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Before Present (wikipedia.org)
56 points by brudgers on July 20, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments



Intriguing that this corresponds fairly precisely with what we call the Modern era.

So here we are almost -70 BP in the post-Modern future. I wonder to what cause historians of a century hence will ascribe this anomaly.

From my own limited perspective it seems to relate to the concept of the Year 2000 as "The future". Then we reached it, and now it's the future, presently, and the present lays in the past: with Modern art, Contemporary furnishings, and other old-fashioned things.


I suggest AP for 'after present'. It's currently the year 68 AP.


This is clearly the better convention.

But counting negatively toward the future is more fun ^_^


I think that, barring any prescriptive definition of the word "modern", the earliest time period that a person cuts of as "modern" has a lot to say about a person's expectations of society and daily life.

I've always wanted to do a sociological study that asks 1. What is the earliest year you would include in the modern era? 2. A set of questions to indicate your left/right and authoritarian/ libertarian political leanings.

It would be cool to see the results.


Also "Before Physics". Very nice! :-)

TIL: Used because nuclear weapons testing made carbon dating after that date unreliable.


I came across the concept of "before present" when reading about the Meghalayan age [1] being adopted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy [2] earlier this month.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meghalayan

[2]: http://www.stratigraphy.org/index.php/ics-news-and-meetings/...


> The abbreviation "BP", with the same meaning, has also been interpreted[1] as "Before Physics"; that is, before nuclear weapons testing artificially altered the proportion of the carbon isotopes in the atmosphere, making dating after that time likely to be unreliable.

Kind of neat to think that a civilization 10 million years from now could have some clue about our level of technological development by noting the atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the geological record.


I thought that was the most interesting part of the article. Anyone know where I can learn more about how unreliable it makes carbon dating and what far future civilizations will be able to learn about when/how our civilization lived?


hmm, interesting


Inventing new time concepts, now and then, is very narrow sighted.

Think of archaeologists in 1000 years from now come over documents with 100 different time concepts.

B.C. and A.D. suffice, anything else is political nonsense or anti-religious propaganda.


I think you missed the most important point, in that radiologic dating after 1950ish is a lot less accurate due to nuclear testing- It would ABSOLUTELY be important for an archeologist in 1000 years to have special knowledge about these changes around the year 1950 in order to do their job properly.


I like that a lot of textbooks and history books are moving over to BCE/CE. I don't consider it propaganda.


They are numerically equivalent.


AD/BC has a fundamental counting flaw [1] which is accounted for by ISO 8601 [2]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_zero [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_8601#Years


I wonder what the practical side effects are of being off by one when discussing events that happened c. thousands of years ago.


> I wonder what the practical side effects are of being off by one when discussing events that happened c. thousands of years ago.

A days-as-dots representation[1] has one day precision at a thousand years BP, and since accuracy of a day or week is often possible, it was actually an issue. Wrestling with "everyone has their own odd calendar" was a pain.

[1] "History shown with days as dots - so centuries fit on a screen"'s "Days-as-dots demo" was basically an exploratory UX test piece: http://www.clarifyscience.info/part/QEt9x . The Google Books and Google Newspapers links are regrettably rotted - it was great fun to click on random days in the 1800's and 1900's and read random newspapers of that day. :/ The inset NY Tribune from the Library of Congress still works. My fuzzy impression is the google newspapers database is simply unavailable now?


I agree, but (I don’t want to start any flame wars here) there is a well known narrative that explains the AD and BC. It has been around in 2000 years and will probably be around some 1000 years more.

In Sweden we have been discussing about what type of signs should we put up to warn for nuclear waste. Will people in thousand of years be able to understand and decide the warnings?

Same with time concepts, the future must have a sporting chance to understand what we where talking about.


It has not been around for 2000 years, more like 1200 years in common use in parts of the world.


and i think principally in 'christendom' for most of that, it was later that other parts of the world started accommodating it for pragmatic reasons like international commerce - or were 'required' to accommodate on account of various forms of colonial endeavor.


> B.C. and A.D. suffice, anything else is political nonsense or anti-religious propaganda.

You should read up on the history of the Common Era to correct your parochial misconceptions.


> or anti-religious propaganda

i think this is misleading if not a bit ethnocentric (or rather religiocentric?). the islamic, jewish and hindi calendars all have different numbered years, and presumably most others.

to turn this around, the fixation on AD and rejection of other proposals could be described as christian supremacist 'propaganda'. it 'suffices' because it accommodates to your comfort and privilege.


Given that dates in the past were often counted from the beginning of the reign of the local king, they're probably used to it.


A.D. is the exact same tradition as that, just continued indefinitely. (It's an abbreviation of the Latin for "Year of Our Lord".)


Oh great, another measure that defines the entire world by whether or not it existed in the 1950s. Greatest generation my axx. I'm a clear athiest, but at least the AD/BC line was so long ago nobody can claim to have invented it.


> nobody can claim to have invented it

afaik it's origins are very well established

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anno_Domini

"The Anno Domini dating system was devised in 525 by Dionysius Exiguus[...]"


Noone alive can claim it.


oh... you mean a specific individual claiming personal responsibility? what's the relevance?




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