« the colours of bruises | Main | friendly service »

September 26, 2011

Comments

flyingrodent

I find it very hard to believe that Boris actually gives a damn about this load of bollocks. He doesn't strike me as the type.

On the other hand, he does strike me as exactly the type who would go through the motions, if he was being paid or if there was a vote or two in it.

Related - I've long wondered why yer internet wingnuts are so worried that the elitist Guardianistas and so on are looking down their noses at them for being stupid, when their own newspapers treat them with such open contempt.

ajay

I've long wondered why yer internet wingnuts are so worried that the elitist Guardianistas and so on are looking down their noses at them

Why are opinionated people on the internet so upset at the thought that a few Guardian readers might not like them? A mystery for the ages.

Ken MacLeod

In Edgar Pangborn's post-apocalypse novel Davy (I think) there's a scheme by one of the characters to change all written or printed dates by adding 4000 years to them, so the 20th century becomes the 60th, etc. This is motivated partly by anti-Christian sentiment, but also to give people a better sense of historical perspective.

I like it.

Cian

This Jesus fellow has never mattered that much over a lot of the world, except to the extent that his fans forced their beliefs on local attention.

Hmmph, what about the way in which the protestants single-handedly made China a capitalist country?

ajay

Ken MacLeod: I think the Long Now foundation (the chaps with the big clock) have a similar intention, except they want everyone to start using five-digit years, so that this would be the year 02011.

Charlie W

The fair solution is to pick (randomly) some large-ish number n, declare the current year to be -n, then begin the long, slow countdown to year zero. Who knows what year zero will bring?

Alex

I thought it was universally accepted that time began on the 1st January, 1970. At least that's what time.time() tells me, and as you know, computers are never wrong unless they are members of the Great Heresy. Oh, right.

Barry Freed

This is just so utterly stupid that I have a hard time believing it didn't start over here first with the impetus coming from Fox News and Glen Beck or Bill O'Reilly. (Kind of like how I can never quite believe that incident where a mob attacked a pediatrician because they thought that meant pedophile happened in the UK instead of somewhere in Ohio or Oklahoma or even New York.)

CE/BCE has been around for a very long time and its earliest widespread adoption has been in the field of Religious Studies.

He didn't make it as far as China but as a better candidate for the beggining of our common era I'd propose it begin with the death of Alexander the Great.

ajay

Charlie: a gradually increasing sense of dread and panic, a lot of bad films, and a terrific party, I should imagine.
Myself, I like AD, because, you know, Judge Dredd.
Maybe best to start from the beginning, ie the most distant recorded event that can be reliably dated, which is as close as one can get to the start of history. I wonder what that would be?

chris y

Please, somebody, what's the significance of 2746, it's been driving me mad for days?

Richard J

AUC, chris.

Richard J

ie the most distant recorded event that can be reliably dated, which is as close as one can get to the start of history. I wonder what that would be?

Not Egyptian, I doubt, as the dates normally given in books are extrapolations from only partially complete king's lists - IIRC, we can only reliably correlate from about the Ptolemies.

The Mayan long count's first date is August 11, 3114 BCE, but that's fairly obviously an arbitrary starting point. And although accurate, it's a bloody nightmare to understand.

CMcM

The Wikipedia article on a.u.c didn't fill me with confidence that the founding of Rome was particularly securely dated either.

So I suggest we start a campaign to have the world wide dating system recalibrated from the starting point of 6 February 1965 - Stanley Matthew's last game in the first team - in honour of our host.

ajay

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3141018?seq=5

2421 BC, according to this paper on Egyptian calendars.

If we want the earliest known date to the day it's 28/5/585 BC, the Battle of Halys (datable due to a helpful solar eclipse).

Possibly the Battle of Kadesh, which involves the earliest historical account of something and the earliest international agreement; 1274 BC.

The Battle of Megiddo is a bit earlier - 1457 - but there seems to be some question over whether the date is completely accurate.
I rather like it, though, because I like the thought of humanity's common recorded history beginning at Armageddon.

Richard J

Looking at more recent scholarship in light of the link (and reading the article closely it makes some, interesting assumptions), suggests that a date in the reign of Senusret III can be tied to the Sothic cycle, although the Wikipedia article on the 12th dynasty frustratingly has [citation needed] on this specific point.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelfth_dynasty_of_Egypt

(And the Wikipedia link on the Sothic cycle disproves the earliest date.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sothic_cycle

Barry Freed

That article is a bit long in the tooth, Ajay.

I would have expected an earliest known date to be possibly Babylonian but I guess not.

So I suggest we start a campaign to have the world wide dating system recalibrated from the starting point of 6 February 1965 - Stanley Matthew's last game in the first team - in honour of our host.

I endorse this for the additional reasons that it's almost exactly a month after I was born and also upon reading about Matthews I see he was not only a great man and a great footballer but he was also a mensch.

chris y

This year AUC would be 2764, by the standard calculation (753 BCE). I thought of that and checked.

Chris Williams

Let's put a transposition error check digit in our new system. So it would be 1234 X

Richard J

I suspect Mine Host might suffer the same issue I do and occasionally transpose digits when copying numbers. Problematic for a journo, dangerous for an accountant.

ajay

Costly for a trader.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article755598.ece

This one got confused and instead of selling one share for 600,000 yen, sold 600,000 shares for one yen.

jamie

Yes, I'd transposed 753 for 735. On that basis, my sums added up.

Chris Williams

I still think that adding the check digit would work in that it would annoy all the right people, but for a variety of different reasons. As far as I'm concerned it's (2*4 + 0*3 + 1*2 +1*1 = 11 => 0) "2011-0" this year.

Mordaunt

In Edgar Pangborn's post-apocalypse novel Davy (I think) there's a scheme by one of the characters to change all written or printed dates by adding 4000 years to them, so the 20th century becomes the 60th, etc. This is motivated partly by anti-Christian sentiment, but also to give people a better sense of historical perspective.

It would be popular in some circles on the grounds that it gave more or less the correct age for the date of the world, as well. ;)

A representative cross section of books pulled off my bookshelf which might need to specify whether a date was AD or BC tended to prefer the BC/ AD formulation (including such notorious right-wing Christian apologists as Chris Harman, G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, Robin Lane Fox and Perry Anderson), FWIW. A couple of scholars (Martin Goodman, Mary Beard) use different formulations in different books which may indicate a change of heart one way or t'other but more likely indicates the publishers preferences. Interestingly when I was taught Old Testament studies by a clergyman he was adamant that the BCE/ CE formulation was preferable.

Being intensely boring my own view is that none of this actually matters as long as it is clear when a dateable event happened. Which is why BC/ AD or BCE/ CE convention is preferable to any newly minted stardate system (even the Stanley Matthews one, sadly) or, indeed, a revival of the ancient Roman dating system on the grounds of the historical existence of Romulus and Remus.

chris y

Mary Beard is currently debating this on her blog and tentatively suggesting that (she doesn't much give a shit but)AD/BC is less likely to be misheard when spoken. From a lecturer's or teacher's point of view that's probably a sound argument, but I don't think it'll carry the rest of us.

I advocated the French Revolutionary Calendar in comments, but nobody has taken it up so far.

Malcs

I like Ajay's suggestion and am grateful to Barry for making me read up on Stanley Matthews - hadn't realised how brilliant the man was. But my vote goes to the Pataphysical calendar:

http://user.icx.net/~richmond/rsr/pataphysique/pataphysique.html

belle le triste

The Theosophists date the foundering of Atlantis to the year 9,565 BC. I once got a book out of Hackney Library which claimed to have uncovered the year, month, day and time of day, and screamed all this information from the cover, as the main reason to read the book.

(Other memorable facts unearthed in this book: Basque is a form of Japanese, hence Atlantean is the master-tongue of both nations...)

Anyway, I say we go Lovecraftian in this project, and count from the founding of R'lyeh.

Richard J

Big measurement problem, that:-

That is not dead which can eternal lie

And with strange aeons even death may die."

How many aeons is a strange?

ajay

You mean we count Ab Urbe Submerso?

Richard J

At times, I'm tempted to take the very solipistic position and measure everything Ante Rigidus Rex I. [1] Any date before this is purely arbitrary, and therefore irrelevant.


[1] Anyone pointing out that this should be in the second-declension ablative or some such nonsense will be stared at. Hard.

ajay

-- Ri..gi...do. Now write out the correct version a hundred times in the comments section. And if it's not done by sunrise I'll cut your pseudonym off.

-- Oh, yes, sir, thank you, sir, hail Sternberg and everything, sir.

ejh

This is the only time in my life I've seen the word "pataphysical" in any other context than the Beatles.

Martin Wisse

Not a Soft Machine fan than?

ejh

I'm Googling, I'm getting YouTube links, they say 8min... it's not promising, is it?

Phil

Get on with you. One minute tops.

ejh

Well I certainly lasted less than a minute.

"Introduction", indeed.

The comments to this entry are closed.

friends blogs

blobs

Blog powered by Typepad

my former home