Isn't Society Weird?

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Isn't Society Weird?

Postby thegreekdog on Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:37 pm

As I trudged into the elevator on my way to the office today, I contemplated why I was expected to work Monday through Friday?

And then I contemplated why there were Mondays and Fridays in the first place? Who determined that a week should be seven days and why?

And then I thought about who determined that a day is 24 hours and why?

And just when I started thinking about why someone decided on the amount of minutes in an hour, I got to my floor?

Other than thoughts about my elevator being slow (or my mind being extremely, lightning fast thanks to my public education), do you guys think of stuff like this?
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby Metsfanmax on Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:43 pm

thegreekdog wrote:As I trudged into the elevator on my way to the office today, I contemplated why I was expected to work Monday through Friday?

And then I contemplated why there were Mondays and Fridays in the first place? Who determined that a week should be seven days and why?

And then I thought about who determined that a day is 24 hours and why?

And just when I started thinking about why someone decided on the amount of minutes in an hour, I got to my floor?


42.
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby thegreekdog on Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:45 pm

Metsfanmax wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:As I trudged into the elevator on my way to the office today, I contemplated why I was expected to work Monday through Friday?

And then I contemplated why there were Mondays and Fridays in the first place? Who determined that a week should be seven days and why?

And then I thought about who determined that a day is 24 hours and why?

And just when I started thinking about why someone decided on the amount of minutes in an hour, I got to my floor?


42.


Careful, jones may accuse Douglas Adams of being a toilet head.
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:47 pm

I'll speak to the 24 hour day bit. I recall that a number of our precursor ancient civilizations were fond of counting things in base 12, instead of say in base 10. Now everyone in our modern era is left with a bit of a mish-mash of various counting methods jammed together, examples:

Base 6 (60 Seconds in a minute, etc)
Base 10 (So many things)
Base 12 (24 hours a day)

But mathematics and numbers have ever been a strong suit of mine, I just recall this from some history reading I think.

Edit: I turned to my trusty friend, Scientific American, and just located this article from a number of years ago. A fun read to give you some history and insight: Why is a minute divided into 60 seconds, an hour into 60 minutes, yet there are only 24 hours in a day?


--Andy
Last edited by AndyDufresne on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby thegreekdog on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:01 pm

AndyDufresne wrote:I'll speak the the 24 hour day bit. I recall that a number of our precursor ancient civilizations were fond of counting things in base 12, instead of say in base 10. Now everyone in our modern era is left with a bit of a mish-mash of various counting methods jammed together, examples:

Base 6 (60 Seconds in a minute, etc)
Base 10 (So many things)
Base 12 (24 hours a day)

But mathematics and numbers have ever been a strong suit of mine, I just recall this from some history reading I think.

Edit: I turned to my trusty friend, Scientific American, and just located this article from a number of years ago. A fun read to give you some history and insight: Why is a minute divided into 60 seconds, an hour into 60 minutes, yet there are only 24 hours in a day?


--Andy


Interesting. A few thoughts:

(1) My question is more to do with why do we still use these things and not something else and not so much where they came from, but being the ex-history major that I am... er was... it is interesting.

(2) Egyptians are weird - Why would they use the knuckles of fingers intead of the fingers themselves?

This division reflected Egypt's use of the duodecimal system--the importance of the number 12 is typically attributed either to the fact that it equals the number of lunar cycles in a year or the number of finger joints on each hand (three in each of the four fingers, excluding the thumb), making it possible to count to 12 with the thumb.


(3) f*ck yeah Greeks!

The concept of fixed-length hours, however, did not originate until the Hellenistic period, when Greek astronomers began using such a system for their theoretical calculations. Hipparchus, whose work primarily took place between 147 and 127 B.C., proposed dividing the day into 24 equinoctial hours, based on the 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness observed on equinox days.


(4) See... this makes sense to me -

Despite this suggestion, laypeople continued to use seasonally varying hours for many centuries. (Hours of fixed length became commonplace only after mechanical clocks first appeared in Europe during the 14th century.)


(5) Culture beats science again!

This changed in 1967, when the second was redefined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 energy transitions of the cesium atom. This recharacterization ushered in the era of atomic timekeeping and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Interestingly, in order to keep atomic time in agreement with astronomical time, leap seconds occasionally must be added to UTC. Thus, not all minutes contain 60 seconds. A few rare minutes, occurring at a rate of about eight per decade, actually contain 61.
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby Metsfanmax on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:07 pm

thegreekdog wrote:(5) Culture beats science again!

This changed in 1967, when the second was redefined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 energy transitions of the cesium atom. This recharacterization ushered in the era of atomic timekeeping and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Interestingly, in order to keep atomic time in agreement with astronomical time, leap seconds occasionally must be added to UTC. Thus, not all minutes contain 60 seconds. A few rare minutes, occurring at a rate of about eight per decade, actually contain 61.


Actually, astrophysics beats atomic physics again.
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby jonesthecurl on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:09 pm

thegreekdog wrote:
Metsfanmax wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:As I trudged into the elevator on my way to the office today, I contemplated why I was expected to work Monday through Friday?

And then I contemplated why there were Mondays and Fridays in the first place? Who determined that a week should be seven days and why?

And then I thought about who determined that a day is 24 hours and why?

And just when I started thinking about why someone decided on the amount of minutes in an hour, I got to my floor?


42.


Careful, jones may accuse Douglas Adams of being a toilet head.


No he wasn't. he did however go to school with two toilet-heads that I know of.
My brother and Noel Edmonds.
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:11 pm

thegreekdog wrote:Interesting. A few thoughts:

(1) My question is more to do with why do we still use these things a


Probably because unless something is a dramatic improvement or invention, changing is too much work.


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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby thegreekdog on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:17 pm

AndyDufresne wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:Interesting. A few thoughts:

(1) My question is more to do with why do we still use these things a


Probably because unless something is a dramatic improvement or invention, changing is too much work.


--Andy


I was hoping for a discussion of a revolution with respect to having to work five days in a row. I think that change would be too much work too though.
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby Dukasaur on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:23 pm

thegreekdog wrote:]
(1) My question is more to do with why do we still use these things and not something else and not so much where they came from, but being the ex-history major that I am... er was... it is interesting.

A remarkably trivial change, from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, which had almost no real impact on anyone except maybe archivists, almost resulted in mass uprisings. Can you imagine what a real change would result in?
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:24 pm

thegreekdog wrote:I was hoping for a discussion of a revolution with respect to having to work five days in a row. I think that change would be too much work too though.

Probably. Changing it would be even more difficult in our modern global economy I think now. We already really only have say 4 straight work days where you can communicate business relations around the world, due to timezones and weekends. Moreover, do you think religious and cultural communities would push back to encroachment on their weekend turf?


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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby Dukasaur on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:28 pm

thegreekdog wrote:I was hoping for a discussion of a revolution with respect to having to work five days in a row. I think that change would be too much work too though.

France has a four-day work week. Unfortunately, in most countries materialistic claptrap is valued more than quality of life, and so we slave away in order to clutter our lives with more pointless shit. C'est la vie.
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby thegreekdog on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:43 pm

While I acknowledge that a "real change" would be difficult, I do not think it would cause an uprising among the general public; in fact, I would suspect the general public would be in favor of a change in the way we work.
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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:45 pm

thegreekdog wrote:While I acknowledge that a "real change" would be difficult, I do not think it would cause an uprising among the general public; in fact, I would suspect the general public would be in favor of a change in the way we work.

To what? Less than a 5 day work week in total, or just a segmented 5 day work week?


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Re: Isn't Society Weird?

Postby thegreekdog on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:50 pm

AndyDufresne wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:While I acknowledge that a "real change" would be difficult, I do not think it would cause an uprising among the general public; in fact, I would suspect the general public would be in favor of a change in the way we work.

To what? Less than a 5 day work week in total, or just a segmented 5 day work week?


--Andy


I'm not sure yet. Ideally, I would say a less than five day work week (although I bet not many people just work 5 days). However, given the relative trouble with that whole thing, I would even go for a three day work week and then one day off (an eight day week). Or make it a 10-day work week with 4 days of work and 1 day off. I have to think about that some more though, since I do like my long weekends.
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