I received the following from James Strom, with my comments added:
Hi! I like to dabble in things like you have at your decimal time site. Decimal time is definitely an idea who's time has come.
Whose time has come? I'd say it already came and went two centuries ago!
But for it to be practical it must be compatible with any metric system in use. If the second were changed by anything other than by a power of ten then the cost of conversion would be enormous. The definitions of a joule, newton, ampere, volt, etc. would all have to be changed as well. Can you imagine having to multiply your wattage by 0.864 cubed to arrive at the new watts? A simple way around that is to simply keep the second either the same or 10 or times smaller. I would recommend the latter so as to allow a second to be equal to 1/864th of a milliday and for other reasons.
I agree that the metric system (SI) is a serious impediment to introducing new time units. Redefining the second would be a practically impossible undertaking, regardless of whether it's by a power of ten. In fact, with today's technology it's just about as easy to convert decimally as otherwise. And you cannot simply change unit values while keeping the same names, or nobody would ever know if you were talking about the old or new units. Remember that everything in the world for hundreds of years has been recorded using essentially the same second. Likewise for other units, although not for as long. Creating all new units with the same names, even if they're a factor of 10 different, would create chaos.
I have noticed that if Greenwich is used as the prime meridian then 10 time zones can be created which fit very neatly with the continents. So forget Swatch's idea.
You apparently mean Swatch eliminating time zones. You do not say why we should favor 10 time zones over one, or 24. We may as well reform everything at once. Business today is international. So is my family. It seems to me that time zones one-tenth day (2.4 hours) wide lack the advantages of smaller one-hour zones, while being only halfway to a single one for the world.
Any modification of our current system should have as a high priority ease of convertibility. The system described below has that in mind. In fact, it could be used by anyone right now without any trouble.
There is nothing that is as easy to convert as no change at all. You need to have major advantages to outweigh the disadvantage of any conversion, no matter how easy it might be. And I don't really think that your proposal would be as easy as you claim for those who are currently using these units.
It won't be necessary for any international organization to get everyone else to agree to the change for it to work.
Who would use it, then?
It also assumes that lower case letters will someday be eliminated.
Why? That would eliminate half the available symbols for units and prefixes. It would also require everyone on the Internet to SHOUT all the time.
I've devised a modification of the current metric system that I think would be simpler, more intuitive, and easy to convert to. It would be similar to the change from the old cgs system (centimeter-gram-second) to the mks system (meter-kilogram-second).
These two systems used different names for nonequivalent units. It was also a big pain in the ass to change, and not everyone has, yet.
As it is now the basic unit of mass requires a prefix (kilo) and doesn't correspond with weight.
The kilogramme was originally defined as a unit of weight. The definitions of mass and weight were separated after it was realized that an object's mass is relatively constant, but it's weight is not. My sisters in Colorado gain weight every time they come to visit me on the coast, but their masses remain the same. (Unless my Mom is cooking.) Scales do not actually measure mass, but the force of gravity acting on a particular mass. However, for everyday use we can use our weight to approximate our mass. To those relatively few professionals who have to use units of force to measure weights, it is advantageous that mass and weight have different values, lest they get confused.
The unit of density is, unlike almost all other measurement systems, is not even close to that of water but, in fact, less than that of air. This makes it difficult to visualize them.
The SI unit of density is kg/m3. Water is 1000 kg/m3, or 1 t/m3 = 1 g/cm3 = g/ml. I have no problem visualizing a cubic meter of water, or of a milliliter (cc).
On the other hand, if a system were devised that made the unit of acceleration close to the force of gravity on earth then it would be easy to picture it. Also, weight would become almost synonymous with mass. This would make it easy to imagine force in terms of these units. And if the unit of density were the same as that of water then there would be the obvious benefits.
I don't have a problem "picturing" these things, nor do I see how that is necessary. I already weigh myself in pounds or kg, not 780 newtons. I imagine newtons only when measuring small things in a lab. (Which I have not done in decades.) The benefits are not obvious to me.
This is what I propose:
1) The new unit of mass would be called a ton but would have the same mass as a kilogram.
We already have several different ton units causing confusion, and you want to add one that is not even close?
2) The "new" meter would be equal to one tenth of an "old" meter or a decimeter.
Again, I don't see the benefit of changing the value by an order of magnitude.
3) The day would be divided into 1,000 minutes. Each minute, in turn, would be divided into 864 seconds. Thus the "new" second would be equivalent to one tenth of an "old" second.
A compromise that has all the problems of both, and the benefits of neither!
I won't go through the rest, since I am not interested in changing the metric system. That ship sailed a long time ago. It took a lot of time and trouble to get the entire world to accept the current metric system, and now that it's done, there is no advantage to massively change it now, even if it's not perfect. We have discussed these issues ad nauseum on this site in the past.
4) The ampere would remain the same and would be defined as the amount of current that would produce a force of 2X10^-8 Newtons between two wires, etc., in terms of the new units. In other words; the ampere would be 1/10,000th of the value that it have if it were defined by the basic three units alone. That's an improvement over the current system that requires division by the square root of ten million.5) The unit of angle would be 1/1,000th of a circumference. This would align it with the units of time. The earth, in relation to the sun, would rotate one degree per minute.6) The unit of temperature would be defined as 1/1,000th of the triple point of water. A celsius-like system could be used as well so that water would freeze at 0 and absolute zero would be -1000.7) The unit for amount of substance would not change except for its name. It shall be called a quant instead of a mole and be represented by a Q instead of mol.8) The unit of luminosity would be equal to one joule per second per steradian in terms of the new units and be renamed the young (after the scientist, of course).Each of the units shall be represented by one letter only without regard to upper or lower case status.The prefixes shall follow this rule as well.Thus there will be 26 common units and a like number of prefixes.Ratio refers to the ratio of the size of the "new" units to that of the "old" ones in the mks system.
Unit Symbol Quantity Formula Ratio
Ton T Mass T 1
Meter M Length M 0.1
Are R Area M^2 0.01
Liter L Volume M^3 0.001
Second S Time S 0.1
Hertz Z Frequency 1/S 10
Einstein E Velocity M/S 1
Gal G Acceleration M/S^2 10
Bole B Momentum T*M/S 1
Newton N Force T*M/S^2 10
Planck P Action T*M^2/S 0.1
Joule J Energy T*M^2/S^2 1
Ampere A Current A 1
Coulomb C Charge A*S 0.1
Weber W Flux J/A 1
Volt V Potential J/C 10
Henry H Inductance W/A 1
Farad F Capacitance C/V 0.01
Siemens S Conductance A/V 0.1
Ohm O Resistance V/A 10
Gauss U Strength A/M 10
Maxwell X Intensity V/M 100
Degree D Angle D 0.36
Kelvin K Temperature K 0.27316
Quant Q Amount Q 1
Young Y Luminosity Y 6,830
Symbol Prefix Multiple
Y Yotta 10^24
Z Zetta 10^21
E Exa 10^18
P Peta 10^15
T Tera 10^12
G Giga 10^9
M Mega 10^6
K Kilo 10^3
H Hecto 10^2
D Deka 10^1
S Deci 10^-1
C Centi 10^-2
L Milli 10^-3
U Micro 10^-6
N Nano 10^-9
B Pico 10^-12
F Femto 10^-15
A Atto 10^-18
O Zepto 10^-21
J Yocto 10^-24
This system is meant to work with decimal time, a reformed calendar, and the eventual elimination of lower case letters.But that is the subject of another email.(Don't worry about copyright or anything. I don't care who gets credit for what. I only bring this up because while googling your name I found some idiot who was trying to take credit for coming up with an obvious idea that dated back to the French Revolution. There's all sorts out there.)MJD 56115.995