Nov 5, 2007

A Guide To Metric Time Or Decimalized Time


What Is Metric Time?

Metric Time (MT) is an attempt to create a decimalized time system for our modern base-10 using world. This is a neglected part of the Metric System (or SI) which has created a whole measuring system based on 10 for mass, distance, volume, etc., but no official decimalized time units for normal day-to-day use. Since any system for measuring time is arbitrary, we should be using one that is most practical for us. I think that system is Metric Time.

Although I will advocate on these pages a specific Metric Time system, I will also present general information about different decimalized time systems. This is because there is no real consensus yet on what the official Metric Time system for the new millennium should be. My proposal here is subject to change if a differing consensus is reached or anyone can convince me that another way is better.

I am not advocating a decimal time system because I have some axe to grind against base-60. On the contrary, I find different number systems to be useful and fascinating. Besides the practicality of binary and hexadecimal in computer programming, the use of different number systems in different cultures (such as the Babylonians from whom our base-60 time system originated and Mayans who had base-20,) and the difficulty that we as decimal users have in using their systems (most of us can't just start doing addition in base-20 without having to keep track with paper and pencil,) raises all sorts of intriguing questions about how we think about numbers. Would we be able to do math at all if we didn't have a language or written system to aid us? It seems to me that the main problem we have in using other base systems is that those of us who have grown up in a decimal using culture think in decimal. And this brings me to why I am advocating decimal based Metric Time; because we do live in a decimal using society, it's just perverse for us to be using base-60 for telling time.

NOTE: The time system that you are used to (24hr/day) will be referred to here as Anglo-Babylonian Time (ABT). The reason for the Babylonian part was mentioned above. The Anglo is there because the system in its current form has been associated with the British (Greenwich and all that.)

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