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why do we have different time zones around the world

As I sit down to write this post, it is 4:03 p. m. on Thursday, March 15. I m about ready for my afternoon snack. The sun is already low in the sky. Soon, the workday will be over. I m in Brooklyn, New York. Elsewhere, of course, it s earlier or later, and people are doing other things. Australians might be eating breakfast or taking their morning shower. Californians are probably having lunch. Two Johns Hopkins professors think they have come up with a more rational way to run the planet. Astrophysicist
and economist argue that we should all adopt, also known as Universal Time. That would make it the same time everywhere, regardless of the sun s position in the sky. So rather than writing at 4:03 p. m. , I d be writing at 20:03. Then I d have dinner at 23:30, watch a little TV, and hit the sack around, oh, 3:00. When I awoke, it would be 11:00 not just in Brooklyn, but everywhere. Everyone would know exactly what time it is everywhere, at every moment, , which they say would facilitate conference calls and business transactions. Some countries have already moved toward fewer time zones. Since 1949, China has had only a single time zone even though geographically the country spans five.

In 2010, Russia two of its time zones, dropping the number from 11 to nine. And Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has suggested he may prune more zones in the future. But jumping from 24 time zones to one would be a much larger leap. On some islands in the Pacific, the date would change with the sun high in the sky. People would wake up on Tuesday and go to bed on Wednesday. Henry and Hanke also want to do away with the standard Gregorian calendar, which many countries have been using since the late 1500s. Under the new, March 15 or any other day, for that matter falls on the same day of the week, year in and year out. My birthday will always be on Wednesday. Think about how much time and effort are expended each year in redesigning the calendar of every single organization in the world and it becomes obvious that our calendar would make life much simpler and would have noteworthy benefits, Henry said in a. The pair also argue that a more logical calendar would be a boon to business. In the new calendar, every quarter has exactly the same number of days, making financial calculations simpler.

Every calendar has one major challenge that it must overcome: Each Earth year is a little more than 365 days it lasts 365. 2422 days, to be exact. The Gregorian calendar makes up for additional hours by adding a leap day at the end of February roughly every four years. The Henry-Hanke calendar adds an extra week at the end of December every five or six years. This extra week would constitute its own mini-month. Henry and Hanke emphasize the many benefits of adopting their calendar and Universal Time, but I wonder if they ve thought about some of the drawbacks. For example, Dolly Parton s hit song 9 to 5 would no longer be relevant. The new office workday, at least in Brooklyn, would start at 14 and end at 22. Doesn t have quite the same ring, does it? Increasing globalisation in the Victorian era meant a need to standardise time zones, as businesses began to operate across wider areas and world travel became easier with the advent of the railway. The in 1884, attended by representatives from various countries, led to the creation of the 24 time zones we use today. The zones are based on 24 longitudinal meridian lines that run from the north to south poles.

The prime meridian, determined by the 1884 conference, runs through Greenwich, in the UK, giving us. Other time zones are counted to the east and west of this line, either plus or minus hours from GMT. Each country sets its own time zone within this framework, so some zones extend beyond the meridian for convenience, while others, like India, take on half hours. even extended its time zone 600 miles east in 1995, to include Caroline Island in the same zone (and, as it straddled the opposite the GMT meridian, the same date) as the country's other islands. The development of the world wide web in the 1990s led to calls for a standardised internet time, as people in cyberspace were no longer bound by geography. Swatch even invented a concept called that split each day into 1,000 beats on a decimal system, eradicating time zones entirely. For those of you who don't operate on Internet Time, this spreadsheet shows the time zone in 195 countries, extracted from our series. в в Can you do something with this data? Flickr Please post your visualisations and mash-ups on our or mail us at в в в

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