Friday, February 13, 2009

The Final Countdown

No, not the song from Europe.

Rather, the final countdown to the one and only* ordinal moment in Unix time. Unix systems typically use a method for storing and working with time values based off the POSIX time standard.

The gist of this standard is that all values in time are referenced by the number of seconds they are away from midnight on the first of January, 1970. That date and time is the epoch for timekeeping in the Unix world, and hence has a value of zero. All other dates and times are referenced from that point. So, for instance, midnight on January 2, 1970 was 86400, since it was that many seconds after the epoch. Currently, by this standard, it is roughly 1234555212. Also known as roughly 3:00 PM EST on the 13th of February, 2009.

Astute observers will instantly recognize something. 1234555212 is nearly** ordinal - that is, the digits that make up that number are nearly in numerical sequence.

Astute observers with keen math skills will recognize that the Unix time value for Friday, February 13th 2009, 23:31:30 UTC*** will be completely ordinal. Huzzah for accidental patterns!

So, ladies and gentlemen, perhaps it is time Prince rewrote his infamous (and of course outdated) 1999, because in just a few short hours, it'll be time to party**** like it's 1234567890!

(* - in case there are any true nerds out there, I suppose I should qualify my "one and only" statement by adding the condition of "using every digit available for a positive 32-bit signed value" since technically, there are infinitely other ordinal occurrences according to the pure standard, if you ignore the convention of storing the value in a signed 32-bit integer. But, only two in a signed 32-bit integer with a value in the largest position, and only one that's positive.)

(** - By "nearly" I mean in terms of absolute numerical value, not positionally. In other words, the value of that number is close to the value of a number that is completely ordinal, though that number itself is less than half ordinal.)

(*** - AKA 6:31:30 PM EST)

(**** - screw everyone too busy with V-Day plans***** to appreciate this! Hah! Take that, you happy lovebirds!)

(***** - I have none.******)

(****** - Are you allowed to use *****'s in a footnote to reference another footnote? I don't think so. No more footnotes now, I mean it!*******)

(******* - Anybody want a peanut?)

1 comment:

smartypants said...

This is only indirectly related, but writing this post made me think of - if you've never been there, you need to check it out and get buried reading through the archives like I'm probably going to be for the next while!