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Senior Contributor

What day is today?

In another thread, the topic of rigidity of date format arose.  This is one of my pet peeves, like why we aren't on the metric system.  U.S. bullheadedness.

What day is it if you see the format 03-05-2011?  If you are the U.S., it is March 5, 2011 unless you are in the military, where it is 3 May 2011.  If you are in Germany, it is 3 May 2011.  In fact, in most of the world it is so.  In Canada, it could be either - maybe the Canadian members can straighten me out.

Why in the world do we insist on using such as awkward construction as March 5 when everyone else sees the logic of 3 May?  Maybe it is because in much of the world people really say it is the 3rd of May, not that it is March 5th.  In other words, they say the day first, then the month.

And, when are we going to go to the 24 hour clock?  Science, aviation, the military and any profession that wants to avoid confusion uses it.  It's simple and unambiguous.  Let's meet at 7.  Of course, you could be in bed at 7 and maybe that sorts things out for you, but for some of us, we would like to know we are going to  meet at 0700 (7AM) or 1900 (7PM).  Many countries use the 24 hour clock exclusively or to the point that it is commonly understood.

If we want to get really precise, we could use UTC (Zulu) time and base everything of the base clock.  Wouldn't bother me.  Besides, I'd like to be able to get up at 1100 and feel righteous about it.

Oh, well, there is as much chance that the U.S. will get with the rest of the world as there is that we will balance the budget.

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4 Replies
Veteran Advisor

Re: What day is today?

When it comes to balance and numbers---could anyone at state or federal level count to a billion --much less a trillion???

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Re: What day is today?

Jim - here in oz we had that mongrel british system and it was hell.  I never thought I would like metric but I am sold on it now.  It is so much easier than feet and inches.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: What day is today?

In Canada no one knows unless, as many forms do, the format is indicated such as yyyy,mm,dd which is the internationly accepted format. This format allows you to continue on so you can get yyyy,mm,dd,mm(minute),ss(seconds) etc.

I think this was accepted and approved to be used internationaly in the mid 90ies ahead of the year 2000. Can look it up as I am sure there is a formal agreement about this which has probably been accepted by many countries.


I was taught in school and I still remember one teacher saying "IF you HAVE to use numbers to write the date then at least do it systematicaly, that is day month year" so your date would be 3rd day of May 2011. She of course preffered the month written out as a word, extra marks maybe?

That said all formats can and are used in Canada.

I thought for a while there was a move to use the yy/mm/dd format but just checked a form that I recently filled out for the government and I see it is dd/mm/yy.

So your example without the 4 numerals at the end, 03/05/11 could be read three different ways unless you indicate which each number represents

2003, May 11   (international format)

3rd of May 2011   (the way I was taught) or

May 3rd 2011   (obviously the wrong waySmiley Very HappySmiley Wink)

BTW I set my computer to generate dates with the month written out so cheques and reports are issued with date as 3-May-2011 do not think it allows me the international format but program is almost 10 years old now.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Metric

Metric IS the way to go! So much easier.

Canada changed to the metric system about 35 years ago and people here curse it all the time. Not because it is bad but because they are always converting back to the old system. Farmers continue to sell their corn in 56lb units that they call 'bushels' (check the definition for bushel and you find it is a measurement for volumn and if you want to be accurate you would have to indicate which bushel you are talking about since there are several different sizes) The grain is then delivered and weighed in tonnes or actually kgs. The reason?, farmers do not want to change and they say Chicago is in 56lb units.

Many/most farmers still farm 'acres' saying they do not want to convertto hectares and no government is going to make them convert! Then they go and pick up fertilizer which is priced and weighed out in tonnes, take it home and convert the weight to lbs so they can spread it on their 'acres'.

Harvest their crops and weigh them in kgs, then convert the weight to lbs and then convert it to 56 or 60 lb units to talk about their yield and sell it priced in these units but of course when they deliver it the scales measure it in tonnes.

And these farmers are glad they showed the government that they could not make them convert.

I chose the easy way. I farm hectares, spread fertilizer in kgs/ha, harvest tonnes and express my yield in kgs/ha. and as I posted in another thread about measuring grain in bins it is so easy to calculate yield in metric too.

So you think the US is bullheaded about using the easier system look at Canadian farmers (at least most of them) to see true bullheaded. No one is going to make them convert anything!!!!!!

BTW I believe your military uses metric for all things.


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