bookmark_borderHTML5 metric clock

Three years ago, I added a metric clock to this blog, but I later redesigned the whole site and the clock got lost.

In the meantime, HTML5 has been getting more and more widespread, so I think it’s now time for an HTML5 metric (or decimal) clock:

Your browser is not capable of displaying an HTML canvas. 🙁

(Based on an ordinary HTML5 clock.)

Just in case any readers might have forgotten my definition of metric time and dates, here’s an edited version of what I wrote nearly five years ago:

I think the basic unit should be the day, so that we get some nice units such as deciday (slight less than 2.5 hours), centiday (almost 15 minutes) and milliday (almost a minute and a half). Just a shame there’s no SI prefix for 1/100,000, because this fraction of a day is the closest one would get to a second (0.864s, to be precise). I guess people would just say “second” in everyday speech and mean 10µday, just as “minute” would be a sloppy way of saying milliday.

Looking at longer time scales, the decaday could replace the week, the hectoday the month, and the kiloday the year. It would of course have the slight drawback that holidays wouldn’t fall on the same point in each kiloday (because it wouldn’t be aligned with the solar year), but moslems already have a similar problem with their calendar, so I’m sure we’d get used to that quickly. A ten-day week would lead to different working patterns, I guess – seven days at work and a three-day weekend, perhaps?

To honour the people who introduced the metric system in the first place, I think kilodays should be counted from the start of the French revolution, that is, day 0 would be 22nd September 1792. That would make today (12/06/12) day 80,251 (kday 80, hectoday 2, decaday 5, day 1).

bookmark_borderThe two meanings of ‘British’

Nationalists and Unionists have been having a curious little spat for the last couple of days. I think it started with Ed Miliband claiming that Scots will no longer be British if their country votes to leave the United Kingdom. Nationalists were quick to reply that given that Scotland is geographically a part of Great Britain, Scots will always be British, no matter which state they’re living in.

I do believe it’s a bit of a silly fight to get into.

It’s a matter of fact that the word British has at least two meanings in modern English:

  1. relating to, denoting, or characteristic of Great Britain [where Great Britain can then mean either just the island or include also the small adjacent islands such as Skye and the Isle of Wight] — parallel to the modern use of Scandinavian
  2. relating to, denoting, or characteristic of the United Kingdom — parallel to the occasional use of Scandinavian to refer to people from the short-lived Kingdom of Sweden and Norway

The second meaning is probably more frequent than the first for the simple reason that there isn’t any other convenient adjective describing somebody from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and it’s obviously this meaning that Ed Miliband was referring to. However, the first meaning seems more primary, and of course you can’t tell people in Scotland that they suddenly aren’t allowed to use this sense of the word.

I guess it’s related to the question of what the rUK will be called after Scottish Independence:

  1. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? It’s really not a good name when one half of Great Britain has just left.
  2. The United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland? Although Wales was part of England prior to the formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain, I doubt they’d accept this.
  3. The United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland? I’d say this is the most likely result.

However, which adjective will people use to refer to somebody or something from The United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland? Although it will annoy the Northern Irish and the Scots in equal measure, I have a feeling many English people will continue to use British. I mean, what’s the alternative? Engwalnish?

bookmark_borderTesco pretzels



Pretzels
Originally uploaded by PhylB

When I was in Tesco today, I noticed that they had started selling proper German pretzels (“Brezeln”) — i.e., chewy pretzel-shaped rolls that you eat with butter.

Given that I’m half Swabian and my great-grandfather was a pretzel baker in Stuttgart, I am very fussy when it comes to pretzels, so I was a bit apprehensive on my way home.

However, it was actually OK. The thin bits weren’t really thin enough, and therefore not crunchy enough, but the chewy bit was OK, although not quite salty enough.

I’ll definitely be buying more pretzels next time I’m in Tesco!

bookmark_borderA different country



307/365 bunting
Originally uploaded by dbtelford

This week-end’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London (and, I presume, most of England) have been somewhat strange to observe from Scotland.

Gauging from the photos I’ve seen and the comments I’ve read on Twitter, London has been drowning in excessive bunting, and companies have been trying to put the Union Jack on as many items as possible, even toilet paper (which in earlier times would surely have been seen as an act of lèse majesté).

However, Scotland has been remarkably free of bunting, street parties and British flags, apart from some events organised by the Orange Order in Glasgow (thanks, Labour).

It was probably not what the monarchists intended, but the feeling I’m left with is simply that England is a very different country from Scotland.

bookmark_borderDanish is still written here

A few years ago, I analysed the languages used in this blog, and I thought the time had come to do it again.

I expected the results would show that I’ve been using languages other than English less and less.

Here are the results (English [en] is the blue bit at the top; Danish [da] is the red bit underneath):

It was somewhat surprised when I saw the graph: Although Danish was used more for the first year or so, there haven’t been any major changes over the past couple of years (last month was 100% English, but that was clearly an exception).

I still have a niggling suspicion that I don’t use Danish as often as I used to, however. Possibly it’s to do with the length of blog postings – I have a feeling that I don’t write many long ones in Danish any more. I might try and investigate that another time.