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The Great Debate over Dating Systems


Atellus
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For lack of a better suited forum (and not wishing to couch this discussion in religious terms only) I posted this here instead.

 

I have just read this very interesting discussion about dating systems.

http://studentsfriend.com/feed/topic11.html

 

For myself, if we are to abandon the traditional designations of Before Christ and Anno Domini, then I would favour the use of the same letters (BC and AD) to mean Before Commong Dating and After Common Dating, perhaps going so far as to use BCD and ACD. Failing that, the use of + and - dates seems overall to be a simple and elegant solution, but perhaps only as a form of shorthand.

 

What's your take?

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What's your take?

I once tried to make a conceptual dating system, for my own use. It was essentially build around different periods in human history.

 

Dates from before the first true hominids was treted like BC, in the way that the numbers were negative. I called it BH, Before Humanity. It was originally going to be Before Man but I changed it because there is another, more crude meaning for BM.

 

Then all of the time afterwards was called HE, for Human Era. The H.E. was then divided into three sub-periods.

CE for civilized era, which started approximately the time of the fist cities,

ME for Machine era, starting the generally agreed on date for the industrial revolution.

According to this we would be living during ME.

I never showed this to anyone because of a few denotative problems with the system. As you probably realized there was probably civilization in some form or another before the first cities were build. Also there were machines before the industrial revolution.

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As you probably realized there was probably civilization in some form or another before the first cities were build. Also there were machines before the industrial revolution.

 

Indeed. Interesting idea though, to dilineate time by human development.

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Indeed. Interesting idea though, to dilineate time by human development.

In a sense that's what BC and AD do now, if only for the fact that using that particular dating system is a major development for the past few thousand years. Besides, dividing our history into too many segments would just be confusing. And we always have problems with what constitutes development. Does the western world have to be changing to consitute a new time period or the eastern world? Cause they didn't always go through developmental periods together.

 

 

heck why bother beating around the bush and just call it BC and AD, we all know that thats what the dates are really supposed to mean anyway

Agreed.

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Define "unix timestamps" please.:confused:
Unix time (properly, POSIX time) is the numerical representation of time invented for use with the Unix operating system but used with many other systems. If we stopped bothering with this whole buisness of twisting our lives around the arbitary frames of day and night then Klaynos might have a point.
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twisting our lives around the arbitary frames of day and night then Klaynos might have a point.

Any time system used by humans in general should be based around night and day. They are the principle basis of our cycadian rythm, and day to day lifestyles.

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But night and day compose our basic perseptions of reality.
Doesn't mine, how can something so inconsistent form one of the axonims for your worldview? Go onto like, any IRC channel and try to form an agreement as to when day and night is, see? It just doesn't work!
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Doesn't mine, how can something so inconsistent form one of the axonims for your worldview? Go onto like, any IRC channel and try to form an agreement as to when day and night is, see? It just doesn't work!

Worldveiw?

How is that relivant? At any given moment I only need to know my local time, whats going on in China is irrelivant.

It is generaly agreed that humans tend to function better during the day because of partly overcomable cyrcadian rythms (nightshifts) and because the availability of light is greater. So our perception of time is based on when we are active (usualy during the day) and when we sleep (usualy at night)

It isn't that complicated to adjust your watch while traviling, or to try to call someone in another country at a time appropriate for them, so why would we ever need to use one planet wide constant for time?

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Unix time (properly, POSIX time) is the numerical representation of time invented for use with the Unix operating system but used with many other systems. If we stopped bothering with this whole buisness of twisting our lives around the arbitary frames of day and night then Klaynos might have a point.

 

 

Just to add to that, time 0 is jan 1st at 00:00:00 in 1970 GMT

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POSIX_time for more....

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It isn't that complicated to adjust your watch while traviling, or to try to call someone in another country at a time appropriate for them, so why would we ever need to use one planet wide constant for time?
It's not that complicated, but hey, we're human. We revel in spending all types of resources on things that make our lives so easy that it can practically kill us.

 

Since the invention of the electric lightbulb and of those-things-that-people-where-over-thier-eyes-on-long-distance-flights it has been plenty possible for us to chose exactly what light is avaliable. Shifting our body clocks to fit this would be no worse than ordinary jet-lag, and we'd only ever have to do it once.

 

It would also mean that we wouldn't be pissing about with daylight saving times and all that rubbish.

 

Also remember the awesome chain (like the food chain, but awesome).

 

[math]Awesomeness \to Unix \to POSIX time[/math]

 

I don't think I need any further arguments.

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Since the invention of the electric lightbulb and of those-things-that-people-where-over-thier-eyes-on-long-distance-flights it has been plenty possible for us to chose exactly what light is avaliable.

 

So your suggesting that all human perceptions of time be dependant on a system that works electronically and that we can function by artifically controlling our light.

What about a power outage?

In my mind this means you are for a heavy dependance on modern technology. Where as my ideal is that civilisation at large uses technology, but is capable of functioning without it.

Personally I am against that for various reasnons. For one, I want to be as different from the creature in my avatar as possible.

 

Also most scientific systems of measurement are built around natural phenomino, such as milliter of water is = one gram of water. And C tepeature readings go from 0 = Freezing water to 100 = boiling water. It only makes sense to use natural cycles for timing,

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So your suggesting that all human perceptions of time be dependant on a system that works electronically and that we can function by artifically controlling our light.

What about a power outage?

Well I wouldn't mind' date=' I was merely making a suggestion for those that have something against candlelight and/or just making do with the dark, there are plenty of things that can still get done in the dark y'know.
For one, I want to be as different from the creature in my avatar as possible.
To quote the offending speciesv themselves, "Daleks have no concept of elegance!" so surely they would be the ones using the duodecimal system rather than the beautiful simplicity of POSIX time.
Also most scientific systems of measurement are built around natural phenomino...
Naturalistic fallacy.
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To quote the offending speciesv themselves' date=' "Daleks have no concept of elegance!" so surely they would be the ones using the duodecimal system rather than the beautiful simplicity of POSIX time.

[/quote']

I was refurring to the Dalek dependance on technology, such as computers. A timekeeping system based on an electronic computer is subject to all the limitations of a clock and a computer. So it would be renderd ineffective by black out, EMP, computer viruses, and hackers. It would also follow the typical pattern of a clock which is to gain or lose seconds over time.

Naturalistic fallacy.

Definition of fallacy:

A fallacy is a component of an argument that is demonstrably flawed in its logic or form,

I see no flaw with my logic. My assertion is that basing a timing system for a human lifestyle on a daily phenominon makes sense because Humans are animals that base there lifstyle of their cycadian rythm. This rythm is a daily cycle that is influenced by night/day, we are not machines, nor do I think we should strive to become machines

A day night cycle that we would otherwise follow naturaly is likely to be most compatable with our biology, and psycology.

 

I'm sure that your timing system can easily be used when working in conjunction with computers. However large portions of the earths population are computer illiterate. Such as people living in third world countries and my grandmother. The old system would prove by far the superior to them whose live don't revolve around machines.

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I was refurring to the Dalek dependance on technology, such as computers. A timekeeping system based on an electronic computer is subject to all the limitations of a clock and[/b'] a computer.
No it's not, just of the timekeeper.
So it would be renderd ineffective by black out, EMP, computer viruses, and hackers.
One of my clocks (the one that makes the tea and switches on the radio) already is electronic, thus computerised but niether does it nor is capable of any network access so I severly doubt that unless a whatever-the-mains-supply-equilivant-to-a-phreaker-is decides to attack my home, the first two would be an issue and as for EMP well, o.k. most of my clocks would be pretty screwed in that event but that wouldn't have anything to do with the time system they were employing.
It would also follow the typical pattern of a clock which is to gain or lose seconds over time.
Of course, but why is this an issue?
I see no flaw with my logic...
The naturallistic fallacy (seriously, look up the whole term, not just the individual words) is the assertion that the way things are is the way things should be, drawing parallels with other systems is commiting said fallacy.
we are not machines, nor do I think we should strive to become machines
Machines merely do what there owners ask of them, the human mind is capable of a lot more. Sticking to some arbitarly designed system, just-because, is about as machine like as you can get.
A day night cycle that we would otherwise follow naturaly is likely to be most compatable with our biology, and psycology.
That's no reason why we shouldn't use the same cycle in a nature that would be compatable with our culture as well.
I'm sure that your timing system can easily be used when working in conjunction with computers.
It does get used with computers, lots of computers.
However large portions of the earths population are computer illiterate. Such as people living in third world countries and my grandmother.
You hardly need a computer to manage a number, if you did then by the same logic I could say that all mathematical ideas devised with the assistance of an abacus is not worth using because so few people now can use abaci.
The old system would prove by far the superior to those[/u'] whose lives don't revolve around machines.
But why? It's more complicated. It makes it harder to work out simple differences (at least for a child who hasn't had much practice). And it's own units don't even fit into each other!
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You have been using yourself alot as an example, so I'll use myself

 

I would never use the Unix system in my daily life for one reason. It is unfamiliar.

I don't think in terms of unix, ever since I was a child it has always been 5 o'clock, 4 thirty, two hours, eight minutes.

The current system is already well established, people understand it, trying to change it in daily life would be extreamly difficult because it is alien to massive numbers of people who don't work directly with computers.

 

Your system has some advantages, but I don't program computers, I don't telecomunicate with people from asia, and I don't find it difficult to change my clocks by an hour every once and a while.

 

 

So I guess I'm conceeding to you, your system is superior in many ways,

 

but how would Big Ben look with a Unix face instead of a regular one?

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People worried about decimalising the British currency and switching to metric mesurements, but they got over it in pretty much one generation. Sure it's unfamiliar but why should that be a problem? We live in a world were people can learn new stuff, so why shouldn't we?

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People worried about decimalising the British currency and switching to metric mesurements, but they got over it in pretty much one generation. Sure it's unfamiliar but why should that be a problem? We live in a world were people can learn new stuff, so why shouldn't we?

I live in the USA.

Recall that when we tried to switch to the metric system it didn't work out so well.

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Hey, I always thought that time should be decimalised, I just can’t work in hours, minutes and seconds, I just never got the hang of it.

 

I can’t see why we should not have 10 ‘Dhours’ in a day, 100 ‘Dminutes’ in a ‘Dhour’ 100 ‘Dseconds’ in a ‘Dminute’.

 

This decimalisation could be extended to the rest of the calendar - 5 days in a ‘demiDweek’ and 10 ‘Dmonths’ in a year. There could be 35 days (7 ‘dDweeks’) in each the 10 Dmonths with an extra 3 ‘Dweeks’ (15days) making up a special part month for the ‘Dholidays’ at the end of the year.

Also, the last day of the year should be the longest day in the N hemisphere.

And noon on the longest day calculated at the meridian at which the Sun is directly above at the time of the Earths axis being tilted to its maximum on that day. Synchronise your watches everyone :D

OK so there are still only approximately 365 days in a year and corrections would need to be made to keep in sync with the average of the earths spin and orbit, but it’s that simple really ;)

 

As for the BC AD system – Pick a year, any one will do (I would prefer a specific celestial alignment to signify this, as most of the rest of our date and time system is based on this type of thing), call that year 0 (not 1, Duh) and start from there, before that is – after that is +.

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That's because we are too stubborn and lazy to adopt a better system.

GOD bless America!

 

From what I've heard it was more a matter of conversions. People never just used the metric measurments. They were always trying to convert the metric to the standard.

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