10 June 2005

Metric Time


Currently, we define the length of a day as 24 hours and this is divided into units called hours, and this into units called minutes, and this into seconds. 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute. This system of time measurement is known as Standard or Imperial (like the miles, gallons, Fahrenheit, inches, etc. systems in use today).

1 day = 24 hours
1 hour = 60 minutes
1 minute = 60 seconds

1 day = 1440 minutes
1 day = 86,400 seconds

1 hour = 3600 seconds

Though this system is a longstanding tradition for time measuring, it is unneccesarily cumbersome. Most people would have a hard time figuring out how many seconds there are in 9 hours + 47 minutes without a calculator. How about how many hours exist in 48,291 seconds? Time conversions don't need to be so difficult.

To complicate things further, in some parts of the world, we use the AM/PM system to distinguish between the rough times of the 24 hour clock roughly morning and night. So one has to distinguish between 12:34 AM and PM in America (except on military time).

As long as our numeric system is based on 10 digits (0-9 = 10 single digit numbers), we should convert to "metric time". I use this term assuming no one has already staked a claim on some other form of time measurement and named it metric time. Metric Time is surprisingly easy to learn and use. Each day would consist of 10 hours, each hour with 100 minutes, each minute with 100 seconds.

1 day = 10 hours
1 hour = 100 minutes
1 minute = 100 seconds

1 day = 1,000 minutes
1 day = 100,000 seconds

1 hour = 10,000 seconds

Conversions are now made very simple. In the examples used above, 9 hours + 47 minutes (09.47.00) is easily converted to 94,700 seconds. And 48,291 seconds = 4 hours + 82 minutes + 91 seconds (04.82.91).

To understand exactly how long the new hours, minutes, and seconds are in comparison to how we measure time today, just consult the following table:

1 metric hour = 2.4 standard hours
1 metric minute = 1.44 standard minutes (86.4 standard seconds)
1 metric second = 0.864 standard seconds


In the event that our numeric system should somehow be converted to a Binary one (2 digits, 1 and 0), we could adopt a system of "binary time". The length of a binary second is defined as thenumber of seconds in a day divided by 2 to the 16th power.
86,400 (standard seconds) / 65,536 (2 to the 16th power) = 1.318359375
Thus, a binary second is roughly equal to 1.3 seconds. The binary system would have 65,536 seconds in a day, 256 seconds per minute, and 256 minutes per day.

1 day = 256 binary minutes (65,536 binary seconds)
1 binary minute = 256 binary seconds

Binary N power Equivalent Standard Seconds
day N=0 86,400
minute N=8 33.5 (5.625 minutes)
second N=16 1.318359375 (~1.3)
minisec N=32 0.000020125 (~2X10 to the -5 power)

The table above is used for this equation: time in a day/2 to the Nth power. This system may seem complicated (to everyone except mathematicians), but that is only because our point of view is from the decimal system based on 10 digits (0-9). If we were raised from birth on the binary system, this system of time measurement would seem natural, logical, and orderly.