# Noon, before and after

This is a little niggle of mine. I’m sure someone will want to tell me that I’m wrong, but I’m feeling argumentative…

I believe (not 100% sure) that the day was divided into 24 hours by the Babylonians, who naturally faced the simple problem of deciding when to start counting. The sun rises a little earlier or later every day depending on the time of year and how far from the equator you are.

The only event that happens at exactly the same time of the day, every day, whatever the latitude, is high noon - the time at which the sun is at its highest point in the sky. The apparent elevation of the sun will vary, but the time that it happens is constant. Noon in important. Noon is the beginning and the end.

It’s so important it even has its own name. It’s called the meridian.

You may have noticed that before the meridian we can be happily counting up to 12, and after the meridian we start again. I guess it would make more sense to start counting at lunch time and keep going for 24 hours, but we don’t. And that creates a problem for pedants like me.

In order to know whether someone is referring to 10 before noon, or 10 after we need to label our time with ‘before noon’, or ‘after noon’. Fine so far. For convenience we use abbreviations of those labels, and traditionally we use abbreviations of the latin phrases with the same meanings:

a.m. - ante meridian, before noon
p.m. - post meridian, after noon

I learned all this when I was about seven or eight years old and am frequently amazed by the number of people who don’t know it. So this has been a public service announcement, so far. Now here’s my gripe.

12:00 is not a.m. or p.m.! How can noon be before noon? How can noon be after noon? Noon is the standard by which time is measured, everything else is before or after noon. There can be no such thing as 12pm - noon after noon. If 12 noon was pm then 12:01 would be 12ppm, and 24 hours later it would be 12pppm. This is clearly bollocks.

But I keep seeing it. Will you please ask everyone to stop if you see them doing it? It really bugs me.

Thanks.

Its really simple. Noon does not exist! See how that solves your dilemma?

There’s logic and there’s convention. Trying to mix the two can be dangerous

How do you distinguish the two 12 o’clocks?
Mayhaps one is 12 o’clock and the other is 12 midnight.
It there’s no noon, what do I eat between breakfast and dinner?

Lunch. Wow! That was an easy one.

Perhaps you should adapt things depending on where you are. For example, in Taipei the sun rises & sets at 6:35 & 5:40 today - which by my calculations implies that it is at its highest at 12:07:30 (give or take).

Therefore in Taipei 12 o’clock is clearly ante meridian, so should be 12am - while midnight should be 12pm. Also 1 minute after 12:07am would be 12:08pm. I guess in places with summer time, midday would switch between 12a.m. & 12p.m. when the clocks go forward/back. Would that simplify things?

Lunch. Wow! That was an easy one. [/quote]
You eat lunch at noon. There is no noon. Ergo there is no lunch.

Loretta -

Be not disturbed. Use 24 hour time. 12 is always noon and all is solved.

a.m.: ante meridiem

“meridiem” means “midday”

Lunch. Wow! That was an easy one. [/quote]
You eat lunch at noon. There is no noon. Ergo there is no lunch.[/quote]
I eat lunch at 1:00 pm. Problem solved.

a.m.: ante meridiem

“meridiem” means “midday”[/quote]
:bravo: :bravo: :bravo: :bravo: :bravo:

Out-pedanted! I’m awed!

meridian
[i]great circle on the sky that goes through the celestial poles and the zenith point. It separates the daytime motions of the Sun into `a.m.'' and `p.m.’’. The azimuth of an object on the meridian in the northern sky = 0

scienceworld.wolfram.com/astrono … idiem.html

Time does not exist and was made up by humans as a mathematical way of counting time, which incidently, also doesn’t exist because it’s something we made up to measure the cicles of the Earth revolving around the sun and the Earth spinning. As this changes ever so slightly then the method we use to define time is flawed.

Based on the above, 12:00 pm does not exist. Neither does 14:47 or 22:18 or 03:57.

Einstein also said that time is relative. Therefore a persons perception of time is different from everyone elses.

This is moving very quickly into the “sound of one hand clapping” zone.

So, to conclude (as a wise man once said): Time is an illusion. Lunch time, doubly so.

Yet the passage of time tends to be equated with disillusion.

[quote=“Richardm”]You eat lunch at noon. There is no noon. Ergo there is no lunch.[/quote]Can I have your lunch if you’re not having it then ?

You cannot use a spoon. Lunch is an illusion created by those who have eaten for those who want to eat.

When I was a kid I thought a.m. meant after midnight and I could never think of something for p.m.

I didn’t have the advantage of learning latin at school, and a bloody good job, what a waste of time that would have been…except in the above example of course.

[quote=“Dangermouse”]Time does not exist and was made up by humans as a mathematical way of counting time, which incidently, also doesn’t exist because it’s something we made up to measure the cicles of the Earth revolving around the sun and the Earth spinning. As this changes ever so slightly then the method we use to define time is flawed.
[/quote]

Actually time is a dimension and therefore it is meaningless to measure it. The passage of time however, for the past 40 years has been rigidly defined and has nothing to do with the earth’s rotation, just a simple Cesium atom.

Now isn’t everyone happy, now that they possess the penultimate bit of triva to stymie the most stubborn of Taiwanese co-workers?? Well, I think my job here is done…