When a company becomes as successful and globally influential as Facebook, the only thing left to do, really, is to create a brand new unit of time. Seriously.
Unimpressed with its current measurement, the company decided to create Flicks, a unit of time that’s slightly larger than a nanosecond. One Flick is defined as 1/705,600,000 of a second, whereas a nanosecond is 1/1,000,000,000 of a second, making it, in traditional terms, 1.41723356 nanoseconds long.
As weird as it all sounds, Flicks do actually serve a purpose beyond trying to redefine time, and that purpose is video display. They’re designed to measure the individual frame duration for video refresh rates. So whatever the rate, be it 24hz, 60hz, 90hz, 120hz, etc, Flicks can be used as whole integers to keep everything in sync, rather than having to fiddle around with decimals.
We've launched Flicks, a unit of time, slightly larger than a nanosecond that exactly subdivides media frame rates and sampling frequencies. https://t.co/w9SDBznXRE— Facebook Open Source (@fbOpenSource) January 22, 2018
In other words, it’s a unit of time that’s useful for dealing with video refresh rates and probably nothing else. Programmers who use C++ already utilise similar tools to manage frame syncing, particularly for things like CGI in video, but it was all managed in nanoseconds. Given seconds is the standard unit of time across both the metric and imperial systems, this makes a lot of sense.
But it turns out the idea of a completely new unit of time has been kicking around since last year and was even posted to Facebook by developer, Christopher Horvath.
You can actually get it here if you feel like nanoseconds don’t work for you anymore and know how to code in C++. If not, then, uh, carry on, I guess.
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