Time Zones are Stupid

Yesterday I dumped my semi-annual load of hate on Daylight Time.  The fact that it's semi-annual may be part of the problem - when we get past each change and finish bitching about it, the retail and golf and candy* lobbyists are still working away.

Well, time zones may be just as stupid.

Pre-industrial people measured time as suited their diurnal cycles.  Waking-up time, milking-cows time, eating time, sleeping time.  This article in The Atlantic details how industrialization, transportation and especially communication showed that true "local" time was not practical.

Image: travel.com.hk

But as a boss of mine said once, you cannot cross an abyss in two leaps.  And yet we tried.  Instead of hyper-local time, we now have regions of time, so that our somewhat arbitrary conventions can be maintained.  Wake up at 7AM.  Get off work at 5PM.  Dinner at 8!.

In the age of the internet, these conventions are showing as many rivets and leaks as the ancient way.  Fortunately there are alternatives, but it will be a battle.  The WaPo recently interviewed some guys crusading for UTC everywhere.  It's not going to happen soon, but hey, the WaPo interviewed them, which would never have happened in 1976.

It would be REALLY funny if, the day we adopt UTC, the rulers on our desks still mark inches and we still buy meat in pounds and milk in gallons.

via skepchick 

* - Candy?  What's this about candy?  Well, you will notice that the last change they made to expand DST moved the fall end of it into November.  And now you're realizing why: an hour later until dark means more Trick or Treat action.

This article was updated on May 9, 2023

David F