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.
Décade III, Nonidi de Fructidor de l'Année 211 de la Révolution