Regular readers of this blog know that I hate Daylight Saving Time. I also hate time zones, although to a lesser extent.

Take a look at Indiana. What time it is in Indiana depends on:

  • The date. The rules changed in 1942, 1945, 1949, 1957, 1961, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1975, …. They changed again as recently as March 11, 2007.
  • The county. The rules are different in each county.
  • The season. Some counties at some times have observed Daylight Saving Time.

(Thanks to Google Current for bringing this to my attention. Just watch the beginning.) What time it is in Indiana depends on Federal law, State law, and the choice of County. But the rules are so confusing that sometimes people just do their own thing.

Even worse, Indiana just can't win:

  • They want the state to be on the same time zone.
  • They want the northwest part of the state to match Chicago, which is Central Time.
  • They want the southeast part of the state to match Cincinnati, which is Eastern Time.

The only solution is for Chicago and Cincinnati to be on the same time zone.

Long ago every town had its own time. Time zones were introduced as rail travel became more common, and people interacted with others outside of their own town more often. As more of the country becomes connected through trade, transportation, the media, and the Internet, the burden of different people being on different times increases. Just as we switched from every town having its own time to every zone having its own time, I think we need to switch to the entire country having its own time (just like China and India and most of Western Europe). Eventually, as air and high-speed rail travel becomes commonplace and we begin to live in space colonies, we will have to abolish time zones altogether and use UTC.

Update: [2014-09-26] Watch this video if you want to get a sense of just how bad it is.

Labels:

8 comments:

lahosken wrote at Tuesday, April 3, 2007 at 12:42:00 PM PDT

Maybe we could compromise and use UTC all year?

BuschnicK wrote at Wednesday, April 4, 2007 at 3:44:00 AM PDT

And while you are at it make the new system metric as well.

Alex wrote at Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at 4:33:00 PM PDT

I agree 100%!

Alok wrote at Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at 6:29:00 AM PDT

And while you're at it why dont you also decree that:
everyone code in Python
everyone speak in English
everyone wear jeans to work
everyone be given Larry Page's salary (or in my case share options ;-))
everyone sleep, work and eat at the same time regardless of the position of the Sun.

And the rest of us can use their head and have a local time and a universal time.

Wayne wrote at Friday, May 16, 2008 at 1:07:00 PM PDT

I actually set my clock for UTC for a while. I gave it up because I realized it was confusing having a clock that didn't correspond (at least approximately) too the sun. Now I set my clocks to standard time -- not daylight savings, but not UTC either. By the way I have a friend in London so UTC was useful for knowing what time it was there. (But nothing else). Anyway, in this age of computers, it is trivial to program computers to translate between UTC and any time zone, so it makes sense for computers to use UTC for everything internally, and translate into the local time zone whenever displaying dates/times for a user.

Anonymous wrote at Friday, June 5, 2009 at 6:01:00 PM PDT

I'm glad to see someone else seems to agree with me that:

Step 1 - eliminate this insane daylight saving time (each year 1:30am happens twice on the same day; each year 1:30am doesn't exist).

Step 2 - eliminate these crazy time zones.

I would like to appeal to all the Trekkies out there that a common date/time for the world (and space travelers) is a good idea.

I would argue that when we lived in caves, the shadow of the sun was good enough. When it took time to travel 1/24th of the way around the world, time zones were good enough. We now have instant world-wide communications, so why aren't we all on the same time?

It's nonsense to say you won't know if it's day or night in Paris right now because you probably don't know anyways. Your next step is to figure out how many hours difference there are, then add (or was that subtract because people always get this wrong), and then decide whether you can make a phone call, or expect an online response.

What if you just knew that Paris businesses are open (from their website) 0700-1600 ? You wouldn't have to add/subtract. California businesses might be open 1600-0100.

Before calling a business somewhere else in the world, you'd probably have to check their website to find their hours anyway.

Anonymous wrote at Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 8:11:00 PM PDT

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_time

Anonymous wrote at Monday, November 22, 2010 at 5:43:00 AM PST

I agree, it's time to get rid of timezones.