I’ve been thinking about time. Well, let’s face it I think about lots of things all the time but time is problematic. I was mostly thinking about this at the turn of the year, when 2018 magically turned into 2019 or the start of the nth journey around the sun when starting from an arbitrary point. I mean starting the new year on the day after the shortest day for the northern hemisphere would be more sensible but I guess we could have a war with the southern hemisphere about that.
Midnight is the first moment of the next day. When the clock hits 00:00 that is the start of the next day. The previous day ends at a moment which is the limit of all time before 00:00. Twelve AM is the beginning of that day. Such is the definition.
Now, here’s the problem and it involves language and colloquialisms as is often the case with problems about definitions. Within mathematics there are plenty of words which have specific definitions in the subject and different meanings in casual language, I mean that was designed that way originally to exclude the masses from education.
So, if I said to you I will meet you “at midnight on Thursday” then it is likely that we would be talking about meeting at the boundary between Thursday and Friday. But, if I said I’d meet you at 12am on Thursday that would probably mean we were still meeting at the boundary between Thursday and Friday but in reality that time is the boundary between Wednesday and Thursday.
Thinking about this now I think it would be only me having problems with a meeting time of “midnight on Thursday” and in a group discussion I would be the one asking for clarification whereas everyone else would be perfectly happy with the understanding of the meeting time. Oh how I hate language sometimes.