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The Theodian Calendars, often referred to in writing as the 'Kalendars', are the official calendars of Theodia. This article details the current official Kalendars, as well as those in official use at other times in Theodia's history.
This article was current as of 2020, March.
Humankind, should it not be thoroughly destroyed beforehand, will eventually take to the stars; and this poses fundamental issues for calendars as we know them.
- Temporal relativity
In proceeding to answer these questions, we must first consider time's relativity. A planet near a black hole may, for example, have a dramatically slower passage of time than one that is not. Apart from how hard this would make it for these two planets to consistently communicate, this potentially means that a truly universal calendar may not be possible to meaningfully construct, since different places can literally be living at different points in time. Even so, we can still attempt some sort of standardization.
- Biological relativity
Days have another source of relativity: biology. Our biological clock is mandated by our circadian rhythms, and over millennia has evolved to match the modern Earth's 24-hour day. But humans living on non-24-hour planets in the future may genetically engineer themselves to have a different clock-length. More drastically: sentient aliens, when discovered, are no more likely to have a 24-hour clock than they are any other length of time. If humans and this alien species have biological clocks that are too radically different, it may be impossible for both species to use the same day-length even while living on the same planet.
- Cyclic relativity
Ultimately, we either need to have a different calendar for each planet, to have one system while allowing for gradual drifting, or to have some mixture thereof. The formest of these, however, somewhat depends upon the ability to create per-planet calendars in a predictable manner.
We can't simply set each planet's day-length to its actual day-length, as Mercury and Venus, for example, both have *ridiculously* long days, such that a true 'day' would be useless, and such that people living there would be biologically incapable of genetically engineering their circadian rhythms to such values. So on such planets, it would seem best to keep a 24hr day. Yet a 24hr day is not ideal on all planets, like Mars, for example, which has a very similar day-length. And what about planets orbiting a binary star system?
Years might also seem simple: just set them to each planet's year. But what if the planet in question has a year equal to 1000 Earth-years? How useful would a 'year', then, even be?
Months are similarly nonstandard: many planets don't even have moons, thus making true months impossible; and many others have many more than 1 moon, thus making true months confusing. And we can't universally base 'months' on seasons, either, because some planets have none (like Venus), and others have theirs determined by their day (Uranus).
- The problem of exponential relations
The total number of conversion algorithms needed to convert between all calendars can be represented as a graph with every vertex connected to every other vertex. That makes this mathematically identical to solving for the number of possible unique edges in a self-intersecting n-gon. The formula for this is
(n * (n - 1)) / 2, where
n is the number of calendars. This means that the total number of conversion algorithms needed increases exponentially as you add new calendars.
The solution to this is to have a reference calendar. New calendars can then convert to this reference calendar instead of to each other, reducing the many-to-many relation to a one-to-many relation; but also requiring twice as many calculations as would be required without the reference calendar. This reference calendar should be as simple as possible to reduce computational complexity. Since this will make the reference calendar unsuited to human use, a default calendar should additionally be created, to be used wherever a locality-specific calendar has not yet been adopted.
- Calendars' epochs should be based on when the current civilization began in the locality of that calendar. In calendars for which there can not reasonably be any such thing (such as space), the epoch should be the same as the reference calendar.
To solve the problem of exponential relations between different calendars while minimizing computational complexity, Theodia has adopted the time elapsed since the UNIX epoch as its reference calendar. All other Theodian calendars, in order to be converted into another, must first be converted to this reference calendar.
While the UNIX Epoch is fundamentally arbitrary, there's no point in having an idiomatic epoch for what is, essentially, an API in the form of a calendar; and so, the choice of epoch here is almost necessarily arbitrary.
Localities under Theodian control that do not have their own dedicated calendar, default to using the Default Calendar. The Default Calendar, detached from physical restrictions, aims for mathematical regularity. This makes it very convenient to use, and the preferred calendar for those living in space away from any heavenly body, and also for those living on or near a heavenly body with very alien natural cycles, such as Venus and Uranus.
It is descended from the older Universal Calendar.