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Author Topic: Will we ever have a single time zone?  (Read 5466 times)

Offline Geezer

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« on: 29/03/2010 03:43:56 »
I saw Russia eliminated a couple of time zones today. I know we have UTC, but do you think we will ever abandon local time zones and switch to a single zone? It might seem strange at first, but would we be able to get used to the idea that 8:00 AM was not necessarily in the morning?

After all, we only have one calendar. We don't switch all the months around so that January is always in winter, so why do we have to do that with clocks?

To solve the political problem about who has the "right" time, we could easily invent 24 new symbols for the 24 hours, or we could simply start counting from 37, then nobody would feel as if they were being picked on - (mind you, everybody might feel as if they were picked on  :D)

What do you think?

(Any complaints regarding the content of this topic should be sent to Neil.)


 

Offline LeeE

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #1 on: 29/03/2010 07:46:43 »
I think that too many people have trouble understanding 24 hour clocks as it is, let alone making sense of a 'time' of day that couldn't be related the time of day.
 

Offline rosy

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #2 on: 29/03/2010 08:59:15 »
I hope not. The only reason I can see for doing it would be to encourage people to do business across timezones whilst knowing for certain what time a contract (for example) went through, and whilst that may be very laudable in itself, I do think people should be encouraged when, for example, scheduling teleconferences etc, to consider whether they're going to be at midnight or breakfast time for the people at the other end.
 

Offline doppler1

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #3 on: 29/03/2010 12:03:37 »
I can not see it working very well because then the whole world has to abide by one geographical regions operating hours....not so bad if it is based on the place where I live but must suck if it is on the opposite side of the world to where I stay. The only reason for time zoning is for work really, so that colleagues in different zones across the globe know when they can get hold of you and, I guess, for optimizing efficiency like daylight saving time etc. People work best during the day so to change them to night shift probably will not work so well and if the idea is to allocate certain time in the 24hr clock to certain areas for working during he day, eg, China works between 04h00 and 14h00 and America between 10h00 and 20h00 then it works pretty much the same way as now except we would not need to keep calulating the hours ahead or behind....more complicated though....I think.
 

Offline Geezer

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #4 on: 29/03/2010 16:56:42 »
Thanks everyone, but I'm not really convinced. I'm pretty sure it will never happen of course, but not for very logical reasons. We are just heavily conditioned to believe that 08:00 am has to be in the morning -(yes I do know what a.m. means!). The designation is, however, entirely arbitrary.

Businesses already have to deal with the fact that people work at different times of day around the world, and I'm sure that is unlikely to change. However, I have observed all kinds of cock ups involving transportation and business meetings that could easily have been prevented if we didn't use local time zones. It was fine when the world was a much "larger" place, but it's more of an anachronism now.

It's bad enough here. I live in a state that has two time zones! It's a pain.

But, I don't think the situation is likely to change anytime soon.
« Last Edit: 29/03/2010 16:59:08 by Geezer »
 

Offline LeeE

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #5 on: 29/03/2010 18:41:55 »
But the designation isn't arbitrary; it's (supposed to be) the number of hours that have passed since the day begun (or at least it would be if we hadn't shifted it and then kept changing it back and forth for the sake of the economy).
 

Offline Geezer

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #6 on: 29/03/2010 19:39:22 »
But the designation isn't arbitrary; it's (supposed to be) the number of hours that have passed since the day begun (or at least it would be if we hadn't shifted it and then kept changing it back and forth for the sake of the economy).

Of course it's arbitrary. Somebody decided that one rotation of the Earth constituted 24 hours. Seconds are arbitrary too.

Not only that, the period of the "day" is not a constant 24 hours. (I suspect the Earth does not even rotate through 360 degrees in 24 hours, but I'm a bit unsure about that point!)

About the only thing that's really much use, is the year, and it's the thing that you really don't want to mess up (as the Romans discovered).

(BTW - Please don't take what I'm saying too seriously - I'm only trying to encourage some debate about things that we might tend to take for granted.)
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #7 on: 29/03/2010 21:00:43 »
Getting up to start the day when it's light is not only deeply engrained in people, but it's the most efficient way to make use of sunlight. While I accept that this gets messed about with a bit in the interests of coordination I don't think it's going to be rejected any time soon.

For those people who want a standard time there's UTC, for those of us who want to go to bed after dark and get up in the daylight we are stuck with local time zones.
 

Offline Geezer

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #8 on: 29/03/2010 22:49:12 »
Getting up to start the day when it's light is not only deeply engrained in people, but it's the most efficient way to make use of sunlight. While I accept that this gets messed about with a bit in the interests of coordination I don't think it's going to be rejected any time soon.

For those people who want a standard time there's UTC, for those of us who want to go to bed after dark and get up in the daylight we are stuck with local time zones.

I'm not suggesting we (well many of us at least) would not get up at daylight as we do at the moment. I'm simply suggesting we all use something like UTC. However, UTC is not exactly politically neutral, so it's most unlikely that it would be universally adopted. UTC is likely to be viewed in many countries as rather "Eurocentric".
« Last Edit: 30/03/2010 04:47:23 by Geezer »
 

Offline Geezer

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #9 on: 29/03/2010 23:26:58 »
Of course, we could also adopt "Universal Business Time". UBT would only have 23 (current) hours in a day. This would have two advantages.

1. Everybody would experience the same amount of discomfort in terms of day changing into night, so it would not favor any nation.
2. Businesses would be able to squeeze some free hours out of their employees.

Admittedly, these "advantages" would probably be more than offset by the rioting and general mayhem that would result from such a scheme.


Seriously, I seem to remember that it was transportation that institutionalized any discipline in terms of time zones. I think the railroads in the US had a lot to do with it. So, the idea of imposing some discomfort on everyone for the sake of safer transportation may not be very new.
« Last Edit: 30/03/2010 04:49:00 by Geezer »
 

Offline LeeE

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #10 on: 30/03/2010 08:13:55 »
But the designation isn't arbitrary; it's (supposed to be) the number of hours that have passed since the day begun (or at least it would be if we hadn't shifted it and then kept changing it back and forth for the sake of the economy).

Of course it's arbitrary. Somebody decided that one rotation of the Earth constituted 24 hours. Seconds are arbitrary too.

While the size of the units i.e. hours, minutes and seconds may be arbitrary, the fact that the day starts with the lowest number and increases as the day progresses is not, just as we count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...  instead of 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, 2, 3...

I really don't think you need to worry too much about people taking you too seriously on this one Geezer  ;)
 

Offline Geezer

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #11 on: 30/03/2010 18:40:35 »

While the size of the units i.e. hours, minutes and seconds may be arbitrary, the fact that the day starts with the lowest number and increases as the day progresses is not, just as we count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...  instead of 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, 2, 3...


Well, we could count down to indicate the number of hours left before we had to go to bed, don't ya think?

EDIT: I deleted the next sentence and started a new topic on it http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=30866.new

« Last Edit: 30/03/2010 19:42:04 by Geezer »
 

Offline LeeE

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #12 on: 30/03/2010 23:41:18 »
What's wrong with matching the increasing amount of time with bigger numbers?  That seems the most logical to me.

Heh - I supposed you'd prefer it if the speedometer in your car displayed the number of miles below the speed limit instead of the speed you're traveling at?  Might make it a bit difficult to work out how long a journey might take though.
« Last Edit: 30/03/2010 23:43:58 by LeeE »
 

Offline Geezer

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #13 on: 31/03/2010 06:11:09 »

What's wrong with matching the increasing amount of time with bigger numbers?  That seems the most logical to me.


Well, see, we can't use the numbers we use today. It's OK if you happen to live in a location where 8am feels something like 8am, but if it feels more like 11pm, your not going to like it.

How about signs instead? We could divide the day into twelve divisions, each with 120 minutes, and name each division after the signs of the zodiac.

Then we could say things like "My flight gets in at half past Aries." and it would be universally understood.

We could also use it when chatting up people in pubs, as in "Hey there cutie! What sign do you wake up in?"

Yes! Yes! I'm sure everyone will go for this.
 

Offline LeeE

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #14 on: 01/04/2010 01:37:27 »
How about signs instead? We could divide the day into twelve divisions, each with 120 minutes, and name each division after the signs of the zodiac.

...

Yes! Yes! I'm sure everyone will go for this.

Have you run out of those little pills that the nice doctor told you to keep taking?
 

Offline Geezer

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
« Reply #15 on: 01/04/2010 04:23:46 »
How about signs instead? We could divide the day into twelve divisions, each with 120 minutes, and name each division after the signs of the zodiac.

...

Yes! Yes! I'm sure everyone will go for this.

Have you run out of those little pills that the nice doctor told you to keep taking?

Oh no. Got plenty. It was Doc St. Pen that came up with the zodiac thing.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2010 17:23:25 by Geezer »
 

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Will we ever have a single time zone?
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