Thinking - Not time like the percent

I wonder if our current wacky time system has any psychological side effects. If humans think $4.99 is still in the $4 range, then perhaps we think something odd about time.

Perhaps a stopwatch showing 1:50:00 is a bit close to one and a half hours or something. Perhaps that's why I leave it until the last minute to get into the shower before going to a restaurant. Perhaps I still think I have half an hour up my sleeve when really I have only ten minutes.

It's stresses like these that make people drink 1.02110316 × 10^-54 cubic Parsecs of Tequila with a slice of lime and a pinch of salt, over and over until comfortably numb.

Personally, I think we should go with the Parsec for everything. Or...

We could make everything very very simple.

Some time ago, I remember asking mum why we (Australians) were so historically insane as to have once had one Australian Pound be made up of twenty shillings, which were each subdivided into twelve pence.

She thought I was over-reacting.

People often do.

Until you ask them to do some calculations.

Perhaps a currency like that made it a simple task to buy things with the weights they were using at the time... lets see... there were sixteen ounces to the pound, fourteen pounds to the stone, and eight stone to the Hundredweight.


If it cost one Pound, eighteen Shillings, and eleven Pence to buy one Hundredweight of paraffin, how much would it cost to buy four Pounds (no, the other Pound) and thirteen ounces. Obviously that would depend on which kind of paraffin. There's a 2/11th discount on the impure stuff, but not on the pure stuff. So lets make it simple and work it out for the pure stuff.



I tried to explain why I thought it was insane, by attempting to teach her to count in a way that started in base 12, then rapidly insaned into base 20 for the next digit (or digit like thing), before settling out into base 10 the subsequent digits (I presume).

I got very confused.

Imperial units are funny.

People must have just tried to avoid calculations that involved all the "layers" (ie pounds, shillings, and pence) It seems odd, but I guess people chunked their prices into easy to calculate amounts.

Quarters, halves - that sort of thing.

I'm guessing shopkeepers just made up prices as they went along as well. Who's going to check?

For a modern day example for people living in a metric world, without thinking too much, on paper, in your head or with a calculator, try adding ...

11:44:29 hours, minutes and seconds to
03:19:51 PM

Not so difficult, but it hardly trips off the tongue.

It makes me think that perhaps we avoid doing it. Perhaps it's just too hard, so we only use the easy chunks of time. Quarters, halves - that sort of thing.

We need a new metric clock.

Our current clock is loopy.

Anything where your first digit is in base ten, then your next isn't, should be shot in the foot.

How do you even write a time calculation?

I think a semicolon would be more appropriate.

    1/2 ; 3/12 ; 19/60 ; 51/60 ; 00/100
+        11/12 ; 44/60 ; 29/60 ; 81/100
=                                    ##:##:##.## am/pm

Perhaps percentage of a day might be better.

So 6pm would be 75.00 o'clock

It would be easy to learn, would allow easy calculations, unlimited resolution if it mattered, and the Swiss would love the economic stimulus.

It would save the world a few lines of code when designing stopwatches as well.

120 Things in 20 years thinks no sleep yet and 6am means it's time to buy a new internal clock.

Aquaponics - Selective yabby breeding

I still have my yabby brood in a small aquarium sitting on my desk. As I type I'm watching them going all crazy for some fish food flakes.

Some are much, much bigger than others. Originally the difference was only 10% or so, but now some are three times the size or more than the smallest.

I get the feeling that people would always selectively breed from the fastest growing yabbies so that they might get a more productive farm over a few generations, but studying their behaviour up close like I am, I'm starting to wonder if that might be a bad idea.

The big ones are always the aggressive ones.

No doubt they got that way because they are getting more than their fair share of the food supply, and perhaps by eating one or two of their brothers and sisters along the way.

Perhaps that's not a good way to run a farm. Where some of your cows are eating the others, or at least stealing all their food.

One of my batch of yabbies seems to not be part of any of this. It's on the large side of medium in size, and seems to spend most of it's time grazing algae from the surface of a sheet of gutter guard (plastic mesh to keep leaves out of your house gutters). Mostly it's left alone, and more often than not leaves others alone when they occasionally venture onto it's bit of turf.

I think this kind of beast might be a better candidate to breed from.

Not quite as big, but a lot more sociable and a bit less cannibalism.

And who knows, perhaps without the aggressive ones, this type would be just as big.

I'm going to try to find out.

120 Things in 20 years went to a lousy seafood restaurant, but now wants to eat more crustaceans.

Thinking - Easter - moving mountains is easier than you think

It's Easter.

Now I know Easter is really all about some Pagan thing and not so much about a Bible, but..

Traditionally, Easter is a time when all Australians get as many people together as they can, and drive around in boats very fast trying to do as much damage as they can to the river banks.

It'sThat's all well and good, it's not the speed that does it, fast boats and skiers just skip across the surface. But humans make these things that make wakes so your skiers can do jumps. It looks like amazing fun but it will destroy the river in no time.

When I was a kid of seven years old or so, we would visit an Aunty and Uncle living in a place called Port Noarlunga. The beach boasted a very cool reef full of interesting fish, and a little way away, the worlds highest sand dune (I think it might have actually been the worlds highest sand dune, and not something that simply seemed that way to a kid). A small shop would sell the normal crud that shops sell to people doing stuff at the beach, including small plastic balls with a tiny hole in them. I asked the shop keeper why there was a hole in the ball, and he told me it was to let the water out that I was complaining about that entered through the small hole.

That's when I knew there was a problem with the world.

But for a few years, this shop also hired out little wooden sleds/sledges/sleighs and sticks of wax to ride the sand dune. This dune was tall. So tall we rarely bothered to climb it all the way to the top for it was hard going walking up it.

Now it's not so tall, and the river at the base of the dune is wide, and shallow.

This image search reveals what it looked like about half way through the damage.

I put that mountain into the river.

Me and a couple of friends.

Even kids can move the largest mountain given time.

It only took 20 years or so to turn it into nothing special at all.


That's the seasonal biblical mountain moving reference out of the way.

Now, lets all try not to destroy the River Murray like I did the Onkaparinga River when I was a kid.

Speedboats and skiers don't do a lot of damage, but wake boats will eat the rivers of the world given half a chance.

120 Things in 20 years thinks we should dredge all that sand back up there.

Epic solar boat adventurer - deep cycle battery performance

I put my sweet looking battery to the test today to see what would happen running the motor at half speed.

Fresh looking isn't it.

I decided to run it on speed 3 of 5 to see what kind of range I might get without any sun.

I should get around four hours of full sun in spring on the mighty River Murray on a fine day.

Or so I'm reliably informed.

Much of the country on the lower half of the river is effectively desert so there should be plenty of sunny days.

As I move further upstream (to the right) the weather will get more and more overcast. The beginning of the river is in dairy cow country I think. The middle (shown here) is more like that kind of country that's good for growing a goat... maybe even two goats. A few meters either side of the river is nice (in an Australian kind of way), but this is a very, very old land, and this river has dug out a trench to run through so it could ignore the vast parched land surround it and just on with doing it's own thing.

 I have no idea what that being upstream will mean to my levels of sunshine at this stage.

But I wont be in any hurry, so I don't really care.

Today's test involved running the motor, and writing down some numbers every half hour. I also turned the motor off for a minute, then wrote down some more numbers.

Amp Hours
less than 1
Volts under load
Volts after 1 minute rest

After the test I waited an hour and the voltage had bounced back to 12.31v.

I turned it on for another 10 minutes and the voltage dropped rapidly to where it was before the hour long rest.

Final numbers after the additional 10 minutes were 10.36v under load, 12v after a minute rest, and 26.54 amp hours used.

I think what all this means is perhaps my battery might be good enough. I'm hoping to keep it almost full all the time with only a small amount of use for a little light.

That should put me within range of humans for 80% of my journey, but there will be a few sections where I might not see people for a few days.

To be honest, I have no idea. 

I hope I don't die!

120 Things in 20 years hopes I don't die.

Epic solar boat adventurer - Stress testing my old battery

I've had this big old deep cycle battery for years, and I don't know enough about it so I thought I'd learn some stuff.

It's a conventional, unsealed, 100ah lead acid, deep cycle thing.

At least I think it's 100ah. That's the kind of thing you'd think someone would emboss onto the side rather than adding it as a stamp. That and the voltage.

At least they went to the trouble of embossing the + and - marks.

So with this kind of battery, it seems they don't mind being run down as much as, say... a car battery might. Car batteries hate it when they are run down, and it shortens their lives in a big way.

A deep cycle battery (also called a flooded battery apparently) is a bit more forgiving, but they still see damage with every bit of use. The lower you allow the voltage to get before recharging, the less charge cycles you get from them before they need replacing. 

As I understand it, 11.8v is considered "empty", but that's at rest 6 hours after you stop using it.

I need to know what "empty" is when I'm cruising along drawing 20 amps or 35 amps (that being the amount of juice the motor pulls from the battery at speeds 4 and 5 of 5.

So my education for today turned into more questions than answers. It looks like it's business as usual.

120 Things in 20 years thinks the Internet might not know something I need to know.

Epic solar boat adventurer - Watt meter?

Not so long ago I bought a watt meter online and it arrived as described.

I love it when that happens.

The best part isn't that it actually works, and works as advertised (which IS nice), but it tells me my Epic Solar Boat Adventure might actually work. 

I have 360w of solar, and it turns out my motor draws about that same amount of juice when running flat out. 

Hopefully that means I can cruise for a few hours a day at speed  4 of 5 on a sunny day, and still end the day with a full battery in case of snake bite, internet use, phone use, wanting to shine floodlights into the eyes of the local wildlife in that way that we humans tend to enjoy... whatever.

In all these years, I've never really known how much power my trolling motor uses on full power. My multimeter couldn't handle the amperage my motor draws, so I only knew the values for the first 2 of 5 power settings. 

Today is a happy day.

My trip is going ahead.

This stuff is going to work!

120 Things In 20 Years is a little surprised that the math(s) worked

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