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Count all dates from, well, now
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In a world of cultural relativism, we need a relative calendar, too.

Archaeologists use BCE to stand for "Before Current Era" (or "Before Common Era", which makes even less sense) as a thinly-veiled euphemism for "Before Christ", but that really doesn't cut it, as it is still pretty clear which particular Era we are talking about. It's a religious- and culture-specific reference that perforce insults anyone with other beliefs every time they have to write a date.

We live in a digital world, but the internal clocks used by computers all use entirely arbitrary reference points, that are then translated into the human frame of reference of years and months, hours and minutes.

Since our clocks are thus translated from arbitrary systems, it is no big deal to have them be translated into any arbitrary calendar/time system - witness Internet time. Moreover, most historical records these days are computerized, so it is likewise a simple matter to revise the records to match any new scheme we come up with.

So let's use this opportunity to remove all cultural bias from the Calendar, and simply base it on today. All years will be counted from now. Last year will be 1BN. Since we are living in the present, this year always starts tomorrow, and is 1AN.

A month from now will be January 1AN, two months February 1AN, and so on. Last month will be December of last year (1BN).

I think we may still have to let the days roll by, or everyone's work and school schedules are going to all get messed up. Alternative suggestions welcome.

[P.S. Only calendar-specific postings, please. Anyone who gets their knickers in a twist over religious issues will be summarily and heavy-handedly zapped.]

DrCurry, Sep 05 2002

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       So what year where you born? How will that be written on a document so that it is still correct in 14 months from now?
gootyam, Sep 05 2002
  

       If you want to renumber years, where has year 0 gone? The absence of year 0 can cause havoc when writing computer programs that need dates.   

       Also, do only the years go into reverse - should the day before 1 January 1AN not be 1 January 1BN, (I know, I'm ignoring the point I've just made for readability reasons), which was preceded by 2 January 1BN?   

       It's all pretty arbitrary anyway. We could obliterate this whole Before/After business by simply dating things from the creation of the universe. Today is 5 September 15,000,000,000+then some.
PeterSilly, Sep 05 2002
  

       What about the Y15000000K computer problem?
gootyam, Sep 05 2002
  

       [ravens] - more people are living past 100 now than at any time in the past. Working for a building society we had an account holder who lived past their 100th birthday - it caused all sorts of problems as the computer decided that their parents should have power of attorney over their account. Also it doesn't help - George I (14-27), George II (27-60), George III (60-20), who was king in 19?   

       [gooty] - Naughties/Noughties
PeterSilly, Sep 05 2002
  

       He said a *good* name.
-alx, Sep 05 2002
  

       gootyam: read the idea again. Everything is computerized these days and all dates will automatically be corrected.
PeterSilly: I completely fail to see why months should go in reverse; we are applying present conventions, after all.
ravenswood: one thing we can all agree on is when "now" is. My scheme also avoids the problem of which day is "today" when you're in different time zones.
DrCurry, Sep 05 2002
  

       waugs: My point is that the starting date for the calendar is always "now": for example, whenever you sign a check, you wil always date it "0/0/0". (Tomorrow the check will automatically be redated "12/31/-1".)
DrCurry, Sep 05 2002
  

       DrC: I feel it was unfair of you to delete my annotation. There was nothing their to start a religious flame war, merely points that argue against your reasons of 'religious oppression' being caused by a calendar. If you say the reason for creating a new calendar is to do with religion, then surely in this instance, your entire idea should be deleted?
[ sctld ], Sep 05 2002
  

       I'm quite certain my annotation was calendar specific. About this particular calendar idea, in fact. I pointed out a flaw in your logic. You deleted my comment without responding to the flaw. Don't delete this one... I didn't say the "r" word.   

       This doesn't make any sense,. What is today's date on your calendar? If today is always just 'now'... there's no point in saying tomorrow is Jan 1 AN, since, when it arrives, it will no longer be Jan 1 AN. This renders the calendar useless as far as I can tell.
waugsqueke, Sep 05 2002
  

       If I have an appointment next September about this same time, how shall I schedule it?   

       We should use stardates. Have the computer spit out some completely random number, assign it to a period of time, and then in order to refer to that time, you just look up the number...
RayfordSteele, Sep 05 2002
  

       yama/bliss: trying to cut down on both rants and chitchat. Sorry.
[ sctld ]: you mentioned a religion, so I was just erring on the safe side.
waugs: you also mentioned a religion, but I think I answered your point above. Today's date is "0/0/0". Tomorrow is January 1, 1AN. A week from now is January 7, 1AN. A year from today is January 1, 2AN. *However*, when we get to a week from now, the date then *will* be 0/0/0; today will have become 12/24/-1. If bliss's birthday is normally October 17, then it becomes, today only, February 11. Tomorrow, the date will still be 0/0/0, while bliss's birthday will be 2/10/1. And so on.
  

       It doesn't matter that it's confusing, since we can just let the computers figure it all out.
DrCurry, Sep 05 2002
  

       If I understand you correctly, this is proposing that *now* is taken as a relative (rather than absolute) reference date.   

       So I sign a cheque *now*. Hand it to shop owner. He cashes at some point in future; the cashier sees the date is *now* and cashes it.   

       I sign check with a future date (say tomorrow) because I want it cashed later... shop owner attempts to cash it tomorrow and cashier tells him sorry sir it can't be cashed until tomorrow.   

       So *if* my understanding was correct, the idea can't work because, for a meaningful understanding of the date, there must be a universal 'absolute' reference point. Alternatively if you are proposing to take an arbitrary day and reference calendars, ok - but why? Just to avoid historical bias?
Jinbish, Sep 05 2002
  

       i don't wanna be mean or anything....but this idea sucks
amazing, Sep 05 2002
  

       Baked by the Khmer Rouge surely?
namaste, Sep 06 2002
  

       This is a very, very silly idea.
hippo, Sep 06 2002
  

       I think I see what you're aiming at. Today is always a "non-day", with tomorrow always being New Years Day and yesterday always being New Years Eve.   

       What would you do with orbiting spacecraft who spend some of their time in today and some in either yesterday or tomorrow (eg. as I write (9:30am UK time), Alaska and Hawaii are in yesterday)?   

       I was hoping for a more mathematical calendar. If we have to have a zero point, then dates/years on either side of that zero point should mirror each other (ie, the day before 0/0/0 would be 1 Jan -1, preceded by 2 Jan -1. Removal of the zero point removes all such issues.   

       And what do you do when you have to sign and date something on paper? "Your honour, that evidence is inadmissable. He didn't sign it 3 years ago - it's dated with today's date."
PeterSilly, Sep 06 2002
  

       Which "NOW"?, my now, your now, or someonelses now?
IvanIdea, Sep 06 2002
  

       Wouldn't this make the "Really, really half-baked Calendar" redundant?
angel, Sep 06 2002
  

       ravenswood: That's the whole point.
hippo/angel: ditto.
jinbish: nope. If checks haven't become entirely obsolete, you date the check "1/1/1" so the cashier can deposit it the next day. When the chasier goes to deposit it on the next day, the date on the check has automatically been revised to "0/0/0" (see below), so it is valid.
PeterSilly: we will all be using electronic paper; the date will be adjusted automatically. I don't know if orbiting spacecraft have to worry about dates; in any case, all the calculations are done by computer, and they will still be using some arbitrary internal reference point, since that's the way people program dates.
thumbwax: that would be a religion.
DrCurry, Sep 06 2002
  

       //The date on the check has automatically been revised//   

       Fair enough...Damn my thinking inside the box! I forgot all about the electronic paper! (Shouldn't we half-bake that first?)   

       // so it is likewise a simple matter to revise the records to match any new scheme we come up with.//   

       But what if the date isn't written down. Or if some asks me what my birthdate is? I'll have to keep count of how many days have passed since I last remembered! I'd also have to work out how many days are left until my birthday.
I'm quite happy with the Gregorian calendar. It still plays me for a fool with its misuse of February, but I forgive it.
Jinbish, Sep 06 2002
  

       Notes DrCurry is The AntiChrist ; )
thumbwax, Sep 06 2002
  

       We knew that already.
angel, Sep 06 2002
  

       //let's remove all cultural bias from the Calendar//

You could start by moving away from the strange concept of years, months and weeks. Days should be all that's required. Or perhaps we should reduce it down to a calendar based only on seconds, although they also have a cultural component. Hmm! Perhaps we need a new definition of time altogether before we can invent a new way of keeping track of it.

Jinbish, electronic paper exists already. It's called Credit and Debit cards.
DrBob, Sep 06 2002
  

       //electronic paper exists already//   

       Just need to ensure that it exists whenever you need to sign title deeds, application forms, correspondence, contracts, ...   

       I think [Jinbish]'s point about birthdays is the killer. However, on the plus side you would never have to bother about Christmas. On the minus side you could never claim that it's the weekend.
PeterSilly, Sep 06 2002
  

       No fears, rave. I've found that hydrogen is quite well known multi-universally.
waugsqueke, Sep 06 2002
  
      
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