New times

Today the European Union standards agency announced a new initiative, as part of the ongoing G20 summit. Building on the nearly world-wide success of the metric system for weights and measures, they are ready to take the metric system to the next level.

The system will be phased in over the next several years. By 2016-04-01, all member states will need to complete the switch over to metric time. “The current calendar is a relic of Pope Gregory and the medieval Catholic Church. It builds on the Roman calendar developed by Julius Caesar. And just as we no longer use Roman Numerals to count, and we no longer use Feet and Hogsheads to measure distance, it’s time to get away from the chaotic math of the current clock,” said the chairman of the Greenwich Mean Time committee.

The new system will make it easier to tell and calculate time.

The base unit of the system will still be the day. The new day will be 10 hours long. During the transition, the metric day will be called an “mDay” in English. Once the transition is complete, the “m” prefix and archaic name will be replaced permanently with the new metric name. To make the conversion, 1 hour will equal .416667 mHours.

The term “hour” will be replaced with the “deciday.” There will be 100 minutes in an hour (or 100 Millidays).

The new week, the mWeek (after 2016, the Decaday) will equal 10 mDays. Each mMonth (or Hectoday) will equal 10m weeks (or 10 Decadays), or 100 mDays.

The mYear (or Kiloyear) will equal 10 mMonths (or 100 Decidays), or 1,000 mDays.

This chart may help:

New Term


Obsolete Term

1 Milliday

.001 Days


I Deciday

.1 Days


1 Day

1 Day


1 Decaday

10 Days


1 Hectoday

100 Days


1 Kiloday

1,000 Days


The problem here is obvious, and was discussed extensively in committee. The current year is 365.25 days. The new Kiloyear is equal to almost 3 current years (which total 1,095.75 current days). Naturally age restrictions in laws, licensing, retirement, and other documents will need to be adjusted.

It also means each year will have three summers and three winters. We will need more Holidays to adjust for the annual events.

The dates for each season and equinox will have to float. Protesters argued this is unnatural. “Comment peuvent-ils indiquer la Terre quand incliner?” shouted protesters in Paris. The committee chairman shrugged it off. “The dates on the calendar have always been arbitrary. Some years we adjust the year by as much as 15 seconds because of the inconvenient nature of the Earth’s slightly irregular orbit. This is the same thing.”

“We can’t let the arbitrary holidays interfere with the science of measurement,” he continued.

Nineteen of the 20 member of the G20 issued a joint statement praising the shift:

Not only will this change simplify time, it will provide a significant aid to the world economy. Manufacturing and scientific organizations will have a cleaner and more efficient measurement system. And it will be a significant boon to the watch and clock makers around the world during these troubled times.

President Obama declined to join in the statement. The President released his own statement later.

While we are pleased to see our European partners working so closely together to come up with new solutions to old problems, we don’t plan to impose this change on the American people. The American people have no trouble with the 60s and 7s that make up our calendar. Further, we don’t need to mandate this program.

The American people have always worked with partners around the world to build a world class economy and to help people from all walks of life achieve their true potential. The American people are thrilled to buy their soda in 2 liter bottles and their milk by the gallon. The power of American business is that it works with and respects the traditional culture of America, while still working with the rest of the world in the different measures they use. The people will use the units they prefer as we move into the next global age of economic revitalization.

Some European editorialist scoffed at Obama’s suggestion that this won’t be a problem for the US. “Didn’t the Americans lose a space ship because they don’t understand metric?” suggested the editor of the London Financial Times.

The Director of the US Bureau of Weights and Measures stated the US would work with others on the new calendar, but beyond providing conversion tables, would take few initiatives. “We still plan to keep our speed limit signs at 65 MPH. We don’t plan to change them to 249.6 KMpdD (kilometers per deciday).”

After the press conference, was overheard talking to a colleague about the issue. Apparently he didn’t realize his microphone was still open. “Not this crap again. What is this? 1977? I’m getting too old for this.”

The second will remain at 9,192,631,770 Cesium atom vibrations for now. The seconds in a Milliday will be defined by conversion tables. The standards body will discuss alternative definitions for the “second” over the next year.

There is still a great deal of debate over what to do with the yet to be implemented Decimilliday.


Cathy M said...

That took a lot of time and thought. You must not be very busy these days, or you're spending too much time in the air.

beth said...

If Obama says everything will be okay, then it will be. Discussion closed, then dropped. SOS!

Waterrose said...

I was waiting for the "april fools," don't see it though.

Pricilla said...

Will this make me younger, that is all I want to know ;)

Phyl/Bookishgal said...

This was absolutely brilliant! Well done!

Paul Baines said...

OMG this isn't a joke? At least Britain fought off giving up pints and ounces for various popular intoxicants lol. If this really is going through please tell me when the next inhabitable planet is available - I want to get off.

The Hawg! said...

Yes, that was absolutely brilliant.

The odd thing is this -- couldn't we see some confused group actually trying to put something like this in place?

Genius, man. Sheer genius!

Carl said...

OMG! Is this for real? Or is this the April Fools joke again? I got so many of them today.

Retired and Restless said...

Ha Ha Ha. Good job. I am surprised there are not more comments on this. People have become too lazy. You obviously spent a great deal of "time" on this piece and must have been planning it for a long time. I loved it.

Cromely said...

@Cathy M: Who needs time on the ground when there's that bank of "traditional sleeping hours" to draw from. Actually, this one's been bouncing around in my head for a few months.

@beth: As long as we're all on the same page with Metric Time, the country will truly soar to new visions...sorry. That's as far as I got. I haven't picked up the cliche Obama speech pattern well enough to fake the voice.

@Waterrose: I'd rather keep everyone guessing. As long as it doesn't say April Fool in the post, maybe someone will cite it in Wikipedia.

@Pricilla: Your new age will be one third of what it is now so you can bound about town in the full vigor of youth. The trade off is they might make you go to high school (or grade school) again. Those Europeans will get us somehow.

@Phyl/Bookishgal: Thanks.I appreciate it.

@Paul Baines: They fought the good fight. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable order Guinness by the liter. Though I have been to a bar where they sell it by the yard...

@The Hawg: Thanks a lot. It does seem oddly plausible. I'm sure something like this will eventually happen. After which, modern society will collapse and we'll all go back to farming.

@Carl: Maybe CADIE had something to do with it.

@Retired and Restless: Thanks. I had a lot of fun with it. Several months of idle thought went into it when I was in the shower. The comment count is interesting. Typically, the longer my posts, the fewer comments I get. Those intrepid reader who make it all the way through a truly a special and valuable breed.