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August 09, 2006

2 Thermidor CCXIV


"What time is it, Citizen?"
"It is exactly five seventy-five".

The Flea is no fan of the metric system let alone its impetus in a de-humanizing revolutionary irrationalism that so fervently imagines human lives can be abbreviated into units of ten.* That said, I am now desperate to own a French Republican calendar clock; surely the dernier cri in ironical office decor (examples here).

Fabien Chicha considers the subject alongside some achingly wonderful watches. Must. Have. Revolutionary. Time-piece! He points out the urge to fiddle with time did not end with the Revolution.

Proof of this is the recent attempt made by the Swatch firm to establish a new international time standard for users of the internet in order to abolish the constraints of time zones. The idea, which divided the day into 1000 equal “.beats” was not a resounding success.

Swatch Internet Time does not begin to approach the silliness of all manner of public policy. And I can see some of these Revolutionary fashions making a comeback as soon as the House of Flea is in business.

*That is a sentence horribilis but I am too distracted just now to chop it up into two proper sentences. So, sorry about that.

Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one's enemies Update: Christopher Hitchens considers Leon Trotsky on Radio 4 (via the Drink-soaked Trots).

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 9, 2006 10:54 AM


Thermidor... isn't that some kinda seafood dish in a cream sauce, covered with cheese and browned?

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2006 02:37 PM

The way metric’s units for length, mass, temperature, and so forth all interlock makes it a nifty system for scientific calculation, but otherwise it might as well have been concocted on the floating island of Laputa. Why is it more “scientific” to base everyday measurements on a unit one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the equator than to use acres and feet? Anyone who cooks knows that the traditional units are easier to manipulate than grams and milliliters, and they nest in a binary manner that’s much easier to multiply and divide than metric’s decimal “logic.”

Having said that, I wants me one of those revolutionary decimal clocks. A cat clock with moving eyes and tail and a decimal dial would be the ultimate, but that’s probably too much to hope for.

Posted by: utron [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2006 05:39 PM