Undecided on Leap Seconds

30 October 2015

article reprinted from http://spectrum.ieee.org

Leap Second Heads into Fierce Debate

When Earth’s rotation gets far enough out of sync with the drumbeat of atomic time, a leap second is added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the world’s clocks count off 59, then 60, then 00 seconds.

The fix is intended to pair two very different ways of keeping time, one grounded in the unchanging world of atomic physics and the other pinned to Earth’s spin, which is slowing due to tidal friction with the Moon.

Some say the leap second is a good compromise. It’s a way to link atomic clocks to the position of the sun in the sky. Others argue it’s an inconvenience and potential danger to modern systems. The leap second has been called “Y2K’s distant cousin” and “a crude hack added…to paper over the fact that planets make lousy clocks compared with quantum mechanical phenomena.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Leap Days Solve Every Problem

20 April 2015

XKCD knows this

Roasted Carrot Soup

7 April 2015

More delicious than I even anticipated.

1 lb carrots, peeled, sliced thickly
1 lb parsnips, peeled, sliced thickly
2 medium onions, sliced thickly
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
oil for roasting and frying
2 TB vinegar (rice vinegar in this case)

spice mix:
1 TB coriander seeds
1/2 tsp dill seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black pepper seeds

dill pesto

1. toss the carrots and parsnips in oil, and place in a 425F oven for about 1/2 hour (my oven’s dial isn’t representative of the actual heat, so I’m guessing it’s closer to 400). Turn about halfway through. Reserve any leftover oil.
2. heat a little oil over medium heat. brown onions.
3. toast seeds over medium heat, grind in a spice mill.
4. add garlic, and fry for a minute.
5. add vinegar to deglaze (my pan needed it, yours might not).
6. add spice mix and stir to mix.
7. add roasted carrots and parsnips and stir to mix everything.
8. add broth and simmer to heat throughout and combine flavours. Blend with an immersion blender or by whatever means you have available to you.
9. . serve the soup with some of the dill pesto drizzled, dripped, drabbed on top. Make patterns. Amuse your friends.


How to Avoid the Horrors of New Years

31 December 2014

The Worst Interpretation of Prehistoric Traditions Ever.

Happy New Year

21 December 2014

now go out and play


Here’s the year laid out Today we’re at theAbysmal Day at the bottom. we can either look down into the Abyss (where Nietzsche might look back) or we can look up towards Month 6 ahead, at the opposite end of the year. The first six months build towards it, and the last six months watch it play out. If you want to build something special, you could do worse.

Go. Play.

Arguments for New Calendars

17 July 2014

Arguments for Change, Renaissance, and Revolution

Having long ago decided that a change from the Gregorian to something else would be an improvement for the people of the world, the idea of adopting a new calendar is the first step. But which one? And in the course of my search for alternatives, I came up with theAbysmal Calendar, which combines features of the Chinese Solilunar, 13-Month Reform, the Balinese Pawukon Calendars with the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year, Western Astrology and Astronomy, the Julian Day, and the Unix Time Code – or at versions meant as equivalents.

Needless to say, I’ve accepted the idea of a calendar to replace the Gregorian for so long, I have to remind myself that this isn’t a subject most people think about. They are immersed in the calendar as much as the city. It’s there as a tool, why change it?

A fair question, of course, but I find it difficult to articulate. So, here is yet another attempt, but my focus is more on the situations in which new calendars tend come to the fore.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not proposing that the Gregorian Calendar be done away with, mmmm’kay? I’m proposing that another calendar replace as the one we use to communicate dates and times globally.

DISCLAIMER ALSO: When I use the word revolution, I’m not talking about armed insurrection. I’m thinking of the turning of the circle, y’know, like the seasons, the year, they revolve, or so we have come to think of them. That’s what I mean.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My chief source for this material is Eviatar Zerubavel.

As men free themselves from submission to the external cycles of nature, relying more often on self-created and variable social cycles, they increasingly risk internal disruption.
Kevin Lynch, What Time is this Place?

I suppose you have to accept that what Mr Lynch proposes above is true. Having read a number of books on Chronobiology, including Introducing Biological Rhythms, the Light Book, Space, Time and Medicine, The Time Paradox, Rhythms of Life, the Body Clock Guide to Better Health, which expand on the notion that timekeeping methods removed from the changes in the season, or in the position of the sun, moon, stars, and planets leads to particular health-related consequences. There are a number of examples of biological functions that we do according to the artifice of time, instead of according to the demands of the body. The most obvious are scheduled meals, sleeping times and daylight savings time.

Point 1a: submit yourself to the external cycles of nature, rely less on self-created and variable social cycles.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

gaining control over the calendar has always been essential for attaining social control in general

  …from the very start, the evolution of the schedule in the West has always been embedded within a pronouncedly economic philosophy of time.

Eviatar Zerubavel,Hidden Rhythms – Schedules and Calendars in Social Life

Control over the calendar. That’s the first bit I wish to address. If we look at the Gregorian Calendar’s history back to its Roman foundation, here are the chief reformers of some sort or other:

753 BC – Romulus – demi-god/quasi-deity
713 BC – Numa Pompilius – King of Rome
46 BC – Julius Caesar – Pontifex Maximus/dictator
8 BC – Augustus Caesar – founding Roman Emperor
325 AD – Constantine the Great – Byzantine Emperor
1582 AD – Pope Gregory XIII
1752 AD – British Parliament

What this tells me is that, yes, indeed, control of the calendar has been in the hands of the powerful. Social control is certainly a part of it, as we now have sports seasons, sweeps weeks, prime time, and other distractions tagged with the indications of time with which we had become accustomed.

The schedule evolved and came into prominence during the Industrial Revolution. Time is money. There’s a reason that saying persists. Are you paid $15/hour or $32,000/year? Time, money. It’s evident in English (can’t speak for other languages): spend time/money, waste time/money, save time/money, bank time/money, currency.

Point 2: remove the calendar from the hands of the powerful (or at least partial-deities, kings, dictators, emperors, popes, and parliament. I’m sure other forms of government are included by extension)

Point 1b: industrial-economic associations are in part the mechanism that pulls us out of natural time and into mechanized time, so this, again, supports our first point.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The temporal coordination of complementary differences among members enhances their interdependence and, thus, functions as a most powerful basis for a strong organic solidarity within the group.

The tremendous symbolic significance of the calendar is quite evident from the fact that substantial calendrical reforms have always been associated with great social – political as well as cultural – reforms.

 Eviatar Zerubavel,Hidden Rhythms – Schedules and Calendars in Social Life

This is the heart of it right here. The first sentence sums up my idea for theAbysmal Calendar, however, I envisioned it on a global scale, such that the differences (calendar systems) among members (people who use theAbysmal) enhances their interdependence (working together while retaining cultural autonomy). I didn’t expect it to function as “a most powerful basis for a strong organic solidarity within the group.” I think I’ll use that quote on business cards (if I actually printed some).

The calendar reforms (successful and not) that he refers to can include a number of religious groups with their own calendars: Christians: Gregorian, Julian, Coptic calendars; Hebrew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Bahai, Zoroastrian, etc. There were reform calendars to go along with the French and Russian Revolutions, however, they were abandoned.

Point 3: make the calendar user-friendly for people who speak a variety of languages, use a variety of writing scripts and calendar systems, and think about time in a wide variety of ways.

Point 4: the calendar has a tremendous symbolic significance

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One of the most effective ways to accentuate social contrasts is to establish a calendrical contrast. Schedules and calendars are intimately linked to group formation.

Eviatar Zerubavel, Time Maps – Collective Memory and the Social Shape of the Past

Here you go, group-forming enthusiasts. As the Internet weaves its ways farther and farther afield, and more and more people are able to see the state of inequality, locally, regionally, nationally, globally. There should be no surprise about the internet spying and censorship legislation either in place or proposed.

That’s me on the right. No further back. No, further back still. Keep going.

Now, here’s the thing I found rather serendipitous about theAbysmal Calendar launch. The date was December 21st 2012. I chose it as it was the Winter Solstice, and it coincided with the beginning of a new cycle of the Maya long count calendar. I am so impressed with the calendars the Mesoamericans developed that I’m tickled that our calendars are synchronized. The other thing that happened that day, I visited Parliament Hill in Ottawa on the day that Idle No More launched itself. It has since spread quickly, and support from Native peoples worldwide sharing the same struggles.

The Maya have been fighting the same fight as the Native People in Canada.

This is the group with which I associate this calendar. Even if it is intended for the world to use as it will, the local group that is leading the charge towards serious reforms in Canada is the one that announced itself in front of me the day my calendar launched. If the people at IdleNoMore aren’t interested, that’s certainly fine. Imposing theAbysmal Calendar on people is exactly the opposite of the point.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As I am wont to do (and want to do, too), I will weigh theAbysmal Calendar against some measure of informed criticism.

Point 1a: submit yourself to the external cycles of nature, rely less on self-created and variable social cycles.

Point 1b: industrial-economic associations are in part the mechanism that pulls us out of natural time and into mechanized time, so this, again, supports our first point.

theAbysmal Response 1: fortunately, theAbysmal Calendar follows the lunar month, approximates the quarters of the year with the solstices and equinoxes, and sets the new year at the southern solstice. It’s not perfect, of course, however, the quarters begin with a day or two of these events. The lunar part of theAbysmal Calendar takes an absolute measure of equinoxes, solstices, new moons, etc. whereas the perpetual annual calendar approximates.

Point 2: remove the calendar from the hands of the powerful (or at least partial-deities, kings, dictators, emperors, popes, and parliament. I’m sure other forms of government are included by extension)

theAbysmal Response 2: Done and done. Although I defer to scientific authorities and standards bodies when it comes to definitions of seconds, times zones, meridians, and so forth when it comes to accepted definitions, the calendar itself, once set into motion, is its own thing. Also, theAbysmal Calendar doesn’t name periods of time: weekdays, months, years carry numbers. Numbers are about as universal a character set as we have, and there is far less cultural bias associated with them. Each community of calendar users is still free to name those measures of time as they will. No one dictates that this month is named after someone you couldn’t care less about.

Point 3: make the calendar user-friendly for people who speak a variety of languages, use a variety of writing scripts and calendar systems, and think about time in a wide variety of ways.

theAbysmal Response 3: As stated above in point 2, the numbering of time periods is a means of transcending communication difficulties between diverse language speakers. As a result, at home we use either an existing calendar (there are plenty), or theabysmal with days, months, quarters, years named or not, as suits, ,and between groups using different calendars, theabysmal numerical system can serve as translation. the inclusion of lunar months makes transition between solar, solilunar, and lunar calendars easier (but not easy by any means).

Point 4: the calendar has a tremendous symbolic significance

theAbysmal Response 4:Not sure about this one. Consider that I stripped the symbolism out of several different systems, and looked at numerology, geometry, different numbering systems,  and so forth. The resulting calendar contains the numerical and relational framework to support a number of rich symbolic associations. I’ve even tried my hand at it. so, I suppose one calendar can have as much significance as it need.



Breaking Down the Quarters

11 June 2014

Of the Year that is..

I was once again contemplating theAbysmal Calendar, and its market weeks, particularly as they relate to the quarter year. If we take the 364+1 model of the year, then each quarter is 91 days long, which is the same as 13 periods of 7 days, or 7 periods of 13 days. However, as theAbysmal Calendar is nothing if not overcomplicating things, has added a special calendar for market weeks. These are weeks of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 , 10, 12, 15, 18, 20 days. However, only so many of them fit within the 90 days of the market week calendar (it uses a 360 + 5 model of the year).

Market weeks that fit into a 90-day quarter: 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 15, 18 days.

I was also riffing about grouping certain market weeks together – like 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, or 2, 4, 8. I made some visualizations of it, just for kicks. The numbers are the length of the market week.

This illustration below indicates the market weeks that fit inside each quarter evenly. Yellow denotes the basic market weeks of 1 and 2 day duration, red for 3, 6, 9, 18, blue for 5, 10, 15



The next illustration (below here) shows the market weeks for the full 360-day year which are factors of 12: 2. 3. 4. 6, and 12.market-weeks-by-quarter-12


And the last examples is the binary, 1, 2, 4, 8.market-weeks-by-quarter-binary

Doesn’t really mean anything – just patterns I’m pulling out of measures of time already established. Also, makes for pretty circles…


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