Apr 01 2012
NIAGARA FALLS, NY- Officials on both sides of the US-Canadian border are scrambling to figure out how to best handle the impending conversion of Canada to the Metric Time System. “This [metric time conversion] creates a logistical nightmare to Rainbow Bridge authorities as well as our local airports, train stations and other transportation hubs,” stated Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls, New York.
Many citizens are being caught by surprise as the preparations for this transformation have gone largely unnoticed by the public. It seems major media outlets have miscalculated the impact this is going to have on the United States’ ability to synchronize markets, television broadcasts and transportation concerns, and have not been covering the upcoming conversion and it’s fierce opposition in Canadian Parliament.
Metric Time Concerns Parliament, March 2012
Canada converted to the Metric System in 1973 to catch up to Europe, (who mostly converted in the late 60’s). American students studied hard to learn the Metric System throughout the 70’s and were told conversion, or “metrication” would be complete by the 1980’s. These plans, however, were abandoned by the 1990’s. The United States’ failure to convert was largely blamed on the tremendous cost to manufacturers, but proof of that has never been established.
Now in a new millennium, we are faced with the hard reality that the rest of the world that is on Metric, is now facing the May 1, 2012 deadline to convert to Metric Time. Countries have already become used to converting speed (miles/meters), weight (pounds/grams), and temperature, (Fahrenheit/Celsius). Now international interests must calibrate all of our schedules so that we can interact successfully for business and travel on the new time scale.
For those of you not savvy on Metric Time, we have a quick review. The Metric System is based on the number ten, or the decimal system. Hours are an antiquated division of the day, based on the archaic dozen measurements. (Twelve numbers on a clock, two dozen hours in a day). Metric Time divides the day into “Chrons”, that is the new measurement of time. The Latin root for time, chron is the root word and will be further defined by the divisions of tens.
Each day will have ten units of time, or chrons, beginning with the zero and ending at ten. This can best be compared to hours. Each chron will then be divided into “Decachrons” and “Centichrons”. Precision timing (used in racing and scientific experimentation) will require the use of “Millichrons and Kilichrons”.
“The round faced clock is about to become extinct!” declared Sherman Zavitz, Historian for Niagara Falls, Ontario. And it’s true; Canadians and Europeans will use only digital clocks. In fact, municipalities all over Ontario are already spending a great deal of tax payer funds to install new clocks in every building. In order to integrate people classrooms and offices all over Canada are required to have a round face clock displaying Old Standard Time and a digital clock displaying Metric Time in every room.
As Americans, we better learn to adapt or face a true obstacle in the world market. When we were children our society resisted the change to the Metric System. Canadians had to embrace this change and are confident another generation can again successfully usher in a new era of scientific accuracy and standards that will align themselves with the E.U.
A rotation around the sun (almost exactly 24 hours) is going to be divided into ten units or chrons. Each chron will have 100 centichrons. Centichrons can be most comparable to minutes. 12:00 AM will be 00:00. (Pronounced zero chron zero). 12:PM (noon) will be exactly half way through the day, half of ten is five so it will be 05:00 (pronounced five chron zero). The most difficult adjustment will be understanding that there are one hundred centichrons in a chron, so clocks will go to 99. For example, you may have a scheduled dinner party at 07:80 (prounounced seven chron eighty). The workday will begin at 9am for Americans, but for Canadians it will begin at 3:75, or “three chron seventy five”. Metric time is applauded for totally eliminating the confusion between AM and PM. Right before our midnight, when we are seeing 11:59 on our clock? Canadians will see 9:99.
Until we do, Americans have several options to stay synchronized with their Canadian neighbors and business partners. Both Apple and Android have created a Metric Time Converter App, which you can download for free here. The United States Bureau of Weights & Measurements has a constant online Metric Time Converter Website. Or, to be really up to date in your home and office, you can purchase a Digital Metric Clocks- but they are selling out quickly. Some can be found on eBay at a tremendous mark up.