And Renter Riots
Another point about the Western calendar I find interesting. There is no year zero. This is because the concept of zero was not widely understood in Europe in the sixth century. I also remember reading that there were renter riots when the ten days were dropped. I would like to see world wide metric time. Unfortunately, this would involve nudging Earth into a different orbit to make its trip around the sun some power of ten greater than its rotation. Think we could get a world referendum on that one?
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Anno Domini? eml8701
Date: October 24, 2001 3:43 PM
When I was (briefly) hanging with Gabriel Wisdom, and he was doing his radio show with Timothy Leary, I found him a guest who had managed to come up with a metric calendar. Not a one of us could make sense of this thing.
Metrics is the classic example of theory trying to be forced into reality, and the English (now American) measuring systems, as well as our system for measuring time, are classic examples of human ingenuity making do with what we've got and learning to overcome the little glitches. I can work in feet and inches and miles and pounds and ounces and pints and quarts just fine. You don't need to be able to convert miles to feet, and a pint is pound (when it's filled with Guinness). I still haven't seen any road signs in America that deal in kilometers, and the roads in Baja still use both conventions.
In radio, we learned how to glance at an analogue clock and be able to just "tell" how much time we had left to do anything -- and you can do this in reference to anywhere on the dial if you want: it doesn't need to be referenced to zero or 12 or top-dead-center to work. A little practice and your brain just picks up on it like riding a bike or throwing a ball. This method is purely visual and involves no calculations at all: you're just used to visualizing lengths of time by slices of the pie.
I have no clue how people would do this with a digital clock (I don't think you can, actually; if you can, learning it can't be very easy). Maybe I'm out of date, but I still have yet to see a radio or television studio that doesn't feature a large, easy-to-read, wall-socket electric, sweep-second (rather than tick-tick-tick) analogue clock. When one station where I was at did get a digital clock get-up, they also got an analogue clock. Unfortunately, it had the tick-tick-tick second hand. Not a few days later, up went a smaller electric one, with the sweep second hand, that someone had bought with their own money. The big one was set automatically to the atomic clock every hour or so, but we always just "adjusted" the other one in our heads and "knew" when our gig was up, as it were.
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