[LMB] OT: Timeline Issues

Howard Brazee howard at brazee.net
Mon Jul 6 15:38:58 BST 2009

paal at gis.net wrote:
> ----- Original Message Follows -----
>> On Jul 6, 2009, at 1:53 AM, Francis Turner wrote:
>>> I think a planet that retains a level of technology would keep the
>>> second and probably the 60 second minute / 3600 second hour because
>>> too much engineering uses those measurements of time.
>> You're thinking of today's engineering.   Things change over  
>> centuries.    But what engineering cares about hours?
> Power companies and watt-hours and energy consumpion and power needs per
> hour
> Vehicle engineering and distance per hour
> Spacecraft command and control and telemetry, with scheduled operations
> using the Julian date time including hours
> Etc.

Those are easy changes that don't impact engineering more than 
English/metric conversions do.    With computers calculating things, 
such changes can be invisible.    If people on other planets use 
different length hours to match their different length days, engineering 
won't suffer.

> Different metrics exist because they are or were pertinent to particular
> distances --one uses Angstroms, not lightyears, for atomic scale
> distance measurements.  One uses centimeter and inches, not meters and
> miles, for screws threads, hems in clothing, and such.  One uses hours
> for specifying the time of the day.... 

And the parsec is only useful for astronomers on Earth.   Automation 
makes such useful ways of measuring much less useful, as computers do 
all the conversion.   But the installed base of parsec users is tiny and 
can change easily.

Remember, we're talking future, not past.
> And once a metric gets "installed base," as with almost anything else,
> it tends to -persist-, as with ancient world cartweels determining
> contemporary railroad tracks.... 
So which metric gets copied - 60 minute hours, or 24 hour days or 
neither?    In a planet that has different length of days as ours, the 
desires of the "installed base" will change.   It's the people who 
dislike the concept of zulu, saying "I can't imagine getting up at 
17:00" who don't want to consider change - until they learn that the 
game is on EspnDaylightTime.

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