Thoughts and time & the metric system

February has got to be one of the more ridiculous months of the year. There’s not really much worthwhile going on in February, when you think about it. A friend of mine was looking through an “important events” calendar for February and the Daytona 500 was listed. Apparently there’s not even enough going on in February to merit as many days as the other months; but occasionally we get this leap year thing. Why does this random day occur once every four years? Is it so we can take an extra day to seriously consider the ramifications of our presidential vote? Perhaps so Olympic athletes can get that bit of extra training they need? Or perhaps it’s just to give people a chance to rest their brains so they don’t keep getting Groundhog Day confused with Easter and think Jesus is going to rise from the dead, and if he sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter.

Somehow, I doubt it. The fact of the matter is, leap year is a corrective measure. The way we keep track of time now is such that we have a quarter day or so left over at the end of each year, and we just round down for three years and then round up every fourth year. Doesn’t this seem a bit slapdash to you? The atomic clock is going to be precise to a fraction of a second but we’re going to round off to the nearest day? I say thee nay! Our current system of time is woefully inadequate, and it’s about time for someone to come along with a way to fix it. I am that someone. Allow me to present the trend for the new millenium: Metric Time.

What is metric time, you ask? Well, consider the metric system as a whole in comparison to our system. Length: We have 12 inches to the foot, three feet to the yard, 1734 yards to the suburban neighborhood. Metric system: meter, centimeter, kilometer. All tens. Fluid measurements. We have quarts, pints, galleons, cups, glasses, and nobody remembers how many of one makes the other. Metric system: milliliter, liter. All tens.

Weight: We have 16 ounces to the pound, 314 pounds to the Limbaugh, etc. Metric system: milligrams, grams and kilograms. All tens. See a pattern?

Well, let’s improve our time system then. We have 60, 60, 24, seven and 52. These numbers are downright hostile. And if you go from weeks to months instead of years, you really get hurt. So let’s get rid of this outmoded concept of “day” and replace it with something based on 10. Call the base a “chron” (in honor of Chronos, god of time), which would be approximately equivalent to slightly more than eight of your “hours.”

We can eliminate the need for leap year, as days and years will become replaced by the much more efficient chron.

Just consider all the advantages of living by the chron. We use a decimal counting system anyway, so life will be made easier. We can much more easily tell time on our fingers. Kids won’t have to waste all of third grade learning to tell time; it’ll just be natural. Your birthchron would be a string of digits in decimal form. You sleep for a chron; you are awake for two chrons. Go for lunch, it’ll only take a decichron. And of course, every

chron-ic sequence would be precise, thus eliminating the need for such absurdities as “Leap Year.”

By now some of you are probably objecting that if America hasn’t even accepted the metric systems that currently exist, they probably wouldn’t accept metric time. Well, maybe it’s about time we accepted the metric system as a whole, seeing as our current time counting methods produced Y2K. Pounds should not be abbreviated with lbs.; that’s just silly, it looks like lobs. Metric measurements will facilitate international trade. And we fought the Revolutionary War to escape from beneath the oppressive foot of the British crown. So why do we still measure length by the oppressive foot of the British crown?

Once metric time is in place, the old system will go the way of the dinosaur and punch-card computers. People who insist on using the archaic non-metric system will become marginalized as lunatics just like people who speak Esperanto. Let Williams lead the charge to convert us all to the metric system! Strike up our school fight song, “Meter by Meter,” and if we are victorious we shall have the thanks of the world for kilochrons to come.

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