Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

The next installment of Cross Paths isn’t finished yet, but it’s coming. We haven’t heard from the Army of the Cross, or seen any of the Monochrome Monks, in quite a while (not since Cross Purposes, as a matter of fact). Part Nine brings them back in all their sadistic “glory”, so give your children a nice big hug and hide them away, somewhere the Monks won’t be able to find them.

Anyway, I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss Time. Not as in Time Travel, but in the more mundane area of counting the hours and minutes in a day. It’s often puzzled me that the world (well, everyone but the United States, LOL) measures everything according to the metric system. Everything but time, that is. I mean, really? Twelve inches to each foot is crazy, but twenty-four hours to each day is perfectly fine? Really? Well, as this is my fictional universe, I can do anything I want with it, even make it make sense (well, sort of — there’s the whole time travel thing and all). You know what the difference is between fiction and reality, right? Reality doesn’t have to make any sense. Now, I know I’ve already posted a general description of Analog Time vs. Metric Time, but I thought I’d expand on the description a little.

Overview

“Analog time” refers to the way hours, minutes, and seconds were displayed and recorded prior to midnight on January 1, 2089. Under “analog time”, each day had 24 hours, each hour 60 minutes, and each minute 60 seconds. Under “metric time” (also called “digital time”), each day has 10 hours, each hour 100 minutes, and each minute 100 seconds. The terms “analog time” and “metric time” are actually misnomers, and date back to references in the news media at the time of the changeover.

Standards

Under Metric Time, the time of day is commonly written as part of the date. For example, twenty minutes past noon on April twenty-first two thousand eighty-nine would be written as “April 21.520, 2089”. Other written date notations are available. The punctuation used in these alternate notations to separate year, month and day, varies, depending on the locale. While it is permitted to eliminate separators entirely (in which case, month and day must appear with two digits, as in “20890421.520”), the United States favors the forward slash (e.g. “2089/4/21.520”), the European Union favors the colon (e.g. “2089:4:21.520”), and both the African Republic and Sino-Japanese Confederation have standardized on the minus (e.g. “2089-4-21.520”). Formatting standards require that, if the time is included with the date (it is optional), it is always shown to at least three decimal places.

And finally, cue the obvious reference to the rock band Chicago in the article’s title, and the equally obvious (and eminently appropriate) response: Sorry, Tom, but nobody really cares.

(sigh)

‘Till next time.

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