At Home in Nature

  (Agate, Colorado)
TwoInTents Blog
[ Member listing ]

In a jiffy or a moment?

We use the words daily without thinking of them.  But we have to remember that units of measurement have becoming increasingly standardized and based on units of ten.  Long before meter / foot debate began, long before we were using dollars made of 100 cents, long before we were using only hours, minutes and seconds to define our day, units of time were also of various unstandardized lengths.  Most of these are leftovers from lunar or stellar calendars when years were divided by 360 days and each week was 6 days (look in the Bible for references to when the 7th day was invented during a transition from the Paleolithic stellar to the lunar calendar, long before the solar calendar was invented).  They just don’t mean much of anything any more.  For example, a moment is a medieval unit of time equal to 1.5 minutes or 1/40 of an hour.  This seems arbitrary, except that it was 1/4 of a minute, which before mechanical clocks, used to be measured at 1/10 of an hour.  A jiffy (while redefined as 1/60 of a second in modern times) used to mean as fast as lightning flashed.  So, next time someone asks you to wait a moment, start your watch and count down!

RSS feed for At Home in Nature blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader