Of Hours and Days

We lurched into Daylight Saving Time this morning. It always seems an imposition to me, and even more this year when we’re forced to re-set clocks 3 weeks earlier than ever, and will live with it for an additional week next fall.

I know. Except for high noon (which we must now expect at 1:00 PM) , there are no natural hours of the day. They are artifacts of our division of the length of day into 24 pieces, 12 on and 12 off. It means nothing. (Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12-hour_clock for more on the subject.)

If we had been of a metrical frame of mind, we would have a day measured in 10 hours of 100 minutes each. (Go to this one to start a long run of links about time systems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Time_measurement _systems) (Long link; paste if you have to.)

But I like my noon to come at celestial noon. This may be a simplistic view. Maybe it’s part of this Simple Life we are after out here. Nevertheless, the imposition of Daylight Saving Time, which leaves me standing in the predawn darkness at 6:30 in the morning again (we had regained some daylight last month) feels like a manipulation by the government. I am more than a ready participant in energy saving plans, but here’s the rub: get me up at dawn, and I will be turning on the electric lights.

So many minutes, so many hours, day by day, planet by planet. I suppose it has to be organized somehow. Here’s an older view of the matter.

Primum enim diem a Sole appellaverunt, qui princeps est omniun siderum, sicut et idem dies caput est cunctorum dierum. Secundum a Luna, quae Soli et splendore et magnitudine proxima est, et ex eo mutuat lumen. Tertium ab stella Martis, quae Vesper vocatur. Quartum ab stella Mercurii, quam quidam candidum circulum dicunt. Quintum ab stella Iovis, quam Phaethontem aiunt. Sextum a Veneris stella, quam Luciferum asserunt, quae inter omnia sidera plus lucis habet. Septimus ab stella Saturni, quae sexto caelo locata triginta annis fertur explere cursum suum.

The above came from http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/isidore/5.shtml

My Latin is not so good. But I can see the names of the days of the week here, counting from one through seven, and I know the hours of the day are linked to the reckoning from dawn on each day. I think we can forgive Isidore for thinking the planets are stars. It’s remarkable enough he knew their connection to the counting of time in days.

Would that we were so observant of the world around us.

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Published in: Uncategorized on March 11, 2007 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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