Thursday, October 11, 2012

7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12;
Or
The Superstitions Of Primitives

The TV made much of it this morning: watch your clock for the magic moment of 7:08:09, when the pretty numbers all line up and count!   OoooooooEEEEEooooooooo!

     Yeah, right; and if you're Japanese, it will count down in November instead, '12/11/10, 09:08:07 -- and does p.m. count, too?

     People like me will just have to wait for the 10th of next month, too and get out our 24-hour clocks: yes, the magic magicks (it does?) on 10 XI '12 at 1314:15.

     ...As a teenager working in radio, I was always fascinated when the nixie clock in the FM automation hit 05:55:55, but these are all arbitrary numbers, come our way courtesy of Babylonian astronomers, Roman emperors, Popes and British navigators; and if you're in Indiana, today's moment of woooo hits about an hour ahead of local solar time anyhow (wait 'til November, when we show that mean ol' Sun who's boss and race two hours ahead!).  Sometimes I suspect the TV people of deliberately attempting to inculcate superstition in the viewing public; then I realize they're quite serious about putting chicken bones through their noses, if less so about the Deep Meaning of it all.  That, they leave for the passive, receptive blobs on the other side of the screen and there's nothing we can do about them.

17 comments:

NAVIGATOR said...

AS MY NAVIGATION INSTRUCTOR TOLD ME
TIME DISTANCE SPEED POSITION ARE ALL RELATIVE

ALSO ARE WE OBSERVING LOCAL CIVIL TIME
OR AT THE PRIME MERIDIAN AS GREENWICH MEAN TIME (GMT) ALSO KNOWN AS UNIVERSAL
TIME (UT) OR ZULU ?

PARDON ME WHILST I WIND MY CHRONOMETER
THEN I WILL DO A MORNING SUN LINE

Sabra said...

So...I probably shouldn't admit to how cool I thought it was when my youngest was born at 12:34?

Bubblehead Les. said...

Just hope that we are never FORCED to use the Islamic Calendar. Oh, that's right. Females don't have to worry about silly stuff like Time and Math in that System.

And Women don't get to Blog. Just ask a 14 year old Afghani Girl what happens.

BTW, did you know that all of the People's Republic of China uses ONE Time Zone (GMT +8), and they DON'T use Daylight Savings Time?

Roberta X said...

Sabra: oh, it's kewl enough, and why not enjoy it, especially when it marks the birth of one;s child; but havin' a moment of semi-transcendent woo-woo just because the rocks line up is kinda silly.


Les: Russia did that, too. One zone, one Party, one dam' big mess. But the hours were still each one an hour long; you're not obliged to eat lunch when the clock strikes noon and I suspect neither are the Chinee.

Also: Les, have you run the numbers? Are you that worried about murderous, suicidal, ignorant goatherds? We built the A-bomb. They've, what, dynamited irreplacable historic artifacts? Abused women? Beat superstitious nonsense into the heads of kids (well, a lot of faiths do that; still ain't right and the more pernicious the notions, the worse it is). If/when it becomes necessary to whip 'em like dogs, Civilization will do so. Meantime, we should leave them to rot. As they will; that, or grow up. I'd be all for nuking their oil fields next time they act up, whatever "they" it might be. Solar System is lousy with kerogen and we should be going and getting it already. Don't even need to send people if we don't want.

But say you're right and the smelly bastids are an imminent threat. I'm set up to kill my share of them and I'll feed the goddamn caliphate hot lead just as long as I can. Meantimes, I'm votin' just as hard as I can. What else would you have me do? Crank up the ol' pogroms?

Sabra is doing the one other thing to be done, and bless her for it: she's having kids and raising them civilized. Me, I'm too old and too ill-tempered.

NAVIGATOR said...

ROBERTA

YOU HAVE CATS THAT ARE FAR MORE WELL MANNERED THAN MOST 2 LEGGEDS YOU DID GOOD!!!

AS TO TOO OLD AND ILL TEMPERED
SEE MY RESPONSE AS TO TIME AS FAR AS ILL TEMPERED STAY AS SWEET AS YOU ARE !
AS TO FEEDING HOT LEAD TO THE REAL INFIDELS I WOULD RECOMMEND WIPING THE PROJECTILES WITH SOME BACON GREASE
REMEMBER WHAT JOHN WAYNE SAID:
"SHOOTING SOMEONE ISNT IMPORTANT ITS THE THOUGHT BEHIND IT THAT COUNTS !"

Able said...

Numbers? Going Ooh because of them is just rank superstition!

Just because I go Ooh at Fibonacci numbers doesn't make me a hypocrite - honest.

karrde said...

Personally, I was pretty happy for the one second when I could ask my computer for time (in seconds since the Unix Epoch started in 1970-01-01, at 00:00:00 ) and I got "12345678890".

But that was a few years ago now. And results varied by time zone. (My computer has its hardware clock is in UTC, but the system adjusts all time values to EST or EDT, depending on the time of year.)

What's this about again? Dates, times, and momentous events?

Geodkyt said...

I remember being at a New Year's Eve party for Y2K. EVERYONE there was a geek, three quarters of us were in engineering, tech R&D, working in hard sciences, etc.

At the stroke of midnight, the host said, in a wonderous voice -- "Look! The stars are blinking out, one by one."

One of the non-geek types actually snapped his head up to look, wondering why the most of the rest of us just wiggled our fingers and said, "Because it's a big round number!" before going into hysterics.

Before I decided to hit that party, I was thinking of hitting a friend's house - he of the Y2K prepper convictions that the technological universe would end, and flip his main breaker (convieniently located OUTSIDE the house) at the stroke of midnight. . .

I like tugging on their chicken bones, I do.

jed said...

> wait 'til November, when we show that mean ol' Sun who's boss and race two hours ahead!

Er ...whut? ;P

I attempted to find enlightenment at Wikipedia. Well. Irrespective of the overall mess, it would appear that there in the yellow, you're at UTC-5 and UTC-4, so I'm lost on the 2 hour thing.

BTW, I'm a confirmed opponent of DST. Every once in a while, someone tries to fix that here, but the CO legislature will have none of it.

Roberta X said...

Jed, Indiana is at the far West end of EST; we are normally almost an hour ahead of solar time and on EDT, we're nearly two hours ahead.

I think it is insane. We used to stay on EST year 'round, which was about half-sane, but the Legislature had to go and make us just like 49 other states.

Roberta X said...

Jed: here is more info.

Drang said...

Once Upon A Time I worked in a facility in which the high point of the evening shift was observing the Zulu clock display 123456 UCT. I thought it was kind of pathetic at the time. When I went back a few years later and found myself running the evening shift, there were there Things that needed doing, so there was far less superstitious ooh-ing and aah-ing over numerical coincidence.

JD Rush said...

Here is an extreme case:
http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20121012/NEWS/310120044/Des-Moines-baby-s-numbers-come-in-at-8-9-10-11-12-13-14?News
sorry for the long link. She had the last baby on 9 10 11 and the current one yesterday.

Ken said...

Well, people who were putatively exposed to better formal education than many of us* carried the same superstitions. Remember, it was on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month that the guns fell silent.

*If one is reading our hostess's post, one has likely made up much of the ground via diligent autodidactitudinalism.

jed said...

Gotcha. Timezones clearly are influenced more by factors other than the simple logic of longitude (within limits, I suppose). Looking at ye olde mappe I'm reminded again of various articles I've read about troubles caused by split cities, or areas where they've switched for convenience of coordinating schedules, which is mostly understandable.

But the hue and cry raised upon any attempt to abolish DST still amazes me. Most recent one I recall had something to do with elementary school soccer practice.

I sure would like a nice sundial in the backyard. Not sure how the landlord would like that.

Windy Wilson said...

Ken, I've been thinking lately about how my autodidaction has taught me a couple of orders of magnitude of things I never knew even in university. I had a girlfriend who would always ask, "how do you know that?"
I am well read.
Jed, try to get a sundial customized for your latitude, and be sure to have an analemma to show how to adjust local sun time to metrical time (to confuse the superstitious ones who wonder how accurate a sundial can be if you need a table of corrections).

Roberta X said...

In Indianapolis, we are fortunate to have an nice example of a sophisticated version in Sundial, Boy With Spider Sadly, it's not in the original location (moved WSW a couple of miles); sadder, vandals keep stealing part of gnomon assembly.