Given the direction this world seems to be heading with its desire for simplicity along all avenues, I simply cannot believe we have yet to adopt a metric system of angles and particularly, metric time.
(I realise I have touched on this topic with a past Metric piece but that was more satirical; this is not.)
This week’s Theory therefore pertains to the certain future implementation of both metric angles, and metric time.
A metric angle system just makes sense – 360 degrees in a circle is as illogical as 1760 yards in a mile, 20 ounces in a UK pint, or 12 pence in a shilling then twenty of those in a pound.
There is no valid reason for a complete circle to comprise 360 degrees and in a time where most units of measurement come with a deca, centi, kilo, or milli prefix, it just makes no sense to go from centimetres and kilograms, into a unit that has utterly no reference to 10s, 100s, or 1000s.
Metric time was a notion that came to me a long while ago: I witnessed my young nephew’s futile attempt at deciphering 2 pointers at 12 points around 360 degrees on his little wrist and asked myself, why are we persevering with this?
When I put this query to somebody else they tried to tell me it had to do with the Moon and planets and all that jazz that nobody really understands, so we can’t rightfully change it…
I thought about that; I realised that in fact I did understand planetary time measurement but still, there was no reason that a day needed to be divided into 12 segments – that arrangement smacks of the nonsensical actions of primitive man to me.
…Realistically the only units of time that are not controlled by humans are days – the time it takes the Earth to complete a full rotation on its axis – months – the time it takes the Moon to orbit the Earth – and years – the time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun.
The time Earth takes to spin one full rotation to be measured in 24 units..? What? Then to put 7 of those days in a week..? Why? Four – sorry – approximately four of those week things to make up an entire Moon-cycle..? Are you serious? Then what about 12 of those Moon-cycles in a…
No, wait, that last one has to be. That’s the way it is. Even man’s fastidious meddling can’t change that.
…Turns out our Moon undergoes 12 full cycles in the time it takes our Earth to orbit our Sun, which might just be the inspiration for 12/24 hours in a day, I don’t know. Anyway we call that a year and it has to be as long as it is because Earth has to rotate 365 times within that period.
I get that, that’s fine, the above information checks out. There is still no need – and as far as I can see no inspiration in the worldly clock – to have 60 minutes comprising those hours or 60 seconds within each of those Goddamn minutes – particularly when in the art of time-keeping we like to break up those 12 hours into 60 minutes into 60 seconds then into…
What? Are you serious? Now you go metric..?
…Bloody milliseconds. That’s right: 10s, 100s, and bloody milliseconds. As though metric’s not good enough when time’s big but once it becomes too small for your unwieldy imperial system to handle – like inches having to become thousands of inches – only then do you adopt metric.
So are we still doing a theory, or what?
Yeah, about that, my impassioned ranting, true to form, seems to have inspired a minor digression.
Therefore in conclusion..?
Right, therefore in conclusion, my theory maintains that one day soon people are going to become fed up with this antiquated way of measuring time, oh and angles too, and although one could easily claim the opposite: ‘There’s nothing wrong with the seven day week, the twelve hour day, the sixty minute hour and the sixty second minute – the three hundred and sixty degree circle seems pretty much beyond reproach, too’, just think about it.
That’s exactly what past generations said about the yardstick, the foot, and that infernal bloody inch.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Yeardly Stick
Photography by Farney Engles