# Wednesday, July 14, 2004

James Avery points out a site about "Metric Time", which describes (in great detail) a way of defining a rational, base 10 time system.  What a great idea!  As I've watched my son (who just turned 9) learning math, I can see how confusing it is that all our math is done in base 10 units, with the exception of time keeping, in which we still rely on Babylonian base 60 math.  It's a hard system to keep in your head if you are used to decimal math.  Of course, it would be nice if we backwards Americans just got over the fact that we need to manufacture incompatible car parts and adopt the metric system for everything else.  It's such a strange way we deal with the metric system here.  I grew up knowing about the metric system, understanding how to convert standard to metric, etc.  And yet I don't have that intuitive "gut" feeling about the metric system.  It's like a second language.  I know there are 1.6 kilometers in a mile, but I don't have that intuitive sense of how far a kilometer is in space.  I can conceptualize how far a mile is, or how much something weighs in pounds, and understand rationally how to convert to metric, but I didn't learn it early enough or it's not common enough for it to be intuitive. 

Which is too bad, since as everyone agrees the metric system makes way more sense. 

Unfortunately, I think most people would suffer the same problem with switching to metric time.  People have an intuitive sense of how long an hour is, but it would take some time to get an intuitive feeling for the deciday.  I'm surprised that with all the other geek watches there are out there that none of them tell metric time.  Maybe it's a product opportunity waiting to happen.  I'd buy one.

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