Rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies © Robert Sommers 2017

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Time takes a cigarette

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.
Henry David Thoreau

I have been thinking and musing a bit about time the last few days as we travel in to the start of the new year. I was reading the drummer Mickey Hart's book Drumming on the edge of magic and there is a passage where one of his teachers, the noted indian tabla drummer Qureshi Alla Rakha Khan, showed him that time and for that matter, a musical measure, could be subdivided by any number, e.g. 13 beats over 10 was the same as 10 over 13. All ends up on the same beat, in the same place.

The subdivisions of time are an abstract and somewhat arbitrary concept. These subdivisions can by cyclical or acyclical, such as months and weeks respectively. That is they can depend on a particular phase of a repeating cosmic or astronomical event or they can be a somewhat random and human construct.

I started looking into the wiki entries for time, calendar, and base 12 and offer them basically unadulterated below (with emphasis added), for you to grok and peruse, that is, if you have any interest and if time permits.

Time is a dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future,[1][2][3][4][5][6] and also the measure of durations of events and the intervals between them.Two contrasting viewpoints on time divide many prominent philosophers. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe – a dimension independent of events, in which events occur in sequence. Sir Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time.[20][21] The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of "container" that events and objects "move through", nor to any entity that "flows", but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events. This second view, in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz[15] and Immanuel Kant,[22][23] holds that time is neither an event nor a thing, and thus is not itself measurable nor can it be travelled.
Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units. Time is used to define other quantities – such as velocity – so defining time in terms of such quantities would result in circularity of definition.[24]

Temporal measurement, or chronometry, takes two distinct period forms: the calendar, a mathematical abstraction for calculating extensive periods of time,[27] and the clock, a physical mechanism that counts the ongoing passage of time. In day-to-day life, the clock is consulted for periods less than a day, the calendar, for periods longer than a day. Increasingly, personal electronic devices display both calendars and clocks simultaneously. The number (as on a clock dial or calendar) that marks the occurrence of a specified event as to hour or date is obtained by counting from a fiducial epoch – a central reference point.
Artifacts from the Paleolithic suggest that the moon was used to reckon time as early as 6,000 years ago.[28] Lunar calendars were among the first to appear, either 12 or 13 lunar months (either 354 or 384 days). Without intercalation to add days or months to some years, seasons quickly drift in a calendar based solely on twelve lunar months. Lunisolar calendars have a thirteenth month added to some years to make up for the difference between a full year (now known to be about 365.24 days) and a year of just twelve lunar months. The numbers twelve and thirteen came to feature prominently in many cultures, at least partly due to this relationship of months to years.

The reforms of Julius Caesar in 45 BC put the Roman world on a solar calendar. This Julian calendar was faulty in that its intercalation still allowed the astronomical solstices and equinoxes to advance against it by about 11 minutes per year. Pope Gregory XIII introduced a correction in 1582; the Gregorian calendar was only slowly adopted by different nations over a period of centuries, but it is now the most commonly used calendar around the world, by far.

In medieval philosophical writings, the atom was a unit of time referred to as the smallest possible division of time. The earliest known occurrence in English is in Byrhtferth's Enchiridion (a science text) of 1010–1012,[41] where it was defined as 1/564 of a momentum (1½ minutes),[42] and thus equal to 15/94 of a second. It was used in the computus, the process of calculating the date of Easter.
As of May 2010, the smallest time interval uncertainty in direct measurements is on the order of 12 attoseconds (1.2 × 10−17 seconds), about 3.7 × 1026 Planck times.[43]

Ancient cultures such as Incan, Mayan, Hopi, and other Native American Tribes, plus the Babylonians, Ancient Greeks, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and others have a concept of a wheel of time, that regards time as cyclical and quantic consisting of repeating ages that happen to every being of the Universe between birth and extinction.
In general, the Judeo-Christian concept, based on the Bible, is that time is linear, beginning with the act of creation by God. The general Christian view is that time will end with the end of the world.

Einstein (The Meaning of Relativity): "Two events taking place at the points A and B of a system K are simultaneous if they appear at the same instant when observed from the middle point, M, of the interval AB. Time is then defined as the ensemble of the indications of similar clocks, at rest relatively to K, which register the same simultaneously."

Time appears to have a direction – the past lies behind, fixed and immutable, while the future lies ahead and is not necessarily fixed. Yet for the most part the laws of physics do not specify an arrow of time, and allow any process to proceed both forward and in reverse. This is generally a consequence of time being modeled by a parameter in the system being analyzed, where there is no "proper time": the direction of the arrow of time is sometimes arbitrary.


The duodecimal system (also known as base-12 or dozenal) is a positional notation numeral system using twelve as its base. In this system, the number ten may be written as "A", "T" or "X", and the number eleven as "B" or "E" (another common notation, introduced by Sir Isaac Pitman, is to use a rotated "2" (ᘔ) for ten and a reversed "3" (Ɛ) for eleven). The number twelve (that is, the number written as "12" in the base ten numerical system) is instead written as "10" in duodecimal (meaning "1 dozen and 0 units", instead of "1 ten and 0 units"), whereas the digit string "12" means "1 dozen and 2 units" (i.e. the same number that in decimal is written as "14"). Similarly, in duodecimal "100" means "1 gross", "1000" means "1 great gross", and "0.1" means "1 twelfth" (instead of their decimal meanings "1 hundred", "1 thousand", and "1 tenth").
The number twelve, a highly composite number, is the smallest number with four non-trivial factors (2, 3, 4, 6), and the smallest to include as factors all four numbers (1 to 4) within the subitizing range. As a result of this increased factorability of the radix and its divisibility by a wide range of the most elemental numbers (whereas ten has only two non-trivial factors: 2 and 5, with neither 3 nor 4), duodecimal representations fit more easily than decimal ones into many common patterns, as evidenced by the higher regularity observable in the duodecimal multiplication table. As a result, duodecimal has been described as the optimal number system.[1] Of its factors, 2 and 3 are prime, which means the reciprocals of all 3-smooth numbers (such as 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9...) have a terminating representation in duodecimal. In particular, the five most elementary fractions (1⁄2, 1⁄3, 2⁄3, 1⁄4 and 3⁄4) all have a short terminating representation in duodecimal (0.6, 0.4, 0.8, 0.3 and 0.9, respectively), and twelve is the smallest radix with this feature (because it is the least common multiple of 3 and 4). This all makes it a more convenient number system for computing fractions than most other number systems in common use, such as the decimal, vigesimal, binary, octal and hexadecimal systems, although the sexagesimal system (where the reciprocals of all 5-smooth numbers terminate) does better in this respect (but at the cost of an unwieldy multiplication table and a much larger number of symbols to memorize).

Languages using duodecimal number systems are uncommon. Languages in the Nigerian Middle Belt such as Janji, Gbiri-Niragu (Gure-Kahugu), Piti, and the Nimbia dialect of Gwandara;[2] the Chepang language of Nepal[3] and the Mahl language of Minicoy Island in India are known to use duodecimal numerals. In fiction, J. R. R. Tolkien's Elvish languages use a hybrid decimal-duodecimal system, primarily decimal but with special names for multiples of six.

Historically, units of time in many civilizations are duodecimal. There are twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve months in a year, and the Babylonians had twelve hours in a day (although at some point this was changed to 24). Traditional Chinese calendars, clocks, and compasses are based on the twelve Earthly Branches. There are 12 inches in an imperial foot, 12 ounces in a troy pound, 12 old British pence in a shilling, 24 (12×2) hours in a day, and many other items counted by the dozen, gross (144, square of 12) or great gross (1728, cube of 12). The Romans used a fraction system based on 12, including the uncia which became both the English words ounce and inch. Pre-decimalisation, Ireland and the United Kingdom used a mixed duodecimal-vigesimal currency system (12 pence = 1 shilling, 20 shillings or 240 pence to the pound sterling or Irish pound), and Charlemagne established a monetary system that also had a mixed base of twelve and twenty, the remnants of which persist in many places.
The importance of 12 has been attributed to the number of lunar cycles in a year, and also to the fact that humans have 12 finger bones (phalanges) on one hand (three on each of four fingers).[5] It is possible to count to 12 with your thumb acting as a pointer, touching each finger bone in turn. A traditional finger counting system still in use in many regions of Asia works in this way, and could help to explain the occurrence of numeral systems based on 12 and 60 besides those based on 10, 20 and 5. In this system, the one (usually right) hand counts repeatedly to 12, displaying the number of iterations on the other (usually left), until five dozens, i. e. the 60, are full.[6][7]


The case for the duodecimal system was put forth at length in F. Emerson Andrews' 1935 book New Numbers: How Acceptance of a Duodecimal Base Would Simplify Mathematics. Emerson noted that, due to the prevalence of factors of twelve in many traditional units of weight and measure, many of the computational advantages claimed for the metric system could be realized either by the adoption of ten-based weights and measure or by the adoption of the duodecimal number system.

A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months, and years. A date is the designation of a single, specific day within such a system. Periods in a calendar (such as years and months) are usually, though not necessarily, synchronized with the cycle of the sun or the moon. Many civilizations and societies have devised a calendar, usually derived from other calendars on which they model their systems, suited to their particular needs.

There are some calendars that appear to be synchronized to the motion of Venus, such as some of the ancient Egyptian calendars; synchronization to Venus appears to occur primarily in civilizations near the Equator.

The week cycle is an example of one that is not synchronized to any external phenomenon (although it may have been derived from lunar phases, beginning anew every month).

An arithmetic calendar is one that is based on a strict set of rules; an example is the current Jewish calendar. Such a calendar is also referred to as a rule-based calendar. The advantage of such a calendar is the ease of calculating when a particular date occurs. The disadvantage is imperfect accuracy. Furthermore, even if the calendar is very accurate, its accuracy diminishes slowly over time, owing to changes in Earth's rotation. This limits the lifetime of an accurate arithmetic calendar to a few thousand years. After then, the rules would need to be modified from observations made since the invention of the calendar.

The official SI definition of the second is as follows:[44][45]
The second is the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is no fucking way we are related. None