Decimalise the day

Shepherd gate clock at the Royal Observatory, ...

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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  We can run side-by-side over a few years – computers don’t last much above five years anyway before they’re out-of-date.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!

About Bea Turvey apprentice author and witch

I am a wild-haired author who cannot stop writing. The writing process is not a task for me. It is an extension of myself. When I write, I lose myself as easily as if I slipped into the story for a swim. Writing became a serious part of my life in Decmber of 2009. Unless you're reading this in 2017 it wasn't that long ago, and the bug hit me hard and fast. My first novel, Banished, was published in March 2010 and is available at If you read it, or anything else I've written, I hope you'll post a review and let me know why you liked it - or even why not!
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2 Responses to Decimalise the day

  1. Linda T says:

    I use a spreadsheet to calculate hours now! If you work an extra 15 minutes it is 0.25 of an hour! It works just fine for me! You are not allowed to work an extra 8 minutes though!

    • LOL. I have time start, time finish which calculates overtime, but the total at the bottom regularly switches to 0 because it has gone over 24 hours! So, I end up having to convert overtime to decimal and then totalling that. Unfortunatley I regularly have to explain why 1.5 hours is NOT 1 hour 50 minutes! So are you in or out?

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