The war on time zones needs to begin

The war on time zones needs to begin

[Ed. – Slow news day?]

Time zones are a relatively recent invention. They date back to the 19th Century and were designed to reconcile the needs of the then-new railroad industry with the ingrained habits of a population new to clocks.

They were a good idea at the time, but in the modern world they cause more trouble than they are worth. Now that several generations of humanity are accustomed to abstracting time away from the happenstance of where the sun is located, it’s time to do away with this barbarous relic of the past. Everyone on the planet should operate according to a single time — Greenwich Mean Time would be suggested by tradition — and then local schedules could differ from place to place according to personal taste and local practicality.

Before the 19th Century, time was generally reckoned with reference to the local position of the sun. Noon was when the sun was at its peak. Midnight was when the peak was furthest away. Sundials and other instruments could directly measure solar position, but with time not generally kept very precisely there simply wasn’t a lot of precise scheduling happening. Then came reliable and relatively affordable mechanical clocks, at which point western towns generally began keeping a localmean solar time. Now noon would be exactly 24 hours after the previous noon every day of the year regardless of astronomical perturbations.

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