Tag Archives: year

A year of bookends #photo

So. What do I have to show for 2014?

A refurbished house

A brief whip around the Whitsundays (fodder for the latest book – still in progress)

What are you doing in our house?

What are you doing in our house?

The possums and the lorikeets are in dispute about ownership of the big nest box in the palm tree. On the basis of ‘needs must’ one of the other nest boxes is now called home.

 

 

 

 

One-eye and his mate

One-eye and his mate

One of the pairs of lorikeets setting up house includes the little guy with only one eye. He’s been around since the event that cost him his eye. He recuperated here because it’s safe and the food is easily available. Hopefully this pair will raise a chick.

 

 

Note the broken beak

Note the broken beak

We have a resident white ibis with a handicap – a 5mm section has broken off his lower beak, making it hard for him to compete for food with others of his kind.

 

 

 

1 book (Kuralon Rescue) and 1 Novella (A Matter of Trust)

And, of course, a bunch of pictures.

To say goodbye to 2014, here’s a month-by-month gallery of photos. They were all taken either at sunrise or sunset. That’s why they’re a year of bookends. Enjoy.  Oh, by the way, they’re all copyright.

2014 01 copy2014 02 copy2014 03 copyStart of an Autumn day2014 05 copy2014 06 copy2014 07 copy2014 08 copy2014 09 copy2014 10 copy2014 11 copy2014 12 copy

Time to call it a day?

Time. A clock on a wall, a calendar, numbers on the top (or bottom) of your computer screen, ticking off the days of our lives. (Gee, that’d be a good title for a show or something, wouldn’t it?)

This morning on Facebook I read a couple of discussions about time keeping. One was about the decimal system, how everybody but the US seems to have taken up metric measurement. Which seems especially odd since they use the decimal system for their money. Somebody, in a fit of flippancy, remarked we could have a ten hour day, with one hundred minutes etc etc and then said, yes but that wouldn’t fit in with year. Which it wouldn’t if a minute was the same in duration as a minute is now.

The second discussion was about the pagan origins of the names of the days of the week, which I’m sure everybody knows are based on Norse God’s names, plus a day each for the sun and the moon. That can be extrapolated into the pagan origins of the names of the months of the year. Although quite a few really are based on month number.

At the end of the day, we can’t go past the three overriding fundamentals of time measurement. On this planet, anyway.

  • The time it takes for the planet to revolve on its axis (day)
  • The time it takes for the Moon to orbit the Earth (month)
  • The time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun (year)

And we need to reconcile them. In earlier times, these cycles were extraordinarily significant for survival, since they dictated the amount of sunlight (daylight hours and the seasons) and tides. It’s how the ancients decided when to plant, when to harvest and when to celebrate, finally, the lengthening of the days and the passing of winter.

It’s hardly surprising that the Babylonian calendars were lunar based, that is, 28 days. Our 7 day week is one quarter of a month. Our ancestors probably came up with a duodecimal (base 12) system because 12 is so easily divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12. Thus 12 months, a 24 hour day, made up of 60 minutes, made up of 60 seconds. This is fine at a micro level, but it doesn’t fit the length of the year, so the length of months had to be juggled so that the end result was 365 days. In fact, the lengths of months were juggled to fir the needs of the solstices and equinoxes. And later, every four years we add a day because the orbit actually takes 365 ¼ days.

All in all, it’s an arithmetic nightmare. Trust me on this. I used to be a computer programmer and date mathematics was awful. The only way to calculate date (a) minus date (b) is to convert the dates to the day (number) in the year. Thus 28 February is the 59th day of the year.

A decimal time system would seem to be eminently sensible. The French tried it, back in 1793, without success and that experiment is discussed on io9. In this case, tradition had the weight of inertia behind it, and the French reverted to the old hours in 1795 and scrapped the revolutionary experiment in 1806. Frankly, I’m not surprised. This decimal time system is artificial. It’s interesting that the French still stuck to 30-day months and 12-month years, though.

We COULD try a lunar calendar, with 13 months made up of 28 days, with an extra day at the winter solstice (say) to bring the number of days to 365. I think that would work. The solstices and equinoxes would be predictable and fall on a given date. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. And there’s no reason why we couldn’t trade in the old 24-hour day for (say) 20 hours or 25 hours. We’d have to adjust seconds and minutes to suit. 100 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour. The length of a week isn’t so much of an issue, since we don’t use it for much except how many days we work. Plenty of people do nine days on/nine days off and the like.

What do you think? Stick with the monster we know, or create a new time elephant?