Not decimate, but decimalise. We’ve converted from imperial to metric in just about every other way – fiscal, volume, distance, temperature… why not do it to time? When I say time I do refer to the ‘day’. Think about it. We go from midnight to midnight, one revolution of the earth. I know, it is a revolution, circle, which is easily fragmented into 360 degrees, giving us the concept of time, and the way a sundial will split itself up. But we have already moved away from having two sets of 12 hours to one set of 24 hours. So why don’t we go one step further and just split the day into a hundred (or 10 or 1000)? It is a finite space of time we are talking about, there is nothing arbitrary about the day. Okay, we have daylight saving but that is a matter of national convenience, it has nothing to do with the rotation of the earth which still remains constant. Daylight saving does not move midnight, we move the point at which we determine it to be midnight.
My husband thinks it’s terrible idea – think of all the watches and radio alarm clocks that wouldn’t work, all the work that would go into reconfiguring appliances… Uh, didn’t we do all this with the weights and measures act? And all major systems are computer controlled which means they are very easy to reprogramme – look at how easily we coped with Y2K (sorry, I forgot we were all supposed to crash and burn – bad example). But computers have clock chips that can be replaced/reprogrammed. We can run side-by-side over a few years – computers don’t last much above five years anyway before they’re out-of-date.
But, can anyone give me a good reason why we can’t decimalise the day? Don’t give me the Daily Mail or ‘parent’ argument that everyone is used to time being 24 hours, tradition, way of life, loss of imperial…blah, blah, blah. Give me something concrete and scientific, not emotionally obstructive. Let’s be objective.
It was only 40 years ago that the UK went decimal. In the late eighteenth century there was some small attempt to decimalise the day in France but it all went awry and I still cannot pinpoint exactly why but it appears to have been a combination of the church, the volte-face of decimalisation’s main proponent, a lack of scientific study and of course that France was the only country doing it so while the Napoleonic wars were at play; time had to be constantly calculated back to the 12 hour clock.
So, what do you think? I know it will make calculating overtime on a spreadsheet much easier!