610.1 Time Out!

When I wrote yesterday’s post, I thought it was probably more than most of my readers cared about. But what the hell, it was a continuation of a conversation, so why not.

Now I have more. Sorry about that, but I’m continuing to write Dreamsinger, and I keep running into ways in which out old time system just won’t let go.

Today I wrote a family reunion where Antrim and his sibs turned out for a party to celebrate one of their own graduating from flight school.

Family isn’t a word the Sirians use. They are turned out, eight at a time, from a DNA vat and raised in a creche by two professional parents, on alternating shifts. Sibs have a strong bond. Almost no one else does. If you were reading Dreamsinger, you wouldn’t know all that yet, since I am unfolding their culture slowly.

In a family reunion, you have to talk about age, and have people thinking back to childhood. You need the concept ‘year’, even if it just refers to human age, with no astronomical reference. I explained yesterday why YAR finds no favor, but I still need a big term.

There are 31,557,600 seconds in a terrestrial year (of 365.25 days) so let’s do what people do with grams when they need to measure something that weighs (sorry, masses) more — add a prefix, so that 1000 grams becomes one kilogram. That brings us to a kilo-det, which is about three years. Here is the small poster over in the corner of my screen, as it now stands.

SEC — 1 second — This is the same basic unit scientists have used for decades.

DEC — 10 seconds

DIN — 100 seconds — This is used as Earth dwellers would have used a minute.

DUR — 1000 seconds — This is about fifteen Earth minutes.

DEL — 10,000 seconds — This is just under three  Earth hours.

DAE — 100,000 seconds — A dae is 17% longer than a terrestrial day, which is close enough for human circadian rhythms to accommodate.

DET — 1,000,000 seconds — Used where Earth dwellers would have used week or fortnight.

KILO-DET — 1,000,000,000 seconds — About three  years.

As a writer, I would have been better off doing none of this, but I can’t help it. If my brain didn’t do odd things, I wouldn’t be writing science fiction.

I’ll leave this up for about a week and the append its contents to yesterday’s post. I don’t need three posts on one subject cluttering up the archives.

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