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Metric time is the practice of applying metric prefixes to time measurements. It uses the second as its base unit of time, rather than the more conventional measurements which are based on the day.

Problems Edit

Problems arise when when using metric time. Values below 10-3 and above 103 quickly become impractical for measuring human activities.

Multiple Name of Unit Seconds Minutes Hours Days Years
10-3 millisecond 0.001 0.0000167  
10-2 centisecond 0.01 0.000167  
10-1 decisecond 0.1 0.00167  
100 second 1  
101 decasecond 10 0.167  
102 hectosecond 100 1.667 0.028  
103 kilosecond 1,000 16.667 0.278  
104 myriasecond* 10,000 166.667 2.778 0.116  
105 metric day** 100,000 1 666.667 27.778 1.158 0.003
106 megasecond 1,000,000 16 666.667 277.778 11.574 0.032
109 gigasecond 1,000,000,000 16,666,666.667 277,777.778 11,574.074 31.710
107 and 108 are currently not defined
* The "myria" prefix was abrogated (officially retired) in 1960.
** "Metric day" is an unofficial/ad hoc definition.

Likewise, adding metric prefixes to units of time such as the week also results in values that are difficult to use. Examples:

  • Megaweek: 1,000,000 weeks (230,137.32 months or 19,178.11 years or 1.917 millenia)
  • Kiloday: 1,000 days (33.333 months or 2.740 years)
  • Decafortnight: 10 fortnights (140 days or 4.667 months or 0.384 years)
  • Teramonth: 1,000,000,000,000 months (83,333,333,333 years or 83.33 aeons)
  • Novemquadraweek: 73 days (343 days or 49 weeks or 0.940 years)

In the last example, the name alone is more cumbersome than simply saying "forty-nine weeks".

While the metric system provides a uniform way of counting time, implementing it requires a significant number of decimal places used for the values and becomes cumbersome, especially when compared with measurements based on the rotation of the Earth on its axis and around the sun, such as the day, year and longer measurements like the millennium.

For example, there are 295 days before October 23 in a year that is not a leap year, which equals 25,488,000 seconds. 2:57 p.m. and 47 seconds on October 23 adds 1,126,667 seconds, for a total of 26,614,667 seconds. Expressing this as gigaseconds equals 0.00026614667 gigaseconds.

External links Edit

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