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Bijou Drains
05-07-2010, 12:01 PM
I remembered this from reading a post here. The US writes 100,000 but in Europe they write 100.000 for the same amount.

How did this start and has anyone ever tried to make 1 or the other change?

Mk VII
05-07-2010, 12:10 PM
Why do they write 9/11/01 and not 11/9/01?

rockypg
05-07-2010, 12:23 PM
I remembered this from reading a post here. The US writes 100,000 but in Europe they write 100.000 for the same amount.

How did this start and has anyone ever tried to make 1 or the other change?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_separator

R

Candyman74
05-07-2010, 12:27 PM
I remembered this from reading a post here. The US writes 100,000 but in Europe they write 100.000 for the same amount.

Be careful about use of the word "Europe"; there is no such singular entity. The UK, for example, does not do this.

rockypg
05-07-2010, 12:37 PM
Why do they write 9/11/01 and not 11/9/01?

why do we answer questions with questions?

Mk VII
05-07-2010, 12:42 PM
Do we?

Acsenray
05-07-2010, 12:43 PM
I thought this was going to be about crossed sevens and tent-shaped ones.

yabob
05-07-2010, 12:47 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_separator

R
If you look at that article, you will also note that there are more variations in separator and grouping than just two. India, for example, writes one billion as 1,00,00,00,000, and the Swiss use an apostrophe.

hende
05-07-2010, 12:49 PM
Why do they write 9/11/01 and not 11/9/01?

Because September 11th, 2001 is a different day than November 9th, 2001? ;)

Autolycus
05-08-2010, 02:44 AM
For the same reason the muskrat guards his mask. The responsible parties put the ape in apricot, and also make the Hottentot so hot.

Nava
05-08-2010, 03:48 AM
If you look at that article, you will also note that there are more variations in separator and grouping than just two. India, for example, writes one billion as 1,00,00,00,000, and the Swiss use an apostrophe.

Not only the Swiss: Spain and France use apostrophes as the decimal separator, but accept comas because of computer programs which don't offer the apostrophe among its possible choices.

05-08-2010, 05:04 AM
This is another thing that should be standardized already.
I'm willing to compromise: You Americans adopt the metric system, and we adopt your number style. (Or we could both use the SI style: spaces as separators with dot or comma used interchangeably.)

On the date issue, I'd like to point out that 31.12.1999 makes more sense than 12/31/1999, because the order of the units is not mixed up. I'd like to switch to 1999/12/31, however, since that way you can better sort by date in computer programming. That would leave the abbreviated form in your style.
Padding the zeros is a must, in any case.

Who's with me?

Xema
05-08-2010, 06:37 AM
Adrian;12430617']I'd like to switch to 1999/12/31, however, since that way you can better sort by date in computer programming.
Most computers can both sort dates properly and display them in the form a user prefers. It's actually quite useful to distinguish between internal and external data formats, and not require that these be the same.

Polycarp
05-08-2010, 06:56 AM
I thought this was going to be about crossed sevens and tent-shaped ones.

The tented ones are obviously from their catching one too many surreptitious looks at unclad figure 8's. ;)

Polycarp
05-08-2010, 07:17 AM
For the same reason the muskrat guards his mask. The responsible parties put the ape in apricot, and also make the Hottentot so hot.

Courage!

Although, as was famously argued in one of the most factually informative ATMB threads on record, 'Hottentot' is regarded by those people and their descendants themselves and virtually anyone who cares about courtesy in speech as highly offensive. Its use is somewhat akin to saying, "President Obama's ancestry is half nigger" -- while it is denotatively a factual statement about his ethnic background that in theory could be used non-disparagingly as purely informative, almost everyone hearing it would regard it as an offensive racist slur.

A more modern Bert Lahr would instead sing, "What makes the Khoikhoin act so coy?" ;)

jasonh300
05-08-2010, 09:26 PM
Adrian;12430617']I'd like to switch to 1999/12/31, however, since that way you can better sort by date in computer programming.

This is the only way that makes sense, and it seems that nobody uses this.

I often put this type of date at the beginning of filenames so I can sort by date.

Acsenray
05-08-2010, 09:37 PM
This is the only way that makes sense

It's the only way this makes sense? So all the people of the world have been using dating systems that none of us have ever been able to decipher? How silly of us to futz around not being able to make sense of what we're trying to tell each other.

05-09-2010, 07:48 AM
I'd say it makes the most sense.

And I was also thinking of filenames and the like, where you don't have an internal data format. Since the format should be changed anyway :) it's an added benefit.

The most important thing, of course, is that there is no confusion about what day 2010/05/09 is.

scr4
05-09-2010, 12:07 PM
It's the only way this makes sense? So all the people of the world have been using dating systems that none of us have ever been able to decipher? How silly of us to futz around not being able to make sense of what we're trying to tell each other.

Personally, having spent some years in the UK and also being exposed to European web sites on a fairly regular basis, I frequently get confused about which is the month and which is the date. Sometimes I have to think about it when I write down today's date. The YYYY/MM/DD is the only system that "makes sense" in that it's a logical order (consistent with our number system, where we write the most significant digit first), and because it's unambiguous (because nobody uses YYYY/DD/MM).

beowulff
05-09-2010, 12:12 PM
Personally, having spent some years in the UK and also being exposed to European web sites on a fairly regular basis, I frequently get confused about which is the month and which is the date. Sometimes I have to think about it when I write down today's date. The YYYY/MM/DD is the only system that "makes sense" in that it's a logical order (consistent with our number system, where we write the most significant digit first), and because it's unambiguous (because nobody uses YYYY/DD/MM).

Sure they do (somewhat):
Using the new Stardate format in Star Trek XI, dates may be expressed in YYYY.xx format, where YYYY is the actual four-digit year, and .xx represents the fraction of the year to two decimal places (i.e., hundredths of a year). For example, January 1, 1999, would correspond to Stardate 1999.00, while July 2, 1999, would correspond to Stardate 1999.50 (half-way through the year 1999).

Ignatz
05-09-2010, 01:33 PM
Adrian;12433199']I'd say it makes the most sense.

And I was also thinking of filenames and the like, where you don't have an internal data format. Since the format should be changed anyway :) it's an added benefit.

The most important thing, of course, is that there is no confusion about what day 2010/05/09 is.

At work I save a lot of files with dates in them without the solidi, virgules, slashes, as such: 20100509 for today. Sorts and saves in chronological order. QED.

I learned the tented ones and cross-dashed sevens in my 2 years in France with the navy (US). I used the dashed 7's for years when I got back until someone thought it was abackwards f and messed up my address on something important. They used 10f instead of 107 and I didn't get the mail.

cckerberos
05-09-2010, 02:38 PM
This is the only way that makes sense, and it seems that nobody uses this.
The Japanese do (and I imagine that they're not alone in E Asia).

scr4
05-09-2010, 02:42 PM
Sure they do (somewhat):

The point I was trying to make is, if you see 2010/02/03, you immediately know it's February 3rd, 2010, because nobody writes March 2, 2010 as 2010/02/03.

JoelUpchurch
05-09-2010, 04:02 PM
I've dealt with this issue many times and the only way I've found to avoid confusion is to always use the name of the month and not a number. In the computer languages I use, the correct name of the month is automatically selected based on the regional settings of the computer. Date/Time is stored internally as double precision floating point numbers.

elmwood
05-09-2010, 04:31 PM
This is the only way that makes sense, and it seems that nobody uses this.

Except the North Koreans (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kernbeisser/4311264864/). It is more logical, when you think of it; largest unit first, just as with Arabic numerals. I use it on my site, so there is no mistaking the date of a post.

I've seen Europeans use Roman numerals for the month; for example today is 9 V 2010. The protocol looks very old fashioned to my eyes.

hibernicus
05-09-2010, 05:16 PM
This is the only way that makes sense, and it seems that nobody uses this.

It's the international standard (ISO 8601 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_8601)) for date notation. Lots of people and organisations (including my own workplace) use it for the same reason you do - so that filenames sorted by alphabetical order will also be in chronological order.

aceplace57
05-09-2010, 06:00 PM
If you really want to confuse someone use Julian Dates.

May 9 2010 is JD 2455325.50000

Computers use it to calculate the number of days between two dates.

you charged an item on March 2, 2010 JD 2455257.50000

the account is currently 68 days past due

a handy JD converter
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/JulianDate.php

Mangetout
05-09-2010, 06:39 PM
Ugh. Confusion with US (vs UK/European) date formats still causes some horrible problems in even quite mainstream applications. Even if you have all of the regional options correctly set for UK dates, and you have date fields formatted as a short date in dd/mm/yy format, a mailmerge from Excel to Word will still assume it's looking at an American date value, unless a day value greater than 12 forces its hand. Same thing often happens if you try to import a CSV to Excel, and so on.

Microsoft Office is, of course, a product of US origin, but this should not excuse it ignoring the regional settings.

I agree - settling on yyyy/mm/dd (hh:nn:ss) would be both logical and less ambiguous. I too use this if I'm writing a timestamp into a filename, as it automatically creates a sorting order, even if the true date values attached to the file are changed by later opening/modification.

Balthisar
05-10-2010, 01:43 PM
Adrian;12430617']I'd like to switch to 1999/12/31, however, since that way you can better sort by date in computer programming. That would leave the abbreviated form in your style.
Padding the zeros is a must, in any case.

Who's with me?
I am! That's pretty much how I format dates, now. Either that, or 1999-Dec-31.
Here in Mexico, I often see dates written like this: 31/XII/99. I think because they're in this weird soup-bowl mix of so many different cultures and numbering systems (EU investment, NA investment, Asia-Pacific investment) that it helps keep things clear regardless of who happens to be reading the date. Or maybe it's for some other reason; I don't know.

SimonMoon5
05-10-2010, 01:54 PM
Adrian;12430617']On the date issue, I'd like to point out that 31.12.1999 makes more sense than 12/31/1999, because the order of the units is not mixed up.

On the other hand, 12/31/1999 makes better sense than 31.12.1999 when you're trying to read it out loud since people typically will say, "December 31st, 1999" when reading this date rather than "the 31st day of December, 1999."

When speaking about a date, people typically mention the month first, the day of the month second, and then (if mentioning it at all), the year. It's not unheard of to say something like "Remember remember the 5th of November" but it is an atypical (partly poetic, partly awkward, partly archaic) way of speaking.

hibernicus
05-10-2010, 02:45 PM
On the other hand, 12/31/1999 makes better sense than 31.12.1999 when you're trying to read it out loud since people typically will say, "December 31st, 1999" when reading this date rather than "the 31st day of December, 1999."

When speaking about a date, people typically mention the month first, the day of the month second, and then (if mentioning it at all), the year. It's not unheard of to say something like "Remember remember the 5th of November" but it is an atypical (partly poetic, partly awkward, partly archaic) way of speaking.

In the US, people write "12/31/1999" and say "December 31st, 1999".

In Ireland, people write "31/12/1999" and say "31st of December, 1999".

Mangetout
05-10-2010, 03:17 PM
Yeah, you're just being a bit provincial there, Simon - in the UK, people most often say 'the 31st of December" and it doesn't feel archaic at all to them (maybe it sounds it to you, but that's just because US and British Englishes have diverged - 'gotten' sounds archaic to folks in the UK, for example).

We say our dates the way we write them. And it seems perfectly normal to do so.

JoelUpchurch
05-10-2010, 04:29 PM
Ugh. Confusion with US (vs UK/European) date formats still causes some horrible problems in even quite mainstream applications. Even if you have all of the regional options correctly set for UK dates, and you have date fields formatted as a short date in dd/mm/yy format, a mailmerge from Excel to Word will still assume it's looking at an American date value, unless a day value greater than 12 forces its hand. Same thing often happens if you try to import a CSV to Excel, and so on.

Microsoft Office is, of course, a product of US origin, but this should not excuse it ignoring the regional settings.

I agree - settling on yyyy/mm/dd (hh:nn:ss) would be both logical and less ambiguous. I too use this if I'm writing a timestamp into a filename, as it automatically creates a sorting order, even if the true date values attached to the file are changed by later opening/modification.

If we are that worried about how the file system will sort dates in a filename, shouldn't we also agree that the date fields should be separated by hyphens and not slashes? Slashes aren't legal in Windows file names.

Mangetout
05-10-2010, 04:37 PM
If we are that worried about how the file system will sort dates in a filename, shouldn't we also agree that the date fields should be separated by hyphens and not slashes? Slashes aren't legal in Windows file names.

I'm not really all that interested in establishing a standard for this - I just do it out of expediency in some situations where my applications have to archive files without collision in the name - sortability in the name is incidentally useful sometimes. I tend not to use separators at all when I do this, so it's yyyymmddhhnnss (and I pad with zeroes so that 9 sorts before 10.

I only tried using slashes once, and of course it didn't work.

md2000
05-10-2010, 04:52 PM
Canada for example, uses the exact same date system as the USA - except for the Canadian government, where some branches still use DD-MM-YYYY; so Microsoft thinks that is how we talk aboot dates, and so messes up dates for anyone who honestly tells their PC it is in Canada.

As mentioned, there's the odd way fo writing one, which results in the odd way of crossing the severn so you know it is not a one.

Then the different countries have different other punctuation, not just the decimal notation. IIRC the French and most Europeans use dashes instead of quotes for dialog; the Spanish have the inverted question mark and exclamation mark around sentences. Not to mention all those weird punctuation symbols over or under letters, which we English speakers thankfully think are passé.

I guess it doesn't matter what each locale did for its grammar, punctuation, or orthography until we try to make one computer system do it all.

Pushkin
05-10-2010, 05:15 PM
I remembered this from reading a post here. The US writes 100,000 but in Europe they write 100.000 for the same amount.

How did this start and has anyone ever tried to make 1 or the other change?

I was always taught in maths class (in the UK) that 100,000 means 100 000, but we leave out the comma in case it's mistaken for a decimal point.

Sunspace
05-10-2010, 05:57 PM
Canada for example, uses the exact same date system as the USA...Actually, in my experience, Canada uses a mixture of date styles in English.

I have to fill in the date boxes on my cheques as YYYYMMDD. The forms I got from the provincial Ministry of Housing use DD/MM/YYYY. My federal tax forms use YYYYMMDD. The work order for my internet install used YY/MM/DD.

And recepts are even more of a mix. The receipt from my last purchase at Tim-br Mart uses YYYY/MM/DD. My last purchase at the office supplies store? MM-DD-YYYY. The book store? The train station? YYYY/MM/DD on the debit receipt and DD Mon YYYY on the actual ticket (month name spelled out to 3 letters). The grocery store? MM/DD/YYYY. Big-box electronics store? MM/DD/YYYY. Other electronics store? Mon-DD-YYYY.

A surprising number of places still use a 2-digit year! I have had more than one receipt with a date like 05/04/06, which is completely ambiguious. I'll admit that, afterr a survay of receipts I happen to have handy, smaller businesses tend to use some variation of MM/DD/YYYY, but that is by no means a given.

We need to standardize, and I personally am standardizing on YYYYMMDD.

Maybe Quebec is saner...

Martini Enfield
05-10-2010, 08:15 PM
The point I was trying to make is, if you see 2010/02/03, you immediately know it's February 3rd, 2010, because nobody writes March 2, 2010 as 2010/02/03.

Nobody in the real world writes the dates starting with the year first, either. ;)

And for that matter, I'd still read "2010/02/03" and "March 2nd, 2010"- 2010, Second Day of the Third Month.

IMHO, starting with the year is silly for everyday use because everyone knows what year it is (except for coma patients and people who've fallen through wormholes in the time-space continuum), and so writing "2010/Mar/02" sounds like the sort of thing a medieval monk would do: "In the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Ten, In the Month of March, Upon The Second Day".

Bytegeist
05-10-2010, 08:47 PM
If you really want to confuse someone use Julian Dates.

May 9 2010 is JD 2455325.50000

Computers use it to calculate the number of days between two dates.

I'm not aware of any computer or operating system that uses astronomy's Julian dates for its time-keeping standard. The Julian date system counts days since January 1, 4713 BC. Most computers instead count in seconds, or fractions of a second, and the zero point is much closer to our own time — usually in the 20th century. (But see here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epoch_(reference_date)#Computing) for an interesting table.)

pulykamell
05-10-2010, 09:56 PM
Nobody in the real world writes the dates starting with the year first, either. ;)

The Hungarians do.

Martini Enfield
05-10-2010, 10:11 PM
The Hungarians do.

Their relevance ended in about 1918. You knew what I meant.

Sunspace
05-10-2010, 10:11 PM
The Hungarians do.So does the bank on my cheques.

pulykamell
05-10-2010, 10:59 PM
Their relevance ended in about 1918. You knew what I meant.

Actually, what I thought you meant was what you said. Excuse me for the factual correction.

edit: Apparently, according to Wikipedia, China, Japan, Mongolia, and Iran use it as well.

Martini Enfield
05-10-2010, 11:33 PM
The "Real world" I was referring to was the one you and I actually live and go about our daily lives in- ie, a Western, English speaking "Real World".

pulykamell
05-11-2010, 12:09 AM
The "Real world" I was referring to was the one you and I actually live and go about our daily lives in- ie, a Western, English speaking "Real World".

You just happen to be right at the moment, but for most of my Straight Dope career, I was in the YYYY-MM-DD "real world." Still, this is the Straight Dope, after all, and it's a useful factual point, especially since it seems that, you know, the largest nation on the planet uses Big Endian time format.

thelurkinghorror
05-11-2010, 07:42 AM
The Hungarians do.

They also put their family names first unlike the rest of Europe. And eels in their hovercrafts.

I try to write out the month every time to make it less ambiguous, in MMDDYYYY. I've noticed that US Military people seem to write it as 11-MAY-2010, often in all caps.

Personally, I'm still holding out until the French Revolutionary Calendar comes back into style.

Quercus
05-11-2010, 07:54 AM
I'm willing to compromise: You Americans adopt the metric system, and we adopt your number style. (Or we could both use the SI style: spaces as separators with dot or comma used interchangeably.)

On the date issue, I'd like to point out that 31.12.1999 makes more sense than 12/31/1999, because the order of the units is not mixed up. I'd like to switch to 1999/12/31, however, since that way you can better sort by date in computer programming. That would leave the abbreviated form in your style.
Padding the zeros is a must, in any case.

Who's with me?How about we leave the metric system out of it for now, and agree that you're right on writing dates (date first or year first I don't care, but the month should always be in the middle), but wrong on writing numbers (one period and possibly multiple commas per sentence; one period and possibly multiple commas per number.)?

Balthisar
05-11-2010, 08:19 AM
On the other hand, 12/31/1999 makes better sense than 31.12.1999 when you're trying to read it out loud since people typically will say, "December 31st, 1999" when reading this date rather than "the 31st day of December, 1999."

Yeah, that's where I get weird again. I'd simply say, "on thirty-one December 1999, we were all hunkered down in our bomb shelters awaiting the worst."

pulykamell
05-11-2010, 08:30 AM
If we are that worried about how the file system will sort dates in a filename, shouldn't we also agree that the date fields should be separated by hyphens and not slashes? Slashes aren't legal in Windows file names.

That is how ISO 8601 (http://www.iso.org/iso/date_and_time_format), which standardizes the format for the exchange of dates and times, does it. The plain date format would have May 11, 2010, as 2010-05-11. I don't know how well-implemented ISO 8601 is, but it seems to be pretty common across the internet and other computer-based applications.

05-11-2010, 11:12 AM
How about we leave the metric system out of it for now, and agree that you're right on writing dates (date first or year first I don't care, but the month should always be in the middle), but wrong on writing numbers (one period and possibly multiple commas per sentence; one period and possibly multiple commas per number.)?

That's what I said, didn't I? I'm fine with changing to the US number style, it's equally sensible to ours IMO. I'm even inclined to agree with your parenthesis, that the US style is marginally more sensible.

But perhaps I shouldn't give that away so easily, if we need it as a bargaining chip for the metric system :)

JoelUpchurch
05-11-2010, 02:56 PM
That is how ISO 8601 (http://www.iso.org/iso/date_and_time_format), which standardizes the format for the exchange of dates and times, does it. The plain date format would have May 11, 2010, as 2010-05-11. I don't know how well-implemented ISO 8601 is, but it seems to be pretty common across the internet and other computer-based applications.

I looked at the 8601, but it still has an issue in that it uses the colon for the separator in the time, which is also illegal in a Windows filename.

Sunspace
05-11-2010, 03:23 PM
I looked at the 8601, but it still has an issue in that it uses the colon for the separator in the time, which is also illegal in a Windows filename.I'm sure I'd seen a 'packed' version that had no dashes or colons as separators.

Edit: yes, here (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/iso-time.html).