> “The economy — that’s all of us — would receive a permanent ‘harmonization dividend’ ”— the efficiency benefits that come from a unified time zone.
But this editorial is pretty light on actually supporting that. The basic argument seems to be that it reduces 'translation costs'. But..does it? What about the benefits of being able to refer to times without having to localize them? If my friend on the other side of the country says "I woke up at 9 this morning", I have a pretty good idea of what that means. If we used this new system, i'd have to mentally translate.
In terms of scheduling things, it would get easier in some ways and likely harder in others. If say, I want to schedule a conference call at 3, yes, 3 is the same time for everyone, but i'd still have to do some mental sanity checks to ensure that that time is reasonable for everyone who might be participating.
Overall, is there really an efficiency gain to be had here? I'm not taking the firm position that there isn't, btw. Just a bit skeptical and curious to hear a better argument in its favor if anyone has got one.
I would be in favor of doing away with DST and also eschewing AM/PM in favor of a 24-hour clock. I'm surprised this article didn't mention that.
Or just name the zones based on the offset. So NY would be -5. We could for humans write time with the ecoding, similar to ISO-8601, but it would just be 15:30-5 for 3:30pm EST.
While we're at it. Can we make all the months standard lengths too? 30 day months, with 1 New Year's Day (for a fun party) and every four years a bonus New Year's Day! For an especially big party :)
Edit: as stated below I screwed up my (basic) math. 13 months 28 days is better. What should we call the 13th month?
28 day months make far more sense, would align nicely with your proposed single New Year's day, and have the added bonus of aligning with our 7-day week system quite nicely. This ends up with 13 months altogether, and hey, it turns out that 28 days is closer to a lunar cycle, so the full moon would end up happening at roughly the same time every month. Not perfectly of course, but with the chaos that is our solar system, I'll take what I can get.
So when you give someone an inch, you're specifically giving 25.4mm ;)
And yeah. I mean 10 is only divisible by 2 and 5 where 12 is much more flexible in giving us 2, 3, 4, and 6. At least that was my grandfather's argument.
I annoying need to keep Metric and Standard wrenches and such for working on various things. Eventually it won't matter as the US will mostly source parts built over-seas where it will only make sense to adopt metric. And then the Standard system will only be left on road signs and temeratures, oh that's pretty much already happened.
Now that is some good ole American ingenuity :)
My "favorite" is "Well farenheit just makes more sense for humans".
I rely on unit tests for this stuff these days ;)
I was shocked, being a visitor here, when sometime about a month ago, we celebrated new year (after the 13th month), while the rest of the world was in the middle of the Gregorian calendar!
But really, while we are on the topic of reform, is there any particular reason the week should be 7 days? Or that there should be a week at all?
Time keeping is also weird. Base 24 and 60 is so arbitrary. Make it base ten, and you can express date and time easily. Right now is 6.976. The 9 is the hour, the 76 is the minute, etc.
And then if we are talking about radical standards reform, let's do away with base 10 entirely and go to 12. It carries more precision in less space, is much more divisible, and has more patterns in the multiplication tables.
I love thinking about how more optimal the world could be if not for coordination problems and other issues.
Except the week starts with Monday. At least in the civilized world…
According to Wikipedia there are at least three "first day of the week" in use, sorted by (my assumption of) affected population:
Monday: EU and most of other European countries, most of Asia and Oceania
Sunday: Canada, USA, Korea, Japan, Israel, South Africa, most of Latin America
Saturday: Much of the Middle East
Hell, while we are at it we can just rename the days firstday, secondday, etc, and not have to deal with that issue.
We use 12, 60 (and 360deg) because our fingers are divided into 12 sections on the palm side.
You can use your thumb to point to each section on your right hand, counting to 12, while using the number of fingers on your left hand to keep track of how many 12s (up to 5) hence base 60.
You could also split time further into thirds, which would work even better with a base 12 system.
6 minutes is too much time though, if you tried to fill that with ads you'd lose your audience fast.
Dividing into thirds doesn't really work in a decimal system.
The 40-hour workweek isn't an arbitrary quantity, it's an empirically derived quantity. And the process of deriving it literally involved people killing each other. I don't see it changing very soon, except in edge cases.
Why not hexadecimal, to help accelerate the singularity?
I think you're proposing this, 13 months named for scientists, one day outside the year.
When the reality is much less exciting... replacing the old gods with a deified version of Science.
Alternatively, you would rely on the ordinals, dropping the -us ending and replacing it with -ilis as in Sextilis and Quintilis.
Mostly cause it's lame though.
Months are hardly necessary, anyway. Wouldn't quarters be better?
Have 4 quarters of 13 * 7-day weeks each. Designate the vernal equinox as day 0 of the calendar, follow it with the 4 91-day quarters, and tack on leap days after the 4th quarter according to the Gregorian calendar rules.
So you end up with dates like the 41st of Spring, or the 82nd of Summer. New Year's Day would be the 0th (nilth) of Spring, and Leap Day the 92nd of Winter.
Months are, more or less, related to the moon periods, just like the year is to earth period. And most of the world has year quarters, called seasons. Seasons are there (in front of our eyes) to stay, regardless of how we'll choose to distribute the days of the year.
From the Simpsons
And the other 4 days?
One solar year: 365.24219 x (86400s days).
This has a beneficial side effect of making date handling easier for 8 bit microcontrollers, so when the singularity happens, the superAI will take pity on us because we showed mercy to its ancestors.
I argue it'd avoid mistakes, such as the assumption it's dark at the other clock's 18h because it is here.
It's like that everywhere in Europe. Nobody says 'see you at fifteen'. 24 hour clock is merely for writing things down. I mean it would already be an improvement if the US would catch up with that, just saying that a 24 hour clock isn't said out loud as such. (not disagreeing or anything with you I guess, just adding some information).
Not really? In France it's perfectly normal to say "Rendez-vous à quinze heures" or "Le film commence à vingt-deux heures trente"
Google Translate sometimes seems to know how to do this too.
One of the main midday newscast is called "Le journal de treize heures".
I am not fond of it. It is heavy and in most use cases, doesn't bring more information than 1-12, because the context makes generally obvious to know if we're talking about AM or PM.
(sorry about that ;) )
And, as always, trying to generalize over a whole continent doesn't work out. It's perfectly fine in German or Polish to say "see you at fifteen".
This is why the less rural people over here use exact time.
Not sure why you feel the need to imply people using "half" are somehow impaired (as the attribute "rural" is often used to imply backwardness). The "half" notation is ubiquitous in the south.
Sorry but that is not how it works in Portugal.
We usually say 15.00 unless it is clear from context that 3 is 15.00.
For example if I am scheduling to meet for a coffee at 3, it surely isn't 3 AM.
Now if I am talking about meeting for something else at 10, and it isn't clear from context, usually I will be asked if I mean 10 or 22.
Besides AM / PM is something that we have to deal with in English based devices, that is it.
Europe is not one country. In Sweden it's perfectly normal to say that.
Just thought I'd chime in here too.
Whatever you do, don't mention metric time in the US. The 10-hour days and 100-day months that we find so normal drives them insane.
That was just an added bonus for the democratically elected Parliament to accept it, but it wasn't the initial reason.
Decimal time had mostly been pushed by mathematicians (d'Alembert decades before the Revolution, Borda who was the real ), and much later Poincaré, while the most important proponents of the decimal calendar were Romme and Dupuis (very far from being an atheist! though not a fervent Catholic either indeed) and respected scientists such as Lagrange and Monge.
The first and foremost reason was doing away with old arbitrary customs associated with the monarchy and replacing them with standards grounded into more universal, less arbitrary references.
That's the only reason I support it, for my part, and I doubt anyone in France cares now about having weekdays named after Roman gods. Even at the time of the Revolution I believe these names would actually have been somewhat appealing, as classical culture was seen then as a model with which to replace the despised monarchy and religious oppression.
There are 24 hours in the day.
Why are we recycling numbers in our time system?
No really, why?
I guess 12 hour clocks are an easy trick to make them easier to read and manufacture and so on.
(Former submariner so a somewhat special case ;)
Ever tried to read the clock on a sundial at night?
12/2=6, 12/3=4 work well, (with /4 and /6 being repeats of those)
24 hours doesn't add much on top of those divisions (you get /4 with a repeating /6 I guess)
In Quebec, the 24 hour clock is the norm.
Outside of Quebec, the 12 hour clock is the majority but a significant minority use the 24 hour clock. Everyone understands the 24 hour clock in my experience though.
1745 to me just means what 5:45pm means to you, but I never translate it in my head. In fact, if I'm texting someone older who I think might not naturally use 24-hour time, I have to translate to 12-hour time and it always feels odd to write the am/pm suffix.
And everyone "gets" that all numbers after 12 are late-day.
15 only is odd if someone else is expecting to hear 3p
I doubt many of the people on HN for instance, work those set hours in this day and age. Nowadays it is purely a convenience factor to keep the worker drones in the same hive so they can gather for the next interminable meeting.
With the rise of remote working, and other forms of communication tools, no one has to be constrained by those arbitrary work hours any more. I personally do my best work late at night and well into the early hours, and have indeed had remote meetings with overseas team members at 10 or 11 pm my time because it actually suits me better than 3pm my time, which is when I usually try and sleep off my post lunch lethargy. (Note: I see the irony in 'post lunch' - The concept of 3 set meals a day is also another byproduct of the agricultural/industrial age that is not really as relevant in modern society where families tend not to dine together at a set time any longer).
Japan adopted the 9-5. But Japan is on solar time, and thus the sun comes up at 4 AM during the summer in Tokyo. Japan also doesn't do DST. So 9-5 is actually 11-7 in "equivalent sunlight"
The idea of time zones is to keep people in sync, but most of the world is not even on a "12PM=Solar Midday" schedule! So when the sun comes up at 4, if feels weird, because it doesn't match what you see elsewhere on the same longitude.
If I understood correctly, Akashi is the "standard" (as in, fixed from Greenwich) reference in Japan, some 270 miles west of Tokyo, that means that the Sun is at the highest point just some minutes before 12 in Tokyo, which is not significantly different from what happens in London when the DST is not active? England sees the highest Sun at around 1 pm when the DST is active, but that's only one hour, give or take the minutes of seasonal variations from the real solar time, and that really only when DST is active, and Japan, as you say, doesn't do DST, and has the similar seasonal variations.
Therefore I don't understand your "11-7" equivalence.
http://blog.poormansmath.net/images/SolarTimeVsStandardTimeV... <-- this map shows the difference between clock time and solar time. Western Europe and much of the US is 2 hours behind solar time compared to Tokyo.
So Tokyo is set to a 9-5, but if they want to follow the same strategy of getting to work first thing in the morning, then they should be doing 7-3, or even a bit earlier due to DST non-observance.
Main point is that 9 AM means vastly different things, even counting for longitude. Standard time has become standard, in setting when people wake up, but it's far from the locally ideal situations.
As the picture shows, Spain and the parts of France are the extremes in the Europe, in the rest of Europe the Sun is closer to being at 12:00 (not counting DST) not too different to Tokyo.
Yes, the map you link shows is that some parts of the world have wider time zones than it would allow all the people living there to have the Sun very close to 12:00. But your "Tokyo sunrise" argument is still not a good one. All the areas (and cities) in the map that are "relatively white" have Sun at the highest point around 12:00 noon. Tokyo is "relatively white." New York and LA are also "relatively white." So I still don't know what is your perspective for Tokyo being strange. Can you please explain? The dramatic example would in fact be Spain or even Argentina.
"Reykjavik, Iceland Earliest Sunrise: 2:55 a.m. from June 18th through June 21st." (Reykjavik is 64° N)
"London, United Kingdom Earliest Sunrise: 4:43 a.m. from June 11th through June 22nd." (London is 51° N)
"Tokyo, Japan Earliest Sunrise: 4:25 a.m. from June 6th through June 20th." (Tokyo is 36° N)
Everyone gets wrenched by the start and end of BST, but generally if someone says "5pm" or "17:00" you get a seasonal sense of how much daylight that implies. I can't imagine the US - or anywhere else - being different, except possibly close to the poles.
Absolute sun position matters a lot less than the felt relationship between clock time and sun position. That sense changes slowly but reliably over the year.
The obvious benefit of time zones is that virtually everyone you interact with daily has the same subjective time sense. Everyone knows that midday is going to be bright, midnight is going to be dark, and the rest is going to vary with the season.
A single universal time would lose that.
But then we also have far longer periods of sunlight during the summer.
What's annoying me even now in London is that sunset still comes too early during the summer (during the winter, on the other hand, I definitively appreciate the longer days here vs. Norway)
On the contrary, the 9-5 concept has never applied to the vast majority of working humans on the planet (agriculture, health, factories, sales, even most offices don't keep those hours). With growing communication across time zones, their difficulties have only recently become more obvious, previously this sort of communication was rare, now it is becoming commonplace.
The solution to not being sure if someone is working at a given hour is to schedule a call, preferably using a sane shared timekeeping standard which doesn't change hours at the whim of politicians.
Also, reproductive work (nursing children, taking care of the sick and elderly, cleaning the house).
We all need to get off our high horse and be more specific, at the risk of smaller readership. For global teams that are making software, GMT / 24 hour clocks are great. But lets not project our reality onto the rest of the world. I love that comment!
Farmers, truck drivers, pilots, bakers, hospitality workers, nurses, street sweepers, security guards and a thousand other jobs are NOT bound to a 9-5 working time. Indeed, outside of government or large corporations, I struggle to find many professions that ARE bound (or have to BE bound) to these hours.
For instance my place has a requirement on being there around 9:30 in the morning even though we should be part of the "Ivory Tower" club you mention since we actually work day in day out with people on different time zones.
Same with public services opening at 9h an ending at 18h, forcing everyone else to open holes in their schedule to get there.
What kind of hour staggering were you thinking about to try and solve the scheduling problem?
I miss out on time with my family if I leave later than 5, and I prioritize that over looking busy in the office. After 5 my mental capacity and productivity is dwindling anyways.
Would love to stay on DST and never go back. Kids don't sleep in an extra hour. It makes for a rough week.
Some jobs have the luxury of ignoring that, but that's just a perk, not a wide tendency. Just as if remote working in software allows one to work in one's pajamas, it doesn't mean all other clothes besides pajamas are now an outdated concept.
I know lots of lawyers and accountants who do that stuff at all hours - exactly the same hours as I do my programming work.
20 years ago, I used to do the whole 'business lunch' thing with a lot of them too. Nowadays, it is usually a quick 'coffee catchup' at all sorts of hours - sometimes 9pm, which works better for us than the 12pm or 1pm lunch sessions used to.
Technology, plus the burdens of modern working life, means that 9-5 is really just a placeholder for "Oh, well those are the official times that denote when I will be available to do work stuff", but heck, that is really my "interruption time band" and my REAL work times are usually outside of that...
However that's not how that will work out for the majority. You abolish 9-5 expectation, all fine until you get a boss that is a night owl and he wants you available from 6PM to 3AM AM. Enjoy both not having family time anymore and not being compensated to work what would be a night shift in current society.
You take the example of the lawyer here above. Right now he need to be in the office because his assistants/PA will be in the office at that time and there is no reasonable expectation he can force them to be available at other times.
> just a placeholder for "Oh, well those are the official times that denote when I will be available to do work stuff"
It's not "just", it's very important coordination point. If lawyers kept random hours and you needed a lawyer, it's be much harder for you to find one because you'd also look for one that has suitable hours. Not impossible, but harder. To lower transactional costs, the hours are roughly synchronized.
It's always been a struggle to force myself to conform to society's idea of "normal hours," especially in high school when I had to wake up at 6 AM.
I realize most people struggle relating to this; try imagining starting your day at 10 PM, if you're a "normal" morning lark.
In fact, most people in my coworking space also work 9 to 5.
Same goes for set meals (except that I don't have breakfast). Usually when I'm hungry enough that I want to eat, it's conveniently lunch time. And the second time I get hungry is usually around 7 pm.
Personally, my wife and I like to be home when the kids come back from school at around 2:30pm, so we tend to break our work days to spend the afternoons with them to help with homework and chat to them etc., then resume working once they are in bed.
That works for use because we work from home too. Obviously wouldn't work for many others. But why not make things work for us, especially now we have the capability to do so via tech and modern corporate culture?
No, that's completely untrue for the vast majority of workers.
I appreciate that factory assembly line workers, shopkeepers and many others have to have set hours, but even so, does that have to conform to the 9-5 standard?
An example using Banks, an ancient entity that exemplified the 9-5 ethos: Here in Australia, most banks don't open their doors until 9am, then close promptly at 4pm. Their reasoning - they have to prepare floats and cash drawers in the morning and cash up at the end of the day, thus the restrictive times.
Problem is - everyone else in town has to work between their designated 8am and 5pm, thus are otherwise occupied during the bank's opening times too, which makes visiting the branch office an impracticality.
Except during lunch hour. And when do the banks send most of their staff on lunch? That's right, between 12pm and 1pm, which is when everyone else can actually get there and experience short staffing at its absolute worst.
Why on earth don't they do a 'double shift', whereby one smaller team comes in at, say 6am to start the preparation and open the doors at, say 7am and work until 1pm. Another team can come in at 11am and work through to 7pm, doing the cashing up and closing the doors at 6pm. That way the bank will be open before and after other people's work times for convenience, and the dreaded lunch hour rush will actually be double staffed for better service.
That 1920's inefficient mindset really has to give way these days.
The reason they don't do this is that that would require workers to stay at work later, which would take away from time spent with kids, eating dinner with family, etc. You're only thinking of this from the perspective of the customers' convenience, but the banks' employees are people too, and they don't want to have to be at work long after everyone else finishes up with work. If you were a cashier at the bank you'd feel differently about this.
I've run my own businesses for over 30 years now, and in almost all cases, we give our employees a choice over their preferred working hours. Guess what? Some of them are 'early birds' and love coming in really early when they feel productive and like the fact that they can leave early and still catch up with friends for coffee or a late lunch at 2 or 3pm.
Some preferred spending their early mornings getting kids ready for school or going to extended yoga classes, running errands etc. and coming in closer to lunch time and working later, leaving the office after 6 or 7pm to avoid the rush hour traffic.
The solution could work to suit the employees as well as the customers. Time to be creative about this, rather than refusing to budge from an outdated mandate.
I daresay that if your childcare centre only offered a 11am to 7pm slot then your work schedule would shift accordingly. And why wouldn't a child care institution offer split shifts like this? It would cater for people who have long commutes or actual shift work. I know employment contracts, overtime rates and EBAs/Government legislation comes into play - but all these are things that have to be reconsidered in light of modern workforce practices.
While it would be nice if there was slightly later childcare and work to shift peak hour, I don't really think it will work.
I've posted elsewhere here that my business tries to cater for this, by allowing earlier start time and/or reduced hours for parents who want to be home for their kids, or collect them and take them home themselves.
Must admit I find it strange that social implications like this aren't more of a focus in modern society. Surely we can make the whole working/school cycle more effective?
When I worked remotely in the UK for a company based in California (normal time difference 8 hours), I'd work into the evening for exactly the same reason. It's far more efficient; it makes IM possible, and changes email threads from multi-hour conversations to multi-day conversations.
Even if we keep AM/PM, we should make it make sense. It should switch when the numbers roll over. Having 11am be followed by 12pm is nonsensical. The fix for this, as any programmer will tell you, is to recognize that 12 is really 0...we've got an off-by-one bug. Midnight should be 0am and noon should be 0pm.
twelveHour = twentyFourHour mod 12
But instead with the status quo, we need to add this extra line of logic:
if twelveHour == 0 then twelveHour = 12
> if twelveHour == 0 then twelveHour = 12
That's because humans naturally begin counting from 1, not 0. Mainly because we are counting objects, not adding an array index to a pointer.
One inch is a displacement of "1" from the beginning. One hour is a displacement of "1" from the beginning. It's pretty stupid to arbitrarily call the beginning "12".
I think this will be a more and more common thing as more of our lives ends up online. It won't matter when the sun shines so much as what is normal to the individual.
> We need to deep-six not just daylight saving time, but [time zones]
I fail to see what you mean. Do you mean your biological clock needs to see it's 12pm to believe that it's the middle of the day? Why can't your biological clock just settle on any arbitrary number?
And the 24 hours clock is just a matter of notation. In large parts of the world it's the default one for specifying time.
I've worked in several companies with global offices and time translation was never an issue. Of course you'd need to accept the fact that people in other parts of the world would be in the office at different times of the day. But there is no "tech fix" for that.
"Great, sounds like we have a plan. When should we touch base again?"
"Let's aim for Monday. How's your afternoon?"
"Monday is no good, but Tuesday morning is free."
"Um, mornings are no good for me, I'm on the west coast. I could do anything after 10am your time."
"OK, 1pm works."
"1pm your time, great."
"Oh, no, I meant 10am your time, 1pm eastern."
"Oh, right, ok. Great, I'll send a meeting invite."
Time zones make this SO INSUFFERABLE. I'm in the Bay Area now, and everybody still reverts to ET just to speak about the same thing. I actually have a biweekly call with people in DC, New York, Chicago, and SF, and it's hell to try to move by an hour. Everybody ends up speaking relative language, about "push it back an hour" or "same time tomorrow?". There's still going to be problems with the east coast thinking 10am is a good time to meet, or people who are on the hook to spend money dragging their feet for no reason, but I would love to get everybody working on the same system.
(As a side note, meeting invites that work over email are god's gift companies. Getting on the conference call at the wrong time is remarkably rare, and nobody ever blames time zones, because software takes care of the problem once you've picked the initial time.)
"Here we work from 17h to 23h" is a lot easier to understand "Here we work from 9 to 5, but we're in summer time, so that's actually an hour off of the usual thing but...oh, wait, you're on summer time now too, so I guess it's the usual plus six hours, no wait, minus six..."
One planet, one time-zone, and everyone can keep their local customs for waking/sleeping, working, and whatever else.
It's approximately as wide as the U.S. and it has a single timezone - Beijing time.
As you can imagine, if you are living in Beijing, Beijing time works pretty well. It also works pretty well for everywhere else on the east coast.
It's not so bad in the middle either.
For the people living in Urumqi, or even further west such as Kashgar (or actually pretty much anyone in Xinjiang province) it's a mess.
Everything is offset a couple of hours and there is a kind of unofficial 'xinjiang time' that you have to convert to and from in your head depending sometimes on the ethnicity of the person.
It's not a good idea.
So? The only examples the article gives are "sometimes it's light at midnight" and "sometimes the sun doesn't come up until 10am", both of which are absolutely normal for lots of people living in, say, not-entirely-southern Scandinavia.
> and there is a kind of unofficial 'xinjiang time' that you have to convert to and from in your head
So the problem is not the single time zone, the problem stems from having two time zones for (somewhat understandable, but still inconvenient) political reasons.
So once again ask yourself, why do two timezones exist when there is already one official one that everybody should use?
Timezones won't go away just because governments will it and then it becomes even more of a mess.
(I've only been to Urumqi once, but I found the being in the same timezone as the rest of China very convenient, particularly in contrast to earlier on the same trip when we arrived in Kiev 2 hours earlier than we'd expected and had to scramble to pack up our stuff and leave the train)
This cause is driven by our increasing interactions with people in other time zones, and the problem will keep getting bigger as the world gets smaller.
Xinjiang is probably a bit behind that curve, but it will happen there too.
I agree though that they're likely behind the Internet curve compared to say Silicon Valley, but surely screwing up the days of tens of millions of people to make life slightly more convenient for people who have a lot of Internet interactions doesn't really make much sense.
For those people, surely they could just adopt a single timezone as a frame of reference?
I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're absolutely right about the adoption. Assuming I'm right and this makes sense, the people who need it the most will start using it between them, more and more people will join them, and when the official world switches over, it will be a formal acceptance of how things already work.
If I'm right.
Not immediately. Any change from the status quo hurts businesses. There is no require change to code, logic, data, etc. that "helps".
You can, however, make changes that inflict serious pain but are good long-term.
Here is the short list of those:
* Everyone going fully metric and use ISO for everything not metric. This would help things not crash into Mars.
* No timezones, no extra second for the year, no leap year, no daylight savings- just steady time. (Disclaimer: even you were to make all data migrations and/or logic changes required, this only eliminates some problems. You still can't depend on the server or client to have accurate time.) Similar to the Star Trek universe.
* Single currency: Bitcoin. I think Bitcoin's not yet ready to be a universal currency, but it has a better chance than any other currency.
* Single language: Inuktitut Inuinnaqtun. ᐊᑕᐅᓯᖅ.
* Single font: Garamond.
* Single color scheme: Polar. http://www.colorcombos.com/color-schemes/131/ColorCombo131.h...
* Single band/song/note: Chicago, If You Leave Me Now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlKaVFqxERk , B.
* Single stare: long, deep, soulful.
The UK Metrication Association in 2006 estimated the cost of converting road signs to be £80 million. Only the road signs.
Now consider UK and the US as a whole- all of the cost to the government, businesses, non-profits, etc.
I assure you that the UK spends that much or more on signs that were damaged by weather, were rendered incorrect by road changes, or needed updates due to new signage standards.
When the US automotive industry looked at metric as a big push was being launched they realized that metic was cheaper and switched. Fewer bolt sizes, fewer tools required, simpler designs, easier math for machining. There was literally no reason to stick to the old system.
Stubborn is not harsh. Stubborn is the truth.
There's nothing sadder than watching some American mechanics struggle to add together things like 7/8, 3/16, 1/2 and 17/32 based on different bits of material they need to assemble together, except maybe watching the team on Mythbusters flail as they insist on using ridiculous units like inch-pounds and feet per second to try and do basic physics. How many feet per second is 66 miles per hour? What kind of inch-pound torque on a six pound weight at the end of a yard long arm through an eighty degree arc generates that kind of speed?
The big perk of Metric is all the units are normalized and mostly interchangeable. The big nuisance of other systems is the units are all completely arbitrary and require conversion factors.
Get with the program already. Metric might feel annoying, but that's only because change is difficult. It's natural for anyone living in a country that's flipped.
The issue of cost is not unique to America.
1. The customers use inches.
2. The expensive machines we use are configured in inches.
3. The code we use uses inches.
The same could be said for a fractional stock market back before decimalization.
I believe that we should use a language that has not only survived the test of time, but is still spoken by its native population and shows its expressiveness by its many words for forms of water. It also had 410 speakers according to a 2011 census, which is more than native speakers of Lojban (20-200), Elefen (30-100), Toki Pona (3-100), or Ithkuil (0-10).
As an example of its practical use compared to Lojban, Elefen, Toki Pona, or Ithkuil, here is a stop sign in Inuinnaqtun:
I've not seen a stop sign in Lojban, Elefen, Toki Pona, or Ithkuil. How could that be safe?
Sure planning is "easier", except now you have to check that it does not interfer with every participants "sunrise" time. And if planning seems to be that hard, we can keep the current system and plan after UTC.
Why would it need to? This smacks of not having tried to understand the many, varied, and changing rules trying to tie locality to time. One inch into US Arizona's boundaries and you're off by an hour, if you are at one point in the calendar vs another. How many man hours have gone into maintaining this system, and continue to?
I mean, when someone schedules an across-timezones meeting they use software anyway; and who really cares about that one time 2 decades ago when some small region switched timezones or whatever? (yes, I'm painfully aware that there are changes to timezones across the world pretty much every month; what I'm saying is how often does anyone really care about the historical changes, in contexts where the hour or 30 minutes really matters?)
Formally adopting the metric system would probably be a better use of the capital that it would take to convince the average person to adjust a point of reference.
I look forward to the inevitable responses about how base 12 is better than base 10...
If you're confused about when your friend woke up, that won't make you miss a meeting/phone call/WoW raid.
This is already a real problem, and the more we interact with people in other time zone in our ever more networked world, the bigger it will become.
Changes to "two hours after sunrise". Which is more accurate in a globalized world anyway, because 9:00 is sometimes an hour after sunrise and sometimes several hours after sunrise, depending on where you live.
> Mental sanity checks
If you're setting a remote meeting with someone several hours flight away, you will have access to their calendar. Their calendar will include their normal and extended business hours, and probably their typical sleep hours too.
There are older people who go to bed at 19:00 right after their supper and are up by 5:00, and there are younger people who will be out partying all night, go to sleep at 5:00, and wake up at 12:00. Expecting everyone to abide by the same 9-5 schedule, even in the same current-day timezone, is social tyranny.
Depends just as much or more on the time of year - sunrise/sunset varies a lot by season. I think it makes less sense to base things relative to sunrise when it's so incredibly varied.
I didn't make the claim that "two hours after sunrise" is completely accurate. I made the claim that it's more accurate. It's more accurate for more people who live relatively closer to the equator.
That's not really any better as solar time varies by season and latitude, and becomes totally meaningless at the extremes. "Two hours after sunrise" is a meaningless statement for about half of the year in the attic circle for instance.
> There are older people who go to bed at 19:00 right after their supper and are up by 5:00, and there are younger people who will be out partying all night, go to sleep at 5:00, and wake up at 12:00. Expecting everyone to abide by the same 9-5 schedule, even in the same current-day timezone, is social tyranny.
Humans are diurnal and "9-5" covers daytime (i.e., when people are active) at most latitudes during most seasons in most timezones. Businesses will center their schedules around this window no matter what it's called.
So the argument is that "getting up at 9:00" is equally worthless in such a situation for connoting waking up a little late. Especially in a place with no sunlight, where the hour when you get up is all the more arbitrary since you don't have the sun to provide a natural guide.
> Businesses will center their schedules around this window no matter what it's called.
The original point is that a business's customers are rarely all in the same time zone anymore. Abiding by UTC doesn't prevent them from opening mainly during the daytime, it just makes it easier to do business with people who live that much further away from you. The point about social tyranny is more a side benefit than the main argument.
If there are no timezones, I don't have the out of band knowledge of what standard business hours are, and I need to somehow figure this out for all parties. Abolishing timezones makes some computation tasks easier, at the expense of complicating actual human interactions.
My intuition tells me that replacing a huge and complex system with something much simpler would pay off. But it's just a thought experiment.
The reason there's little support offered may be that this is a "controversial" suggestion designed to draw attention to the author's new book rather than a serious proposal. We can't even get rid of summer time, so everyone knows something radical like this is never going to happen.
9 could mean something very different relative to dawn, or relative to their usual working hours, than it does to you.
> If say, I want to schedule a conference call at 3, yes, 3 is the same time for everyone, but i'd still have to do some mental sanity checks to ensure that that time is reasonable for everyone who might be participating.
If you propose a time that's in the middle of the night for them, they can always tell you so. The big breakthrough is that you don't ever end up thinking you've agreed on different times. (E.g. just last weak I had someone from the US try to join a conference call an hour early, because the DST shift over there apparently happens a week later than it does over here).
When I need to synchronize with someone else, time zones get in the way. When I need to describe an experience relative to where I am, I might want to refer a time calibrated to exact my coordinates on the Earth. That was hard in the 1800's but would be easy today now that everyone carries a GPS receiver in their pocket. The same for reporting time relative to sunrise.
Also, when traveling I think it's much easier to adjust your body to a different clock that getting used to get up at some weird time and getting to bed at another weird time. To avoid jetlag you need to trick your body into believing in the local time, not your home time, so having the same time everywhere won't help at all.
Mentally translate to what? If your friend tells you they woke up at 9 this morning in a world with one timezone, you know exactly when they woke up. 9.
Currently you have to know where they are currently located, and you are currently located, to figure out the time they actually woke up.
Do you really? If your friend called, said "I woke up at 9 this morning", then hung up, you wouldn't really know what that means.
Usually your friend would embed this information in some context, like "I woke up at 9 this morning, but I had an important meeting scheduled for 9:30, and my commute takes at least 30 minutes even on the best days. Oops." You need this amount of context to understand what they are really trying to tell you, and you wouldn't keep track of your friends' schedules and commute times at this level of detail.
But if the context is provided, the actual number doesn't matter: "I woke up at 22 hours this morning, but I had an important meeting scheduled for 22:30, and my commute takes at least 30 minutes even on the best days. Oops." conveys exactly the same information.
More generally, my colleagues and me might come in to work at any time between 8 and 10 in the morning, and I guess (but don't check!) that that's the same for my friends in other companies. So if a random friend tells me "I woke up at 9 this morning", they could mean anything between "... and I realized I would be at work two hours later than usual" and "... so I would have time to feed the ducks in the park on the way to work and still be at the office before the boss".
Yes you do, you know he woke up possibly a little late, but didn't massively oversleep.
> "I woke up at 22 hours this morning,
Now I have no idea whether that's good/bad/early/late without a lookup table.
As I tried to illustrate in the rest of my post, there are a lot of (cultural, and other) assumptions that go into this. If they are usually at work at 8, then sleeping until 9 is pretty massive, especially if a long commute is involved.
With time zones, you have to calculate mentally WHEN someone in another time zone is awake or something like that.
Without time zones, you have to calculate mentally WHAT it means if someone says 14:30.
I don't know which would be easier in the long run.
Getting rid of Time Zones is ridiculous. People know that 6am roughly is morning, and 6pm is roughly the evening. When you're dealing with someone internationally, you know not to call them at midnight their time because there's a high probability they may be sleeping. Having time roughly follow a standard around the world makes absolute sense because we're human.
Losing an hour of sleep in the spring is rough, but I'd rather do that (and get an extra hour in the fall) than have to get ready in the dark all winter.
Most workers today would prefer going to work in the dark and having daylight after work. Even farmers will tell you DST doesn't make a diffence to them anymore (or ever). The animals get up with the sun regardless of what the clock says.
I agree with OP -- in today's modern world we should just stick with DST all year.
At the latitudes of California, the length of the day doesn't shrink as fast, and the effects of the daylight savings switch last over a month. There's a little bit of sense in having it here, but not a lot.
Europe lies much farther north than the US, and the Scandinavian countries are on roughly the same latitudes as Alaska. In the winter it is dark when you go to school/work, and it is dark when you come home from school/work. Seasonal mood disorders are a thing, but daylight savings time doesn't help one bit, there's simply not enough sunlight in the day, and shifting it back and forth doesn't do squat.
If you could move the daylight hours without breaking everyone's schedules, I would bet that filling 4pm through 8pm with sunlight would be very effective.
Alternatively we could shut everything down for a while starting midmorning.
Or keep going as we do now, with the sun not being a priority.
In Anchorage for example elementary school starts between 9am and 9:30am to account for the late sunrise.
The question isn't whether society can adjust, but rather which society prefers: winter morning sunlight or not changing clocks.
If two people come to opposite conclusions on that point (as you and I do), there's really nothing left to do but agree to disagree.
It's possible that it doesn't, but like I said, Occam's Razor makes the simplest explanation the default until evidence to the contrary is presented.
Daylight in the morning suppresses the action of the pineal gland. This helps you wake up. Getting up in the dark may sound like fun but it's fighting against your own body.
I'm more and more convinced that most humans just aren't wired to wake up at the crack of dawn. The tech industry owes a lot of its hyper productivity to the fact that they have flexible hours for their engineers which tend to skew later into the day and night.
I've been doing a lot of thinking during my walks there, and I've concluded that school starts at 8am so that parents can drop their children off before then, and still make it to work on time. That's it.
Do you have a reference for this? One story says schools started bumping their start times earlier in the day in the 1950's, so they could make multiple bus runs (high school first so they start earlier, then elementary).
If that's true, the ultimate culprits would presumably be the social engineers who forced kids to bus to distant schools when they previously had been able to walk.
Warning: embedded auto-play video (sorry)
But ending Standard Time would make everyone get up one hour earlier all winter long.
And why is going to bed at a decent hour to give you an 8 hour sleep period before you have to wake up for work or school a problem?
It's only a problem if it requires you to get up while it's still dark. Otherwise, I agree with you - go to bed at a decent hour so you can get 8 hours of sleep before sunrise.
And experts say that school age children and adolescents usually have a circadian rhythm for staying up till a bit later and getting up later. Our culture interprets this as laziness, because agricultural work had to start early so it could be finished before dusk, but neither the earlier hunter-gatherers, nor most of today's jobs fit that requirement.
This phenomenon is also called "social jetlag", when people are forced out of their normal rhythm and only stop being a zombie around 10-11 AM.
There's really no reason to do this, other than the kinda sadistic reasoning that "we also had to get up early and we survived, you kids also have to learn that life is hard sometimes, that will learn you discipline and build your character".
It's no coincidence that many young people like party late at night (or use the computer) when most older folks already want to sleep. There are some evolutionary hypotheses for the reason why young people have an "owl-type" rhythm: perhaps hunting and guarding their home in the dark was their usual nighttime activity.
In what way? People (and kids) survive wars and famines I'm sure we can handle a little bit of darkness. But if you really really can't, there's no reason why in winter, school couldn't start an hour later. Probably a good idea regardless.
I never claimed otherwise. To use your own rhetoric: People, including kids, survive wars and famines; I'm sure we can handle changing the clocks twice a year.
But to clarify my position, it's that when asked to choose between two hardships:
* Gain an hour of sleep every fall, lose an hour of sleep every spring
* Have an extra hour of morning darkness all winter long
...the majority chooses the first.
Does it? If it were up to a popular vote today, I'm not so sure DST camp would win out.
There are two possibilities: California's representatives are representing the will of the people, or they're not. Occam's Razor would point toward the former, but if you have evidence of the latter, what is it?
I'm pretty sure if put to a vote we'd stop changing times twice a year.
You don't have to be so condescending. There is plenty of complexity that you're ignoring to reduce it to a quip like that.
First off is the obvious possibility that being on the same schedule as 95% of the country is more important than being on a better schedule.
There's also the inertia of change. You can interpret "If it were up to a popular vote today" as an alternative to DST having been implemented decades ago.
Again, do you believe they misrepresented the will of the people? If so, what evidence is there to support that claim?
I certainly believe that congress would rather make a show about 'saving energy' than address the fact that it doesn't.
That doesn't mean they are going against the "will of the people", but the people are half-informed at best.
The question is what people would vote for in a popular election, without worrying about soundbites, and with an entire 5+ minutes of research into the topic. The actions of the legislature are not a great proxy for this.
I totally agree.
> with an entire 5+ minutes of research into the topic
You're being condescending and dismissive here. I've acknowledged that many people agree with your opinion that an extra hour of morning sunlight all winter long is not worth the hassle of changing clocks twice a year; you seem to be saying that only an ignorant person could possibly have the opposite opinion.
Is that really what you believe?
> you seem to be saying that only an ignorant person could possibly have the opposite opinion
Not at all. I'm saying that most people are uninformed, and that the ratio of votes would almost certainly be different if people were generally informed.
This goes for most topics! There's nothing specific to any opinion.
It could be that there's actually more anti-DST misinformation than pro-DST misinformation, and being informed could make people like DST more. I have no idea, I just want people to not be voting based on misinformation.
"Without Standard Time, it would have been dark out until 7:40am today here in SF. That's really tough on people (or children) who have to be at work/school by 9 or even 8"
>To use your own rhetoric: People, including kids, survive wars and famines; I'm sure we can handle changing the clocks twice a year.
I agree. However, I didn't suggest that DST imposed any hardships.
If that leaves people working later in the day than they'd like, then we also need different working hours in the winter.
For anyone who's in to any (most?) outdoor activities, the extra evening daylight is likely appreciated. Where I live we can be rock climbing till 8pm on a week night all through December and January.
I would like to decouple waking up earlier and leaving work earlier from changing numbering of hours such that midnight and midday happen at 1:00 instead of 0:00/12:00. But considering that some countries already adopted permanent DST for reasons you described I'm not holding my breath.
Now it remains to be seen if they will keep living like they do now or slowly drift back (in terms of solar time, not official time) to where they started from.
This remains a widespread solution to determining whether or not your counterpart in Sydney is asleep.
You must always do the translation, with or without a universal time zone. The difference is that with universal time, it discards the entire set of translations around scheduling conversion that already happen, and it fixes the horrible mess of anyone living near a time zone boundary being in perpetual scheduling hell.
Pro tip for solution designers. Don't tell someone what they "must" do. It's the fast track to being ignored. Especially when a) you're badgering them to conform to some hairbrained sticky note engineering and b) they already have something that works.
Something along the lines of this: http://www.solarsystemscope.com/daylightmap/
Could give the viewer both the information they are roughly seeking and something significantly prettier than a bunch of clocks on a wall.
But the benefit is that the overall system is far simpler - Time no longer has alternate interpretations.
And for semi-local contexts, you already know that the next state over, or the other side of the country is one or two hours ahead/behind - the same as today.
And mostly the mental model people use for long distances works similarly to universal time anyway - I know my time, and after a few interactions, I know an 'offset' to their timezone.
Though, I guess the real bummer would be being in a 'part of day' zone where the date changes in the middle of the workday... ha
If we all used the same time though, instead of looking up what their time is now, you'd change to looking up what their time is when they'll be sleeping. Doesn't seem a huge difference but not saying either is better for that.