments on CR4 about how the US lags behind the rest of the world in changing to the metric system, a system of decimal units, but no one is considering how old and archaic the worldwide calendar is, and how confusing it is to people who have to schedule work, projects, etc. I mean, really, 7 days in a week, 4 weeks in a month (except that is only 28 days and only one month has only 28 days!), 12 months in a year! Even if you do away with months, we still have 52 weeks, with an extra day or two every year! Why it's as bad as the old English coin/currency system! (Pence, shillings, farthings, crowns, pounds)

Well, as long as we want to measure everything in decimal units, why not change the calendar? I mean, come on, Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory have been dead for hundreds and hundreds of years. They really won't care.

We already have some decimalization, decades, centuries, millennia. Isn't it about time (no pun intended) we decimalized the year? I mean, what is so sacred about a seven-day week? (Oh, yeah, creation and all that...)

Realistically, and astronomically, we need to keep the 365 (and 1/4 or so) days per year, since our circadian rhythm cycles are based on day/night cycles and the orbit of the earth dictates the seasons, but why do we need Months, at least the ones we have now? They are never the same number, you can't get a whole number of weeks in any of them except February, and the lunar cycle does not even match up!

How about 36, 10-day weeks. Work/school for 7 days, then off 3 (3-day weekends!). This gives a work-time "duty cycle" of 70%, as compared to the old 5 out of 7 for 71.4%. Of course that leaves an extra 5 days, which would become international holidays, and be placed at the end of the year, giving everyone the time off they usually take between Christmas and New Year's anyway. This would become known as "Halfweek" and would be a time of international peace and goodwill, since it falls on or near major holidays. Traditionalists will still mark holidays by the old calendar, so December 25 would be the second day of the last 3-day weekend before Halfweek. Everyone would be happy they don't have to work, except of course those who work in vital services like hospitals, airlines, hotels, and Wal-Mart. Every 4 years "Halfweek" would get an extra day, just like in Leap Year now.

Months, if your really must use them, would now be EXACTLY 30 days, that is 3, 10-day weeks, so there would be no more need to memorize "Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November....." However I would prefer just to use the calendar week number, as many do in planning projects.

When I was a Project Engineer for a machine tool company, we used the Master Schedule from our German plant for co-ordinating the machine design and build schedule with our customer. The Gantt Chart had the weeks labeled as "KW 1, KW2, KW3" etc. starting with the first week of the project. The customer asked us what KW meant. My boss decided to tell them it was "Key Week", because of how important it was. Later we found out that it was "Kalendar Woche", or Calendar Week in German!

I think this whole thing makes more sense than the Metric System setting a length of measure as 1/40,000,000 of the polar circumference of the Earth, then finding out that is not even accurate, but by then it was too late to change and the standard became an arbitrary distance between two scratches on a metal bar!

Oh, I see, in checking my figures in the Wikipedia for the measure of the meter that my proposal is very similar to the French Republican Calendar used in France between 1795 and 1802.

Well, maybe it did not catch on in the rest of the world back then, but a good idea is worth trying more than once, isn't it?

The French even went so far as to decimalize the day, hours, minutes, and seconds, but I think that would cause for more problems than it would cure. Daily timing is critical and there is a lot that depends on our clocks being accurate and relatively synchronized, especially now that clocks and watches can be updated by the atomic clock broadcasts several times a day to correct even a second of inaccuracy.

The calendar is relatively simple. People throw them out every year anyway! It would be simple to pick a year and just start fresh! We don't even need to change the names of the months! We would however need names for three more days in each week. Let's assume we start the work week with Monday as usual. Then the same five days would follow, T,W,Th, F, Saturday, all work days. The last workday could be Oneday (as in One day to go before the weekend!), then the weekend could be, Freeday (day to do whatever you wanted, shopping, adult education, community service, charitable work, hobbies, etc.), Funday (for relaxation, sports, family outings), and finally Sunday as a day of prayer, family socializing, or meditation for the Christian majorities in many countries, including the US, Latin America, Europe, and Commonwealth nations. Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, and other non-Christian nations would have to decided if they wanted to us Sunday or another week-end day as their religious observance day. Of course, with fewer Sundays in a year, the services would have to be longer to make up for the lost time!

Think this could work? Any other suggestions?

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#1

Re: Hey, let's Decimalize the Calendar!

01/20/2007 11:31 AM

Ummmmm No it wouldn't....

John.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Hey, let's Decimalize the Calendar!

01/22/2007 9:06 AM

That's not an argument, that's just contradiction!

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Hey, let's Decimalize the Calendar!

01/22/2007 10:27 AM

STL I beg to differ....

Its a statement!!

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Hey, let's Decimalize the Calendar!

01/22/2007 10:35 AM

You know, I put a whole lot of work into this, and all I get from you guys is one-liners!

Geesh!

Masu, tell me WHY it wouldn't work!

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Hey, let's Decimalize the Calendar!

01/22/2007 10:38 AM

Masu...????????????

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#2

Re: Hey, let's Decimalize the Calendar!

01/20/2007 1:47 PM

What you are proposing doesn't seem to be truly a "metric" system since you are using units that do not divide equally by a factor of ten.

You would probably do better using an offshoot of time the system used in the "Battlestar Galactica" series. I don't remember the naming conventions exactly but it goes something like this:

1 Yarn, the time it takes for the earth to travel one cycle around the sun (equivalent to a year) is equal to 100 (Hmmm, I forget what they call it so we'll just call it a "Ton")

1 Ton is equal to one complete rotation of the earth (equivalent to a day).

Dividing the Yarn by a factor of ten will yield 10 Decatons (equivalent months/year)

This would give us 10 Tons in a Decaton (equivalent to days/month)

Then you divide a Ton by a factor of 10 to yield 10 Centars to a Ton (equivalent to hours/day)

Now you divide a Centar by 100 to to get a Centon (equivalent to 1 Minute/Hour)

Then by dividing a Centon by 1000 you get a Millicenton (equivalent to 1 second/minute)

And so on-----

Anyway, the naming conventions may not be accurate but you get the idea.....See any possible problems here?

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Hey, let's Decimalize the Calendar!

01/22/2007 9:56 AM

YES!

"1 Yarn, the time it takes for the earth to travel one cycle around the sun"

The crew of Battlestar Galactica had never been to Earth. They were trying to find it. How would they know the time it takes for the Earth to travel one cycle around the Sun?

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: Hey, let's Decimalize the Calendar!

01/22/2007 9:42 PM

True enough, but I've never been to Caprica either. I was just using a more familiar analogy for us poor earthlings.

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#8
In reply to #2

Re: Hey, let's Decimalize the Calendar!

01/22/2007 11:03 AM

Rega,

I thought about the whole time decimalization, but there are very good reasons to keep the Day as a unit of time, leaving the problem of how to fit (approximately) 365.242 mean solar days into the mean solar (or vernal equinox) year. As the current calendar had worked this out fairly well with Leap Years, it was a no brainer to keep this.

I found this bit from the Wikipedia to be very interesting:

"The number of mean solar days in a vernal equinox year has been oscillating between 365.2424 and 365.2423 for several millennia and will likely remain near 365.2424 for a few more. This long-term stability is pure chance, because in our era the slowdown of the rotation, the acceleration of the mean orbital motion, and the effect at the vernal equinox of rotation and shape changes in the Earth's orbit, happen to almost cancel out."

You really don't want to mess with people's sleep cycles. Most people on a regular daily schedule want to wake at the same time each day and many other body rhythms are also based on a daily cycle. The solar year, or vernal equinox year, is importatn also, because this is the cycle of our seasons and is very important for food production and weather preparedness.

Now, you may want to subdivide the Day decimally, no reason not to, except you would have to throw out almost every time piece in the world, but I still believe that the best way to Decimalize the Calendar is the 10-day week, for the reasons which I have already stated.

Now tell me why, logically, it could not be made to work.

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