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Time to Dump Time Zones (nytimes.com)
629 points by prostoalex on Nov 6, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 536 comments



Hmm...this is an interesting idea. However, the core of the argument seems to be this:

> “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.


This hits the nail on the head. Abandoning time zones would only make sense if there were no more need for time translation. But you'd still need to translate for the sake of biological clocks, and without time zones it would become more challenging to communicate that translation.

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.


Yeah agree completely. And keeping zones is important to understand workdays. I wouldn't mind dropping named time zones completely in favor of UTC+Offset, I always end up looking that up, annoyingly.

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?


Your math doesn't work out there though. If we had 30 day months, we would end up with 360 days spread among 12 months, and an extra 5 days leftover.

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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Fixed_Calendar


That first example (12 30 day months with 5 or 6 days outside months) was actually used in practice in post-revolutionary France (and again during the Paris Commune). I'm not sure keeping 7-day weeks is really a plus -- the French Revolutionary calendar used 10-day "decades" which align with the metric system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Republican_Calendar


I will just point out for the benefit of those who run Emacs and haven't yet discovered it, that in calendar mode, "p f" will tell you, for example, that November 7, 2016 is 17 Brumaire, year 225 of the revolution.


Metric? Yeah... us Americans would never go for that garbage... :)


But you do.. Sort of. One of the original signatories of the treaty of the metre, and all of your silly units for length and mass at least are defined in terms of SI units as of 1959 [1] [2].

So when you give someone an inch, you're specifically giving 25.4mm ;)

[1] https://www.nist.gov/pml/weights-and-measures/si-units-lengt...

[2] https://www.nist.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pml/wmd/m...


I think you mean "we Americans..."

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.


> 10 is only divisible by 2 and 5 where 12 is much more flexible in giving us 2, 3, 4, and 6.

Now that is some good ole American ingenuity :)


Americans do come up with the best dumb arguments why their busted idiotic system is better.

My "favorite" is "Well farenheit just makes more sense for humans".


Ah. I screwed up my math. 28 sounds perfect.

I rely on unit tests for this stuff these days ;)


Why having (7-days) "weeks" at all? Divide 28 into 7 groups of 4 days each and use these. Three days of work followed by one off, how does it sound?


Like something that is not going to happen. Religious days are the reason we have weekends where they are. They are not going to change because "why not have 4 day weeks".


Religious groups may stay with their own calendar if they wish, it wouldn't be the first nor the last thing kept conservative out of religious reasons. The secular society, however, may look for whatever works best.


Actually, in ETHIOPIA, it already is 13 MONTHS always!

https://encrypted.google.com/#newwindow=1&q=ethiopia+13+mont...

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!


28 is perfect because it's divisible by 7. So every day lands on the same day of every month and every year. Every 1rst is a Sunday.

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.


Every 1rst is a Sunday.

Except the week starts with Monday. At least in the civilized world…


ISO, and many places, yes, but not everywhere. Is it necessary to add "At least in the civilized world"? Seems unnecessarily inflammatory. And the gp is proposing a new system anyway.


The point was that the proposal is based on assumptions that don't hold true in ever culture, but would be forced onto those cultures if it were implemented. This is of course true for most, if not all, proposals for changing the way we handle time.

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


Wikipedia says the first day of the week in New Zealand is Monday, but our calendars usually start on Sunday and personally at least, I've always thought of Sunday as the first day of the week. So I'm not sure I'd trust that page too well.


It's really not important at all... The point is this calendar would line up the week cycle with the month cycle, which has a ton of advantages. You can't throw that away just because you can't agree what day of the week should come first.

Hell, while we are at it we can just rename the days firstday, secondday, etc, and not have to deal with that issue.


You want to switch time to base 10 and everything else to base 12 even though you consider it to be arbitrary?

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.


This sounds interesting, but I'm skeptical. 12, 60, and 360 have nice mathematical properties independent of human morphology. Do you have references to cite this?


The articles I've read all seem to cite print books. The Wiki articles on finger counting, and duodecimal list some:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duodecimal


Thanks for the reference! Not convinced that this is the sole reason, but it is interesting nonetheless.


I want to switch time to whatever base people use. If we switch to superior base 12, we should also switch to superior base 12 clocks.


Your radical time standard reform undoes your first change - it's already based on the number 12, remember? 24 is two 12-hour periods - A.M. and P.M. and 60 minutes/seconds is 12 five-minute/second periods (the numbers on a clock).


It's based on 24, which is divisible by 12. But that's not quite the same as having a clock that is based on the base you use. A base 12 clock would work just like a decimal clock, just with 2 extra symbols. It would not look like the base 24 clock with base 60 minutes and base 60 seconds.


Having 7-days week concept is not necessary. That 28 days being divisible by 7 can be used to create a smaller group of days that we currently use for week. I presume that in such a 4-days group the ratio of 3 days for work and 1 for leisure should both increase the efficiency and to thin out the work stress.


Having Sunday as the first day would mess up our week, because we call Tuesday, Thursday and Friday second, fourth and fifth respectively. If you really want 1st each month to be first day of week, either America will have to adopt Monday as first, or vary the day of week by region.


Wednesday is called "Mittwoch" in German, which is a shortened form of "middle of the week". Only works if Sunday is the first day of the week, though the common convention is also having the week start on Monday. Confused me quite a bit as a child :)


Middle of the working days part of the week, no need to go all American and make half of the weekend the beginning!


The same in Portuguese: Monday = Segunda (Second); Tuesday = Terça (Third) and successively till Friday = Sexta (Sixth).


When I was a kid, I toyed with the idea of metric time. I realized it wouldn't work when I thought about TV shows - a 30 minute show would need to be condensed into 2 14.4 minute centi-days. That would require losing 1.2 minutes of commercials, never gonna happen.


A half hour in decimal time (half a deciday), would be 72 minutes normal time. A quarter decimal hour/deciday would be 36 normal minutes, which is pretty close and gives even more time for ads.

You could also split time further into thirds, which would work even better with a base 12 system.


I assumed you'd be breaking the units into tenths all the way down, not quarters as you advocate here. Would certainly solve the problem though, maybe even too well.


The units are based on 10, but nothing stops people from dividing it further. Just as someone might use a unit of "half a kilometer" or "half a liter", which are other base 10 units.


After giving this some more thought, I realize you're right. We already deal with programs starting on xx:30, now we'd just get used to things starting at x.25, x.50, and x.75. Instead of running from 8:00 to 8:30 PM, a show might run from 8.00 to 8.25.

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.


A 7 day work week seems to be optimal for most. Specifically, the 5 days on / 2 off. Apparently, medical staff working 10 / 4 have issues, and attempts at running e.g. 7/3 also don't go over very well.


That's only if a 40 hour week is the optimum. Since no one is really working 8 hours, 5 days a week, that's doubtful.


The 40-hour workweek is a direct function of (1) that it's advantageous to have the fewest employees possible, because each additional employee has overhead costs; (2) you can't make employees work more than 8 hours/day (a number that was arrived at through significant strife and is unlikely to change substantially); (3) everyone gets two days off in a 7-day period.

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.


> let's do away with base 10 entirely and go to 12

Why not hexadecimal, to help accelerate the singularity?


12 is the most optimal and usable base for humans - James Grime explains it at Numberphile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6xJfP7-HCc


http://www.mithrandir.com/Tranquility/tranquility.html

I think you're proposing this, 13 months named for scientists, one day outside the year.


Yes. Perfect. I've never seen that before. Thanks for sharing. It will never sell in the US though, the mere inclusion of Darwin will make it a political nightmare as people would be convinced we're atheists trying to kill their god.


> people would be convinced we're atheists trying to kill their god

When the reality is much less exciting... replacing the old gods with a deified version of Science.


Or, we use Latin names of numbers. So, Unusber, Duober, Tresber, Quattorber, Quinber, Sexber [rename as necessary for America], September, October, November, December, Undecimber, Duodecimber, Tredecimber.


These would be better names from a purely phonological point of view: Unusper, Tresper, Quattober, Sexper. That way you don't have awkward clusters of both voiced and unvoiced consonants. The -ber affix having originally come from mensris (-mens-ris > *-membris > -ber), devoicing the initial 'b' to 'p' in those circumstances is reasonable enough. 'Quattober' is a simplification that makes it fit the pattern better.

Alternatively, you would rely on the ordinals, dropping the -us ending and replacing it with -ilis as in Sextilis and Quintilis.


  Unusber
It might not be correct, but I would prefer "Unober"


four decembers would endorse extremely premature christmas decoration


Introduce it as a means to purge the name of non-Christian gods from their current months and days, and suggest any opponents can't be monotheists after all given that they give other deities such a prominent position in their lives.


I'd vote against it.

Mostly cause it's lame though.


Aldrin gets a day but Gargarin doesn't?


The 0th month should be dedicated to Aryabhata: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryabhata#Place_value_system_a...


I was thinking Al-Khwarizmi.


For male scientists. Feels weird


You can start using the 'calendrier pataphysique' :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/'Pataphysics#Pataphysical_cale...


I believe this "new calendar" idea has already been tried several times. Religion and agriculture always seem to be the sticking points.

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 hardly necessary, anyway. Wouldn't quarters be better?"

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.


Smarch.

From the Simpsons


> What should we call the 13th month?

Undecimber: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undecimber


While we're at it, how about defining the offsets the other way around, so we can write 15:30+5 == 15:30 EST == 20:30 UTC?


You can do 19 months with 19 days with a 4 or 5 day holiday time in between. That way the number of months are equal to the number of days.


The only problem is that nobody would agree on the holidays.


The only problem I thought of was the month/moon period disconnection.


> 30 day months, with 1 New Year's Day

And the other 4 days?


Workdays are not worth keeping either. With the gig economy, you can't know if someone works at night or during the day, or morning or Sundays or whatever.


12*30+1 = 361.

One solar year: 365.24219 x (86400s days).


I vote a 256 day year, of 8 , 16 day months. Each month is 4, 4 day weeks, with odd weeks being mandatory global time off. New years is a one bMonth long global celebration, also time off.

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.


That's a hell of a lot of Earth angular momentum you need to destroy!


> This hits the nail on the head. Abandoning time zones would only make sense if there were no more need for time translation. But you'd still need to translate for the sake of biological clocks, and without time zones it would become more challenging to communicate that translation.

I argue it'd avoid mistakes, such as the assumption it's dark at the other clock's 18h because it is here.


I get the impression Americans don't use 24-hour clock much. In Europe it's pretty much standard if you want to communicate time reliably. Or am I mistaken about the American love of am/pm?


Your impression is pretty much spot on. We have "military-time" and "24-hour time" available to us in all of our application configurations, but no-one seems to use it. I do because it helps me do time-zone translating transforms to/from UTC in my head more easily, but also because I keep failing to see that little "PM dot" or set the "PM Flag" whenever dealing with times in various applications or alarms. Verbally, speaking with USians, 15.00 is always pronounced "3pm".


"Verbally, speaking with USians, 15.00 is always pronounced "3pm"."

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).


> It's like that everywhere in Europe. Nobody says 'see you at fifteen'.

Not really? In France it's perfectly normal to say "Rendez-vous à quinze heures" or "Le film commence à vingt-deux heures trente"


OK, it might be a social construct. I'd never say 'treize heures' to set a time with my Parisian colleagues, and neither would they (to the best of my recollection). Sometimes people would say it, yes, but it'd sound strangely artificial, like read literally from a schedule - which in many cases it would be.


In Quebec, 24 hour time has changed from being a nerd thing, to being the standard way of saying time. That's how the media pronounces time, how people write it down, etc. As others have mentioned, cell phones probably have something to do with that too.


This sometimes gets "localized" too, so you see " - Le film commence à vingt-deux heures trente. - The film begins at 10:30 pm. " on a bilingual sign.

Google Translate sometimes seems to know how to do this too.


> I'd never say 'treize heures'

One of the main midday newscast is called "Le journal de treize heures".


And the 8pm one is called le vingt heures. Really used everywhere.


I have the feeling that it is fairly recent. When I was a kid, I think that nobody used it regularly, then it started to be used on the radio and TV, and then, when I came back home after having spent 8 years abroad, I was surprised to hear it used by the average citizen.

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.


Okay okay I get it - you're all gently breaking it to me that I'm now officially old. I, too, used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems weird and scary to me, and it'll happen to you, too.

(sorry about that ;) )


> It's like that everywhere in Europe. Nobody says 'see you at fifteen'.

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".


It's uncommon in personal settings, though, at least in German. If you call your doctor to make an appointment, they might ask you if "fifteen thirty" suits you, but when fixing a time for meeting your friends at a café you'd say "halb vier" (half four, which is 15:30 in Germany, but 16:30 in the UK. Yay confusion!)


Actually, "Halb vier" (half four) can mean both in Germany, depending on which village you are in. It becomes even more confusing if you use something like "Viertel vier", which, depending on your village, can mean 15:15, 15:45 or 16:15.

This is why the less rural people over here use exact time.


Citation needed! I've never heard anyone use the "half past" meaning. The quarter thing is confusing, though. While I have never heard of anyone parsing "viertel vier" as 15:45 or 16:15, many people are confused as it's somewhat uncommon here.

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.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uhrzeit#Sprechweise_im_Deutsch...


Same here in Norway. 3 p.m. is klokke femten.


> It's like that everywhere in Europe. Nobody says 'see you at fifteen'.

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.


Let's meet at 15 o'clock" or "When do you go for lunch?" "thirteen-thirty" is totally daily usage in some places/groups (possibly age-related, since digital clocks here are always 24h and younger generations had more relative exposure to them)


> It's like that everywhere in Europe. Nobody says 'see you at fifteen'.

Europe is not one country. In Sweden it's perfectly normal to say that.


While it is not uncommon to say "at three" instead of "at fifteen" in German, this only ever happens when context sufficiently avoids ambiguity. The language does not even know a generic qualifier for 12-based times (like am/pm), you would have to use the correct time of day name (non/afternoon/evening) for disambiguation. Much easier (and therefore much more common) to say "fifteen" instead. (for the second half, first half can only be specified the complicated way)


Sweden is fully on the 24 hour clock. We switched in the 70s.


We say "see you at 15" in Zambia.

Just thought I'd chime in here too.


No it's not, especially when you are talking about non complete hours(Half past three vs 2045)


The inprovement in question is pretty tenuous, beyond the bias of believing your preferences are superior.


Except for when it's pronounced "fifteen-hundred".


American English is all about factions. The use of 24hour time gives the impression that the speaker has ties to the military, which is a rather high percentage of the US population. I've had several people correct my use of 24-hour time (ie 0945) as being "dramatic" and that 9:45am is more "friendly". I had one person comment after a talk I gave (lots of slides with timestamps) that they thought I was talking down to the many military and former military people in the room. But the slides were originally created for Canadian university students. I'd used them several times north of the boarder. There, nobody noticed the timestamps as anything other than functional.

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.


You are joking, but the French revolutionaries really tried to introduce 10 hour days (with a different value of "hour" obviously) broken into 100 minutes each (again not our minute) along with their new calendar.


They did that to break the control of the church, to do away with sundays. I've run into a couple people who still support the concept. I know one ardent atheist who doesn't like that we name days after Norse gods. Similarly, when I lived in the middle east some chuckled at the concept of an Islamic nation using pagan names on calenders. They don't want a 10-hour day, but both want to break from the old dogma.


> They did that to break the control of the church, to do away with sundays.

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.


You're correct. We call the 24-hour clock "military time" and basically no one uses it casually.


I do. Granted, I was in the military-I passively hate it when people call it 'military time' (passively meaning I mentally roll my eyes when someone says it), but I've been using it since middle school when I first even learned it was a thing. Mostly because it made sense right away.

There are 24 hours in the day.

Why are we recycling numbers in our time system?

No really, why?


Because there are only 12 major divisions on a clock. An analog clock, that is. It reads the same at 3am and 3pm. So from that pov it only makes sense to call it the same.


And the truth is that even when you live in a country where 24 hours notation is commonly used, like I do, you'll still more often say "5 in the afternoon", than 17 hours. The latter form is used in writing when you wish to sound more formal or when you really want to make sure there's no ambiguity. And not in the "army" style like 17 hundred, but you just say 17 or in written form 17h. All in all, it's just a matter of notation, once you're used to it sufficiently it translates to the clock face the same. Whether it's written as 13h or 1pm I visualise it exactly the same.


There are also analog clocks with 24 divisions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24-hour_analog_dial

I guess 12 hour clocks are an easy trick to make them easier to read and manufacture and so on.


Sure, as a novelty. Who here has ever seen one like that in the wild? And yes, I think 24 is much harder to read, and not necessary either - in those situations where you don't know (when looking at a clock) whether it's 3am or 3pm, you have much bigger issues to worry about :)


My point was more in the second para, that 12 hour clocks aren't a platonic ideal, they are likely a result of practical demands. We make 12 hour dials rather than having them thrust upon us.


James Burke said in one of his shows that the 12 hour clock came in because it was ridiculous to have clock tower bells strike 24.


Wouldn't they strike zero, for 00h00 since there's no 24h00 after 23h59.59? Which, admittedly, would be rediculous ;)


I was wondering what the rationale was.


I love the idea of a 24 hour clock with 0000 at the bottom. Then the hour hand roughly follows the sun around all day, and a glance at the clock gives you the phase & time of day regardless of light cues or any other bits.

(Former submariner so a somewhat special case ;)


In the wild, not so much. But I have one in my home office---A nice one, purely mechanical (needs a key to wind it up). It's the second 24-hour clock I've had.


> Why are we recycling numbers in our time system?

Ever tried to read the clock on a sundial at night?


So that kids learn modular arithmetic ?


maybe it has something to do with sundials.


at a guess, its kinda the key size for hours

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)


I'm not immediately understanding, what are the divisions for? Parts/portions of the day?


People use the term "military time" interchangeably with "24-hour clock" if that helps.


People do, but also people might not. I can see offering the same setting but with two different labels, or like in a dropdown.


I find this comment unexpected, being Irish, as I would've associated the attachment to 12 hour intervals much more with here than with the US. But I guess it's a British colonial throwback thing; I'd be curious to hear of au/nz/ca/za/in/etc. habits.


For Canada:

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.


24 hour time isn't unheard of in New Zealand but most people would use 12 hour time.


Unlike most of the imperial system, farenheit, etc, Am/pm seems to actually make some sense with analog clocks/watches. In places where you primarily use 24 hour time I guess you're always just translating from the clock in your head?


I suppose having grown up with 24-hour digital clocks since they first appeared in the 1970s, and most of the clocks around the house and on various devices being 24-hour digital, and using public transport which operates in 24-hour time, there is no "translation" that occurs, most Europeans are simply bilingual in 12/24 hour times.

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.


Nope, cause everyone around means 15, when they say 15.

And everyone "gets" that all numbers after 12 are late-day.

15 only is odd if someone else is expecting to hear 3p


Or you just have a secondary dial. The watch I'm wearing right now has a major 1-12 dial and a secondary 13-24 dial. But my other watch has a 1-12 dial and a secondary 1-24 dial, with a funky secondary hour hand, so perhaps I'm weird:-)


But the current concept of time is also based on the outdated industrial age concept of a 'working day' being 9-5.

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).


For those who live in our Ivory Tower of the software industry that may be true, but the 9-5 concept is not outdated for a vast majority of working humans on the planet. Lets not project our reality onto the rest of the world.


Here's a fun thing though:

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.


Are you sure you got it right?

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.


I think his error is in assuming that the zenith should correspond to the midway point of your workday. Which is entirely not true: Our society is organized around getting to work first thing in the morning, and having some sunlight left after work hours for social activities.


My point is that 9AM in Tokyo and 9AM in Madrid or Virginia are vastly different in terms of "position of the sun", despite being the same longitude.

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.


Thanks for the picture, nice. I see it's from

http://blog.poormansmath.net/the-time-it-takes-to-change-the...

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.


I see even bigger error in his argument based on when "the Sun comes up" since it's dependent on the latitude even in the same time zone. He should ask somebody living close to the North pole.

http://geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/a/longestday...

"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)


When I lived in London the seasonal variation in sunrise was just one of those things you lived with.

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.


I've thought occasionally about a clock standard that has 0800 be sunrise every day, and run the rest of the clock until whatever time necessary to reach the next day's 0800 point... unworkable for blatant reasons but it would do away with the dissonance of waking up in darkness or post-twilight morning depending on seasons.


Yeah, I grew up in Oslo, Norway, and found his idea that the sun rising around 4am in summer was something unusual very strange. To me, sunrise occurring well before I wanted to wake up in summer was the norm.

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)


the 9-5 concept is not outdated for a vast majority of working humans on the planet. Lets not project our reality onto the rest of the world.

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.


> 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)

Also, reproductive work (nursing children, taking care of the sick and elderly, cleaning the house).


You really think so?


So far you have the most levelheaded comment I've seen (out of 4... not a big sample size), but just wanted to agree.

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!


The opposite is also true - don't imagine a 1930's production line factory or bank clerk as the reality of a majority employee population working day.

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.


I think first, second, and third shift are pretty much just as rigid if not more so.


I think this could be a good impetus to get rid of that. Right now the concept of 9-5 is often adopted by pure inertia even when there is no reason to do so. The day we'll have to all translate the current '9-5' to a different number, it will be a serious chance to reevaluate if that's appropriate.

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.


Don't forget that the people working in said public services also need to open holes in their schedules to access the services that other companies provide.

What kind of hour staggering were you thinking about to try and solve the scheduling problem?


In the US, try 9-6, unfortunately.


I am in the US and try to do 9-5, plus or minus an hour on the start time, sometimes leaving at 4pm. And while I am usually among the first to leave the office, I don't feel guilty about leaving by 5 any longer considering the occasional odd hour conference call and late night work that pops up.

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.


It's not outdated. Of course, if the only thing you do is programming and you never intend to leave the house, then it may be outdated. Otherwise, most establishments still have working hours - that may not be exactly 9-5 but pretty close to that framework - and people still have breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and there are a lot of business and social conventions based on those assumptions.

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 propose that it should be outdated though. Does a lawyer have to be in the office at 8am to finish drafting that closing statement for his hearing next week? Does an accountant have to finish his client's tax assessment before 5pm?

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...


You assume that people would be free to chose their schedule, based on their specific constraints.

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.


This depends on what kind of job you have (and on how you are being compensated). If you made a 40 hr/wk for salary deal with your employer and now you're actually available for 40 hours while also doing your actual work outside of that time, you might want to reevaluate your work-life balance.


Lawyers and accountants can - and do - keep flexible hours when not dealing with clients. When dealing with clients, there's still expectations that the lawyer would be able to meet you somewhere within 9-5, and not at 2am. Of course, there are exceptions, but that's a convention. People want to have lives outside job, so there should be an agreement when we have "meeting points" that we're expected to be on the job, and when there's no promise.

> 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.


The working day is based on when humans naturally want to be active. Remote work, while increasing, is a fraction of work that's actually done. Humans are wired (in the majority) for the day, and our time conventions match that.


Yes, it's tough being an outlier. I am a night owl, not a morning lark -- this is my biologically-determined chronotype, not something I do because I'm lazy.

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.


I work 9-5, and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. I like having a fixed time where I'm working, and then 16 hours to do whatever I want. I prefer to wake up, work for the first half of my day, and then have the second half of my waking day in the evening.

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.


That is perfectly fine too. Routine and habits are important. If 9 to 5 works for you, then great - go for it. My argument is that what if it doesn't work for you do to things like child care, commuting, or other important commitments?

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?


You eat on "lunch time" because you got used to eat at the same time. For some it is 11:30 for others 14:00. It's just a habit.


> 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

No, that's completely untrue for the vast majority of workers.


Because convention dictates that they have to be in the office between 9-5, or because those are the only times that they can actually do the work they are paid to do?

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.


> 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.

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.


If you check my shift suggestions though - the 'evening team' start at 11am in my example.

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.


Well, not only that, but also keeping the thing open all day and night would cost extra and the most common tasks can be served by the machine anyway. And especially in the case of a bank we have to keep security in mind too.


I'm guessing you don't have kids. I used to work whenever I wanted, but now my kids have childcare from 8-5:30, and that is when I work.


2 kids. They are grown up now, but when younger, they were actually cared for by family or a friend of the family who was a professional carer. We were fortunate enough to be able to dictate their care times to suit our schedule.

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.


11am-7pm? Kids are often up at dawn and forcing other times is bizarre. So by 1900 the kids would be going mental.

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.


Don't kids go to school where you live?


Well, I was thinking babies and toddler aged kids when talking about this. School aged kids are a different kettle of fish, but then again - school here finishes at 2:30. We have a generation of 'latch key kids' because of the gap between the time when kids come home and their parents do.

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?


Where on earth do you live that school is 9-5?


I work from 9:30 or so to 6. The reason is that it overlaps with co-workers' working time.

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.


> eschewing AM/PM in favor of a 24-hour clock

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.


Yes, this proposal does make things a lot easier because:

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


> But instead with the status quo, we need to add this extra line of logic:

> 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.


Time is not a count. Time is a linear displacement, just like distance. As such, it only makes sense to start with 0. Did you ever see a ruler that starts with "1" at the very end? Of course not. It starts with "0", but they just don't bother to print the "0".

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'd rather make DST permanent. The decision between DST or not-DST is arbitrary -- one puts you ahead of true solar noon and one puts you behind. I'd rather be ahead, since that keeps the sun up later.


The author likely neglected to mention Swatch .beats for a reason: only a tiny handful of people used them.


Except the economy is becoming more globalized and many people's jobs have them working at odd times anyway. I used to work 4pm-1am EST and so my schedule aligned more closely with people in hawaii and australia so I ended up befriending people in those locations on the internet since they were awake when I was.

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.


DST is mentioned in the first two paragraphs.

> We need to deep-six not just daylight saving time, but [time zones]


> But you'd still need to translate for the sake of biological clocks

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?


The point was that people have a rhythm dictated more by the sun's relative position than the time on the clock.


Agreed. DST is just plain silliness for no gain. In a century everyone will have a hearty laugh at the superstitious timekeeping ritual of their ancestors.

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.


Perhaps Hackers News is the wrong audience to suffer this problem, but coordinating meetings between companies (i.e., sales calls) is a mess. When a call winds down and you've got two people on the phone coordinating their calendars, there's this hilarious, awkward dance that happens.

"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.)



I once scheduled an interview with someone on the West coast (I'm on the east coast). I emailed him in the morning "How about 4 o'clock?" That afternoon around 2 I checked my email again and got his response "great, you can call me at 1." I freaked out for a second thinking I had missed the appointment, only to realize he meant 1 pm his time == 4 pm my time.


Aviators/Military solve that by using Zulu time I believe (ie UTC).


UTC, yes, but that doesn't resolve the problem of establishing office hours. At least when you do explain those you don't need to constantly convert.

"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.


I've resolved that by pointing to my Calendly page and have people pick the time themselves. Of course that doesn't work well if there are multiple parties, but even then it helps to point them at it to find out when I'm available (giving shared access to the actual underlying calendary would work too, of course, but my Calendly page shows specifically when I have decided I'm free for meetings)


http://www.worldtimebuddy.com shows a very visual representation that could be helpful to you.


Let's look at the single data point we have where this sort of system is in place - China.

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.

http://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/11/china-only-...


> Everything is offset a couple of hours

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 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.


Sounds like it's a problem in Urumqi precisely because there are people who use a different timezone (and because the question of which to use is politicized). If everyone used Beijing time, wouldn't all the problems in that article go away?

(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)


Yeah, but do the people of rural China really have a lot of internet interactions with the people on the coast?

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.


Urumqi is not rural, it's the capital city of Xinjiang.

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?


Yeah, it probably doesn't make sense today, but as the Urumqians, like the rest of us have more and more of their interactions with people in other places, it will make more sense each year.

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.


Who knows, maybe Internet time will become a thing after all:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swatch_Internet_Time


China isn't really an example of what the article is talking about. In China, everything runs on Beijing time. Everyone in Western China is expected to shift their day to meet up with Beijing time. If they followed the FA the people in Urumqi would not shift their day, instead would use the appropriate local hours. I.e., right now they operate say 9-17, if they followed the article they would operate say 13-21.


> Overall, is there really an efficiency gain to be had here?

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.


Metric is universal but for a few stubborn hold-outs.



Stubborn is a bit harsh.

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've heard all the arguments before and they're all bullshit. Every country that metricized in the 1980s had to deal with this. Every country that did is better for it.

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.


And yet nearly every other major developed country has managed to make the switch...

The issue of cost is not unique to America.


The issue of some weirdos making it about freedom is probably pretty unique to america.


That's new to me. I work for a company that doesn't work in metric, and the reasons we haven't switched are:

1. The customers use inches.

2. The expensive machines we use are configured in inches.

3. The code we use uses inches.


1. Tradition.

2. Tradition.

3. Tradition.

The same could be said for a fractional stock market back before decimalization.


Garamond I get, even though I think Quikscript would be even better. But what's to like about Inuinnaqtun that would make it suitable for an auxiliary or default languague? Wouldn't Lojban, Elefen, Toki Pona or Ithkuil be better candidates?


> Wouldn't Lojban, Elefen, Toki Pona or Ithkuil be better candidates?

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:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuinnaqtun#/media/File:Nutqar...

I've not seen a stop sign in Lojban, Elefen, Toki Pona, or Ithkuil. How could that be safe?


The real inefficiencies stem from daylight savings, and the fact that (in some places) time zones change for political reasons.


What would happen if we did this, is that all the different timezones will now have an unofficial "sunrise" time, that is the time where you get into work/school.

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.


> But this editorial is pretty light on actually supporting that.

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?


Yes, it's arbitrary, but we're on a continuum somewhere between every couple feet the time changes a few minutes and no adjustment at all and it feels to me like we're close to a happy medium.


It's not quite that simple. Timezones change (less often than postal codes, but across the world, it's still a bunch of maintenance changes). Getting rid of timezones would be simpler and reduce a monumental number of bugs (as well as code and potential problems). See the Russian changes!

https://www.timeanddate.com/news/time/


Only a few people have to maintain the time zone system, and only a few people (those writing the software that everybody else uses) have to understand the minutiae. The alternative is that everybody has to understand, which will invariably cause many mistakes.

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?)


Medical software certainly does. I imagine financial software as well.


Sure, but there it's on the programmer. Which is exactly what I mean - it's better to shift the onus to the few than having everybody needing to care about it.


OK, sure, but so what? The fact that it takes effort to maintain doesn't mean it isn't worth doing.


> Overall, is there really an efficiency gain to be had here?

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_system#/media/File:Metr...

I look forward to the inevitable responses about how base 12 is better than base 10...


You already have to ensure virtual meeting participants will be awake. What disappears is the research and lingering doubt about when the meeting really will be in everyone's local time this week.

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.


> 9 o'clock this morning

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.


> 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.

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.


So then how does saying "I got up at 9:00" have any meaning if you live in an area with only a few hours of sunlight if any?

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.


And there are parts of the world where there's no sunrise/sunset at all during certain seasons.


> Changes to "two hours after sunrise". Which is more accurate in a globalized world anyway [...]

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.


> "Two hours after sunrise" is a meaningless statement for about half of the year in the attic circle for instance.

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.


How does that make it easier though? If I have the out of band knowledge that 9-5 is standard business hours, all I need to know if I'm organizing something across time zones is when our UTC offsets are.

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.


If you want to schedule a conference call at 3, you still have to figure out whether or not that's a sensible time today. The existence of time zones doesn't solve that problem for you.


If you schedule a conference call, usually you ask people to confirm and find a time that works for most of the group, right? That's the part that would get easier. All the participants in the scheduling would know their own availability, which is how it works now, but without all the overhead and opportunity for error.

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.


> 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.

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).


The article makes a good case for why you might not have a good idea for what it means for my friend on the other side of the country to wake up an 9. In the United States, for example, there are states that opt out of Daylight Savings Time. A Google search could tell me what they are but I haven't memorized them. And even at that, if my friend was making a point about how long the sun had been up (or down), I would to mentally translate after checking a sunrise/sunset calculator.

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.


Clearly, knowing the "local" time of your friend's wakening is critical.


Yes indeed, I think it's easier when setting a conference call if I know it will be 3pm here, 10am there and 8pm over there than figuring out that "it will be in the middle of the morning for that person, late evening over there".

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.


>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.

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.


> 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.

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".


> "I woke up at 9 this morning",

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.


> Yes you do, you know he woke up possibly a little late, but didn't massively oversleep.

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.


Well, I think time zones just move the problem around.

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.


The NY author convinced me about the Earth time, and you got me back. You are right, a change like this would create other problems, as you cited.


How did he convince you? He didn't make a strong argument for it at all. The whole article seemed like an excuse for him to show off his flowery language and tell a couple anecdotes of people abusing time zones. His actual proposed solution was half-baked at best.


So why not have timezones divided into 24?


What if the system described in the article was the current system? would we switch to time zones?


Getting rid of Daylight Savings makes complete sense, and it's something we should really pursue.

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.


We need permanent daylight savings time. Yesterday sunset was around 6pm in LA. Today it will be at 5pm. At least I had a little bit of daylight after work, now it's just depressing.


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. By mid-December, sunrise wouldn't be until almost 8:30. In Seattle, it would be dark outside until 9am.

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.


And yet even with DST, kids in Alaska manage to get to school despite the sun coming up at 10am. This whole "for the kids@ argument is the worst one.

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.


You didn't actually make many claims to counter the "for the kids" argument. The fact that kids in Alaska do that is unsurprising, but how does it affect them? I think it's pretty uncontroversial to say that Alaska is not one of the most appealing places to live for most people, and all else being equal, I suspect kids and parents would rather the sun come up before school.


At the latitudes of Alaska, the length of the day shrinks very rapidly around the time of the daylight savings switch. A bit more than a week after the switch, sunrise has moved back one hour, thereby eliminating any further effect of daylight savings. Making a single one-hour shift makes absolutely no sense at all.

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.


>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.


I would bet that's highly individual, some people would love the sunlight in the morning to help them wake up, others would like it on their lunch break, and some, like you, would like it in the evening. Tough cookie. :-)


I'm not really talking about when I want sunlight. I'm talking about the ability for sunlight to affect you. In the morning? That's half an hour through a window. At lunch? Slightly longer, still not much. In the evening? You can go outside and really soak in the sun. Evening is the only part of day where people are consistently both awake and able to go somewhere sunny for an extended period.

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.


As others pointed out society adjusts.

In Anchorage for example elementary school starts between 9am and 9:30am to account for the late sunrise.


Sure, but "society adjusts" works both ways: Society also adjusts to turning the clocks back and forth.

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.


A small subset of society (school-children) needing to adjust is much less of a hassle than everyone adjusting though. I'd be curious to see how many subsets of society would prefer changing their clocks, vs keeping them the same.


It's not just schoolchildren. People on HN have a skewed perspective here because we generally don't get in trouble if we're not at work by 9:00 (or earlier). Those who do are more likely to appreciate the extra hour of winter morning sun.


yeah, thats kind of my point. I wonder if there's enough sub-sets of society that it's actually a majority or not?


And my point is that since elected representatives across the country and around the world have reviewed DST a number of times over the years and have usually chosen to keep it, the simplest explanation is that it reflects the will of the majority in those locales.

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.


> Most workers today would prefer going to work in the dark and having daylight after work.

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.

http://www.more.com/lifestyle/exercise-health/finally-humans...


Artificial lighting has long solved that problem.


Do you have a link? Because I don't think the light bulb in my ceiling has solved that problem.


There's a whole bunch of links here:

https://justgetflux.com/research.html


Yes but when you look at time changes holistically, the CDC and sleep experts are recommending that schools start around 9 or 10 am.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/sleep-scientists-sa...

http://www.startschoollater.net/why-change.html

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 drop my kid off at daycare at the morning - 7:45 is the earliest they accept them. I don't have to be at work until 10, really.

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.


This is an incorrect conclusion. The occurrence of both parents working has been around for less than 30 years. Before that, the mom used to stay at home, so she would take care of getting the kids ready for school, etc. And yet, school started around the same time then as well.


> school started around the same time then as well.

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) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/stop-starting-school-days-so-ear...


That's a good point, I didn't consider that.


> I'm more and more convinced that most humans just aren't wired to wake up at the crack of dawn.

But ending Standard Time would make everyone get up one hour earlier all winter long.


No. School start could be shifted to 9 AM or 10 AM. The clock should show 12 at noon. The clock is not the problem. The problem is that people are required to start their day at a too early time. Fix: increment the time requirements.


I find this argument extremely short sighted. Why is starting work early in the day a problem?

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?


> Why is starting work early in the day 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.


People have a natural circadian rhythm. It also matters when you sleep, it's not like you can simply shift your sleep by X hours without consequences.

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.


I don't care which side we keep the clock at, but going back and forth is just plain stupid and causes more issues that it solves.


But being at work/school by 8am is part of the disease. Do you think a 7:40 am sunrise is really too late for a 9am arrival? As long as it's not super dark by the time you're in transit, it seems fine to me (and yes, I realize that sunrise in December would creep up to 8:20).


>That's really tough on people (or children) who have to be at work/school by 9 or even 8

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.


> People (and kids) survive wars and famines I'm sure we can handle a little bit of darkness.

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.


>...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.


Do you mean in California or somewhere else? If California, how do you explain the fact that Sacramento has considered this many times, most recently two months ago, and always decides to keep things the way they are?

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-sac-essenti...

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?


California's representatives haven't represented the will of their constituents in decades... Just look at how many ballot initiatives pass in spite of opposition from Sacramento or vice-versa.

I'm pretty sure if put to a vote we'd stop changing times twice a year.


"I'm pretty sure" is not evidence.


> 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?

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.


But in 2005, the US Congress reviewed and modified daylight saving. That shows inertia can be overcome when the populace wants it. There wouldn't have been any issues of synchronicity. And yet Congress decided to keep DST.

Again, do you believe they misrepresented the will of the people? If so, what evidence is there to support that claim?


Changing the day doesn't affect anyone much except calendar makers. Much less inertia there than with getting rid of DST.

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.


> The question is what people would vote for in a popular election

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?


> your opinion

My?

> 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.


>I never claimed otherwise.

"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.


The roads are busier in the evening than they are in the morning. So being able to come home in daylight is more important than being able to go to work/school in daylight.


But in many places, evening rush hour would be in the dark in the winter with or without daylight saving. So it's not either/or but rather one/none.


We need midday to be roughly the average of when the sun is at its highest across the year. I think that corresponds to permanent standard time.

If that leaves people working later in the day than they'd like, then we also need different working hours in the winter.


Yeah, the parent comment seems like something a person who enjoys spending all their time in front of a screen might say.

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 like to go running before work. That was really annoying this spring because it finally was bright early enough to do that and then DST came and ruined it and made me wait another few weeks.


It's clear that no system of time is ideal for everyone.


We could get rid of DST and allow companies to decide for themselves whether to shift their working hours. Further changes to working hours can then occur naturally as cultural sensibilities shift, without requiring a massive overhaul of timekeeping tools.


Why need how the freaking clock works instead of just agreeing on changing working hours?


> We need permanent daylight savings time. Yesterday sunset was around 6pm in LA. Today it will be at 5pm. At least I had a little bit of daylight after work, now it's just depressing.

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.


You live in LA, one of the more southern-most cities in the US. Just imagine what it's like for Anchorage.


This example fails in my experience. You know not to call international in the middle of the night only after jumping through the mental gymnastics of timezone differences anyway. You'd have to do the same with a single time base.


No, you don't. You just need multiple clocks on the wall.

This remains a widespread solution to determining whether or not your counterpart in Sydney is asleep.


So instead of multiple clocks, you tape sticky notes on your one clock when different cities have high noon.

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.


Or I could just look at my wall.

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.


You could still have your wall of clocks. They would all show the same time but each clock face would be shaded half black and half white to show the average daylight period in that city.


The "look at inopinatus' wall" solution does not scale well.


Or, if everyone used the same time zone, you just write down "Mary's work hours are 1:00-9:00," and then you know whether or not you can interrupt them.


I'd really like to see what a well made custom lit map would look like. What the clocks are approximating here is how long the sun has been shining on a given city.

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.


One of these (or a cheaper version) would work even better than a clock for every city you care about... https://www.geochron.com/


I genuinely don't see a difference between looking up an unknown timezone, and looking up a 'part of day offset'. As it stands I need to look up an overseas timezone and then figure out the offset from my timezone. With a universal time, I would instead lookup a 'part of day' offset to know if it is okay to call/schedule a meeting.

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


> 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.

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.


Not that I disagree with you, but we're less dependent on the daylight than we used to be and it may be even more human to get to know the peers' schedule instead. A lot of us will be more bothered to be waken up from our mid day sleep than interrupted from the night work session.


The time the sun rises and sets drifts around (and drifts differently depending on how far north you go). It's really a separate thing that you should have an almanac (or an approximate expression) for.


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