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From: Charles Dye <raster@highfiber.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: The calendar
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 00:17:09

mantis writes:

>Stop.  The "watch" as a unit of time is =seasonally= variable.  The long
>watches of a winter night really =are= longer than the short watches of a
>summer night (historical note: this is close to the way time was reckoned
>in Japan--the Dutch even made variable clocks for them, with levers that
>shifted through the seasons). The only time the night is really 12 hours
>long is at the equinoxes.

The lengths of hours changed in Europe, too, until about the fourteenth
century (and the invention of mechanical clocks.)  Adjusting a water
clock is not difficult:  inscribe different scales for different months.
Sundials are self-adjusting, of course.

It appears that most timepieces in the Commonwealth are of the variable-
speed kind.  Dr. Talos refers to the Autarch's star-made clock specifically
as an 'isochronon' -- suggesting that this is unusual.

>Lunar calendars have thirteen months (13 x 28 = 364).  Period.  They never
>match up to solar calendar time, but nobody cares--the seasons (solar
>determined) are floating anchor points in the Commonwealth, and on Earth
>the Islamic holidays drift from season to season.

But "the Spading Moon" suggests that there is some correspondence between
the calendar and the solar year.  I suppose you could intercalate an
entire month at need, as the Jewish calendar does....


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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