“…the beginning of the long dash, following X minutes of silence…”

If you grew up listening to CBC (or, if you prefer, being indoctrinated in state socialism) like I did, you are familiar with these words: “The National Research Council Official Time Signal. The beginning of the long dash…”. The National Time signal is actually the longest-running program in Canadian radio, having been broadcast at 10:00am Pacific (1:00pm Eastern), 7 days a week, 365 days a year for 71 years. And the plot never changes.

But if you grew up listening to out national far-left socialist propaganda service broadcaster, you know the plot has changed. A few years ago the NRC shifted from “ten seconds of silence” to five seconds. This makes complete sense for three reasons:

1) Clearly, the National Research Council is a perfect example of “sciencey” fat that the Harper Government™ has been trying to trim from the Federal budget. Every year, we throw millions of dollars at the NRC, and all they do is tell us what time it is. In 2011, people can look at their iPhones if they need to know what time it is. By cutting the NRC signal in half, we can cut the budget of the agency in half, to benefit all hard-working Canadians. Put money back in Canadians’ Pockets, yadda yadda yadda…

2) If we are going to have a government-funded broadcaster, I’ll be damned if my tax dollars are going to fund the broadcasting of silence. By reducing the silence by 50%, we are cutting in half the time those government employees are all getting paid to stand around doing nothing.

3) Kids today have short attention spans, and are not as smart as we are. When I was a kid, I would listen to the beeping, then challenge myself to keep rhythm and guess precisely when the “the beginning of the long dash” was going to arrive. (my interest in doing this reduced significantly when my parents bought a Home Pong). But these kids today, no way they can wait 10 seconds for that kind of payback, no way they can do the math, or maintain the concentration to count to 10 with perfect precision at 10:00 in the morning. These kids have been made soft by decades of liberal influence and immersion into pinko labour-oriented public schools. They had to reduce it to 5 seconds just to give the squirts a chance.

But more recently, I noticed the program changed again. Twice in a few years, after almost 70 years of complete consitencey. This time, however, it is one of those head-slapping obvious things, once you think about, you cannot believe you never thought of it before, or that it took the NRC decades to make the change. The “5 seconds of silence” is now referred to as “6 seconds of silence”, because it is much closer to 6 seconds than 5. Following the same reasoning, the old silence was about 11 seconds, not 10. See if you follow:

Each short tone is 300 milliseconds long, or 3/10 of a second. So the silence between tones is 700 mS:

During the 5 seconds of silence, there are 5 “missed” tones, followed by the one-second long tone at the top of the hour. Therefore the “silence” is 5 seconds, plus 700mS, or 5.7 seconds.

Round that to a whole number, and 6 is definitely closer than 5. I can’t believe it took them 70 years to make the change. Probably a communist plot.

3 comments on ““…the beginning of the long dash, following X minutes of silence…”

  1. Wow, I can believe I missed this development. But then again I’ve stopped listening to the time signal on Saturday/Sunday mornings since I can’t stand listening to Rick Cluff any more than I have to…

  2. But the Cluffster is on during the week, and he is well off the air before the NRCOTS. 10:00 is well into Jian Ghomeshi territory. My only problem with CBC 1 on the weekends is that it appears to be a 24-hour “the Debaters” network, interspersed with excruciating episodes of “This is That”. The former replacing Brent Bambury’s “GO” for the irritating-audience-shouting factor, the latter being an example of parody produced by people with no sense of satire whatsoever…

  3. hmm seems to me Cluff’s recording was on there on the weekends too… maybe I should try setting my watch again.

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