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Re: The English/French counting system (WAS: number systemsfromconlangs)

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 16, 2003, 16:07
On Tue, Sep 16, 2003 at 11:04:43AM -0400, Tristan McLeay wrote:
> Was this one of the reasons that the 10-day week of the Revolutionary > Calendar didn't succeed as well as the rest of metric system? What other > factors were there?
Well, there were the month-names, which besides being kinda silly, were tied to the seasons and therefore not very applicable where you are, for instance. Also, the problem with the week goes beyond the use of 10-day décades; there were also the 5 or 6 blank days every year, which complicated calculating the difference from the 7-day week even more. As far as we can determine, the 7-day week has been uninterrupted for millennia, since long before its association with the Jewish Creation story/Sabbath observations. The Sabbath was a relative latecomer to Jewish tradition, actually; they probably inherited the seven-day week during their time in Babylonia and only later incorporated it into their religion. At any rate, interrupting it now would annoy an awful lot of people. And for no good reason. As much as we like nice round numbers and multiples of ten, celestial mechanics isn't coöperating with us. The Earth will continue to take a variable non-integral number of days to go around the Sun and the Moon to take a variable non-integral number of days to repeat its position relative to the Earth and Sun, and those two non-integers will continue to fail to mesh together in any helpful way, no matter what artificially groupings of nice sizes we impose. :) Besides, at this point any calendar reform is pretty much doomed. Imagine the Y2K bug writ large and you have a good idea of the problem. The Gregorian calendar is a hard-coded assumption in too much of the world's vital operating machinery; it's not going away. -Mark Décade III, Nonidi de Fructidor de l'Année 211 de la Révolution


Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>The English/French counting system (WAS: numbersystemsfromconlangs)