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Ask Slashdot: Could We Deal With the End of Time Zones? 990

Posted by timothy
from the gedankenexperiment dept.
First time accepted submitter hairyfish writes "Do we still need time zones? Time zones are a relic of the past, when different parts of the world were isolated, and 12 p.m. was whenever the sun was directly above your specific location. Now, in the Internet age, time is just an arbitrary number, and time zones are just unnecessary complexity. Why can't we scrap time zones altogether, and all just use UTC across the board? So here on the eastern seaboard of Australia, lunchtime will now be at 2 a.m., In New York it will be 4 p.m., and in Moscow it will be 8 a.m. There'll be some pain with the initial changeover, but from then on it's all good. Got a meeting with colleagues on the other side of the world? 4 a.m. means 4 a.m. for everyone. Got a flight landing at 3 p.m.? 3 p.m. now means 3 p.m. for everyone. For DST, you simply change your schedule rather than the clock (i.e. work and school starts an hour earlier during DST months). No confusion ever again. For someone whose work involves travel or communication across time zones, this is the best idea I've ever heard. So why aren't we doing it?"
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Ask Slashdot: Could We Deal With the End of Time Zones?

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  • Agreed. (Score:2, Informative)

    by lattyware (934246) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Saturday August 27, 2011 @03:25PM (#37229012) Homepage Journal

    I fully agree - and have been saying this for some time.

    The reality is though, it's very hard to get people to give up an old thing and move onto the new - look at the metric system in the UK, it's been mandated as the official thing for some time, and it's still not completely overtaken the imperial (even if only for road signs - another thing I argue, why are we not using both metric and imperial units on signs we are putting up now? It's insane to expect it to happen all at once, so why not start using dual system signs, then when most signs have both on, replace the last few and swap over, then start using metric only).

  • by somersault (912633) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @03:36PM (#37229170) Homepage Journal

    CmdrTaco Resigns From Slashdot [slashdot.org]. There was at least one post from 3 of the editors saying goodbye as well, but that's the important one.

  • Re:Prime Hours (Score:4, Informative)

    by chill (34294) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @04:00PM (#37229498) Journal

    Wow, nice subtle troll. I believe the French and Belgians would beg to differ with you.

    Belgian cartographer Gerardus Mercator published the first modern atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, in 1570. He showed the Prime Meridian running through Antwerp. The Royal Observatory in Greenwich wasn't commissioned until 1675 -- 105 years later.

    The Paris Observatory was commissioned in 1667 and completed in 1671, a good 4 years before the British even started on theirs.

    The Greenwich line is used because when the vote was taken in 1884, over two-thirds of all ships and tonnage used it as the reference meridian on their maps. That is, British economic dominance was at its peak and most of the ships already used it. Oh, and it pissed off the French, which was always a plus to the Brits back then.

  • by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Saturday August 27, 2011 @04:30PM (#37229756)

    Ah - Tea Party airhead - right?

    Nope, just somebody who's never gonna give you up and never gonna let you down. (Hint, hint.)

  • by WidgetGuy (1233314) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @04:32PM (#37229762)

    And here's an actual fact: the U.S. government continually broadcasts the correct time no matter where you are (in the U.S., of course). They (I believe one source is the U.S. Navy) do it by broadcasting a radio signal that, when received by the appropriately-equipt clock/watch, will set that device to the correct time based on an atomic clock maintained by the U.S. government.

    All you need to do to take advantage of this service is, when you next go clock/wristwatch shopping, make sure to ask if they have a product that features this capability (they should, even Walmart sells 'em). Most of the clocks in my house have this feature (wall clock, clocks in my computers -- the computers get the Navy time over the Internet, not via radio). Even my wristwatch (Casio) has a little radio receiver in it tuned to the government's time broadcast. Not only does this keep your watch accurate, it takes care of all of the DST stuff too. It's kind of fun to watch the wall clock get the "change DST" signal and "spin" its hands to the correct time (my wall clock can't "spin" backwards, so it has to make 11 complete revolutions in the fall). Hey, I'm easily entertained, what can I tell you?

    I can set my wall clock, my computer clocks and even my wristwatch to ignore the DST signal (as someone pointed out, some states in the U.S. -- Arizona is one, I believe -- don't abide by the DST convention). In addition, there doesn't seem to be any huge premium charged for this feature. The radio-equipt clock on my wall only cost $20USD and my radio-equipt Casio wristwatch cost just $38USD.

    So what was the "problem" again?

    P.S. I can't believe Firefox's spell checker couldn't spell "equipt." I know the more commonly used word ("equipped") has the same meaning and Firefox could spell that version. But, c'mon, gang: "equipt" is two-characters shorter!

  • by hde226868 (906048) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @04:33PM (#37229782) Homepage

    ...but if you want to buy a single drink, it's easier to say "a pint" or even "a 12-ounce cup" rather than "400 milliliters."

    What's wrong with saying 4 deciliters?

    or using what's done in most metric countries, namely use 250ml or 500ml ?

  • Re:Slow news day? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @04:53PM (#37229958) Homepage Journal
    Lacking a link is typical of "Ask Slashdot" stories. I'd offer you coffee, but it's a bit late in the day in ${TIMEZONE} to be using the "just woke up" excuse, even for Slashdotters.
  • by FrankSchwab (675585) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @07:07PM (#37230864) Journal

    Exactly so.

    Living in the great state of Arizona, we've chosen to ignore the Federal Government's pronouncements on time, and their constant meddling with when time should change.

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