Wimminz – celebrating skank ho's everywhere

May 31, 2014

The system, part 2

Filed under: Wimminz — Tags: — wimminz @ 11:35 am

Because people do not realise just how much how we have evolved to do things in day to day business affects our available options on an ongoing basis, I’m going to take another look at this.

Let’s start with a small example, unix/posix/epoch time, which is counted in seconds, and started 1st January 1970.

There are 31,556,925.9936 seconds in one year, that’s one real year, not a gregorian year, or a julian year, or a standard SI year… you see where this is going already.

If you use gregorian time, and you were born on the 31st May 1984 then today would be your 30th birthday, happy birthday to you… if we used unix time then depending on what time of day you were born, you would have been born about 454,878,843, and as I type this it is 1,401,524,787, and you would not have had any birthdays, because there aren’t any recurring periods like a date every year in an incremental numbering system like unix time.

Back when I was a boy, for money we had pounds, shillings and pence, 12 pennies to the shilling, 20 shillings (240 pence) to the pound, there was also the guinea, which was 21 shillings, expensive stuff like land was usually priced in guineas.

When decimalisation came in, we were told it was because it was easier for the mainframe computers of the day that were starting to be used, and of course I was too young to realise that computers worked in binary, and excel math rounding programming errors aside, it makes no fucking difference whatsoever to a computer what base you count stuff in, base 10 is as alien as the old base12/base20 monetary system.

Of course the real reason was to move the UK from one currency, that just happened to be called Pounds Sterling, a nice Roman currency, to a new currency, that just happened to be called Pounds Sterling, and which, on the face of it, had an approximately similar value on the days during which transition took place, but which behind the scenes allowed all sorts of new shenanigans to go on.

In the shops in the old system, the smallest monetary unit was the farthing, one fourth of a penny, now, you can’t have “rounding errors” in such a system, an apple was either three ha’pence, 1.5 D or old pennies, or three ha’pence and a farthing, 1.75 D

(LSD was libre, solidus and denare, from the old Roman, and a penny was literally a penny weight, and literally worth it’s weight in silver, 240 pennyweights of silver was a pound of silver, hence the pound sterling (silver))

Rounding errors are a function of applying math to numbers that can only be expressed in integers, or in the case of old pennies ha’pennies and farthings, quarter integers, divide 1 by 3 in decimal, you get errors, £1 = 100p /3 = 33.333 recurring pence, so you can take 33p or 33.5p or 34p

In the old money, incidentally, £1 / 3 = 240d / 3 = 80d = 6s 8d, exactly… the old system was a lot more user friendly when it came to what we can call real world maths, 240d is divisible exactly between 2 people, and 3 people, and 4 people, and 5 people, and 6 people, not quite by 7, as each would get 2s 10d and a farthing, with only one farthing, or one 960th of the whole left over, unless you used guineas, 21 s, easily divisible by 7, but back to the basic progression, and by 8 people,  by 9 is like by 7, and by 10, so you see the huge and practical flexibility, this is WHY these numbers and number bases came in to use in the first place, to get back to the point.

When you do math, you get rounding errors…. let’s look at 7.5%, which was the higher rate of VAT (value added tax) back in the day, which, oh, wait, yes, coincidentally came in less than a fucking year after decimalisation had finished… 7.5% of something on sale for 99p is 7.425p

But, when you have a numerical system that incorporates two separate number bases, 12 pence to the shilling, and 20 shillings to the pound, you can do the sums one way, and I can do the sums another way, and both ways are correct, but we get slightly different answers, which is even worse than having things like 7.425p, because you might get 0.495p as a remainder, and I might get 0.505p as a remainder, and so you round down and I round up, and suddenly your calculations on my books and my calculations on my books, come up with different answers…

And there is also the little issue of historical, as in going back a thousand years, associations to being backed by precious metal, in this case silver, literally the penny weight, so it’s not fiat is it.

But no, the old system has to go because computers only like decimal, and it’s the computer age donchaknow, and besides, everyone else is decimal too innit.

Now we essentially have no non-decimal systems left in the world, the UK was the last to have a non decimal system, and that ended 43 years ago, so unless you are English and 60, you can’t remember working and being paid in Lsd, or over 50ish, you can’t remember using the old money or getting it for pocket money, so you have no practical knowledge of how good it was in many ways.

And so you have no idea how much the world changed for us, hell. even we didn’t fucking know, it took a long time for the system to manifest itself to any degree.. you put ten saints in a room and make it a rule that you cannot say anything less naughty than the least naughty thing any of the other nine have said, come back in three months and they’ll be discussing whether to barbecue or spit roast babies after they have been gang-banged to death.

Go back to unix time, no birthdays, no birthdays = no vote, no draft, no age of consent… it also means no annual taxation, no mortgages.

Much of western civilisation, or what we take for western civilisation, vanishes overnight, but how many of these things are actually necessary for LIFE, or even for TECHNOLOGY and SCIENCE?

Arguably unix time *is* scientific, so it illustrates clearly the differences between time-KEEPING and calendar accounting, after all, public time only came in so workers could keep the bosses happy by getting to work together “on time”, and Greenwich Mean Time only came about because Brunel’s Great Western Railway needed a standardised time-table, not one based on local times, which were different from London times, especially here in the west, by several minutes.

Indeed, unix time is still BEHIND most of our transactions, that are then translated into calendar time, for accounting purposes, classic…

Now, public arguments are being made, not for the first time, but seriously, by those in power, that we should do away with cash altogether, after all, most of us hardly use it for anything any more.

I’m not even saying that this is a BAD thing, but, if experience has taught me anything, it is that this is yet another expansion of the system, and it will have consequences that we cannot predict, some of them good, some of them bad, some of them trivial, some of them profound.

I could, were it legal, set up my own digital currency, in any number based system I liked, I could even make some pretence at backing it with computational cycles, or precious metals, or Btu / kwh, and only acceptance and exchange would differentiate it from other world digital currencies.

Whether it truly becomes a virtual currency is an interesting question, if we all carry electronic wallets that carry our actual digital cash, bonk to pay, then it is as good as cash, as long as your virtual wallet and mine are working, we can exchange monies, but, if we have electronic wallets that are no more than authentication, like todays debit card, then you and I need a middle man, and this is the essential difference that you need to keep you eye on.

You want a real world example? Imagine a world where only car dealers can buy or sell cars, if I want to buy your car, we have to go to a dealer to do the arbitrage…


  1. >and make it a rule that you cannot say anything less naughty than the least naughty thing any of the other nine have said,

    Wrong, they would all be repeating the same prayer forever. Greater or equals and all that. 🙂

    Comment by Digger Nick — May 31, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

    • Meh, except that goes against everything we know about human nature..lol

      Comment by wimminz — May 31, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

  2. You want a real world example? Imagine a world where only car dealers can buy or sell cars, if I want to buy your car, we have to go to a dealer to do the arbitrage…

    Just like gold

    Comment by Tim — May 31, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

  3. ” . . .it will have consequences that we cannot predict . . .”

    The fact that the middleman can take all the “money” I “have,” and eliminate any ability to aquire more, all at a keystroke, is about all I need to predict.

    Comment by kfg — June 1, 2014 @ 1:26 am

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