Friday, December 12, 2008

It's 4.3170 In The Morning

As I write this it is 4.3170 according to the new decimal clock I have just installed onto my Google Sidebar. I have always been fond of decimal time and I have never understood why there has never been a more active campaign to get it adopted. The idea of dividing each day up into ten decimal hours each of which is made up of 100 decimal minutes subdivided into 100 decimal seconds is one of the finest ideas to come out of the French Revolution. Why we were so keen to adopt - long after the revolutionary ardour had faded - the ideas for decimal measurements, paper banknotes and all the rest, but leave the idea of decimal time in the coal cellar of history is beyond me. Decimal time is easier to understand, much simpler to calculate and much less confusing (there are no silly AM's and PM's on the decimal clock). It has the advantage that time seems to go at a more leisurely rate and its adoption would almost immediately lead to a slowing in the frenetic pace of modern life. As each decimal minute equates to about 1.5 old style minutes, tea breaks become longer, as does Chopin's Minute Waltz. 
My attempts to construct a decimal clock twenty or thirty years ago got nowhere because of my lack of technical skills (and I am the grandson of a clock-repairer so I should be ashamed of myself). However, now you can download decimal clocks onto your computer display and share the beauties of this most logical system of timekeeping. If you have a Google Sidebar you can attach a decimal clock to it, if you haven't you can view one by visiting the decimal time website
Back in the far distant days of licensing hours, I always used to say that the biggest advantage of decimal time was that it never got passed 10-o-clock and therefore it was never closing time. The Government has removed this advantage by allowing pubs to stay open as long as they want. But decimal time has still got its advantages. It is now 4.4172. It has taken precisely 10.02 decimal minutes to write this posting.


  1. Anonymous2:57 PM

    Read with interest your longer teabreak theory Re metric time.What a good idea to give the workers back a little bit for their labours a few more nano seconds to enjoy their repaste .
    However,on closer inspection discovered that this virtious system is based on a 10 day week!!IE> work eight rest two.
    So,the deduction is.You are the CEO of a multinational (trying to screw the workers a bit more),or someone who has all the time in the world and is not affected however time is formulated.Based on the topics of previous input the latter would seem most likely

  2. The trouble with reconstructing any system of measurement, is that it takes no account of history, language or culture. That's why decimalisation was always a non starter. No one's going to start measuring their walk to the nearest shop in kilometres or talk about a two-metre tall man. Some stupid history books try and convert old money into 'modern' values, forgetting that equating a guinea to £1.05 was only relevant in February 1971. The duodecimal system, as my husband points out, was much more useful as 12 has more factors than 10, and with the advent of calculators, the old argument of the difficulty of working in pounds shillings and pence no longer holds. Bring them back!


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