# A New Way Of Measuring Time

Many people think the light year is a measure of time. They may not be sure precisely how long, but some humungous, gihugic length of time, like real real long. But it is not; it is the distance light travels in a vacuum in a year. A distance. When measuring those astronomic distances, scientific notation is obscure (who knows how to add 1018 and 109 anymore?) and all those zeroes are hard to decipher. Quick, which is bigger: 27,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilometers or 31,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilometers? It's easy to see why light years were created!

But we do need a measurement for equally long periods of time. Years, even when using those big numbers, just become hard to understand. Hundreds of million of years become blended into ambiguous units of almost no meaning. We don't count in millennia, and how many years are in an eon? I propose a new unit of time: the rock-year. This is based on the interesting theory that rocks are as alive as we are. It's just that their lifespan is so much longer than ours that their frame of reference becomes much greater than ours. That's why they appear to be stationary. If something lived for 1/1000th of a second (the duration of a very quick camera shutter) we would appear to never move within their lives, and be as stolid as the Rock of Gibraltar.

So, for very long time frames, I think the rock-year a perfect solution. I define a rock-year as equivalent to 200,000,000 of our years. I assume a lifespan 0f about 14 billion years for a rock, and with the same three score and ten or so, 1/70th of that would a year. One rock-day (for instance, the time between calling for service from the cable company and actually getting it) is 1/365th of a rock year (1/366th of a rock-leap-year) or 547,945 regular years. Further division yields a rock-hour of approximately 22,831 years, and a rock-second is a mere 380 years. "Get back to you in a second" takes on a whole new meaning.

This permits the cable company to have a one day service restoration policy and not get back to you within the lifespan of any descendant of yours. If they, by some miracle, show up before the conclusion of that rock-day, they can boast about meeting all commitments and see their stock go up 10%. Think how useful this is. How long before that customer service rep calls you back? He guaranteed two hours? That's about 45,000 years, give or take a rock-second or two. Don't stay too close to the phone.

Home  Writing Directory