Is it time for universal time?

Is it time for universal time?

Summary: When it chimes a twelve on the big ben your watch should also show a twelve whether you are in Maldives or Timbaktoo.

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Interesting comment posted to a recent BriefingsDirect podcast with Scott Mace on calendar interoperability issues. This from someone self-identified as L.M. Krishnan:

Let's accept this fact.

The world can no longer be divided into time zones to suit individual requirements of waking up to a cock-a-doodle-doo at 6.00 a.m. in the morning in whichever corner of the universe we are existing.

If we want to work together as a global team we need to have a common time which is more advanced than GMT plus or minus this and that.

Welcome to Universal time.

When it chimes a twelve on the big ben your watch should also show a twelve whether you are in Maldives or timbaktoo.

Similarly after an hour, big ben will chime thirteen times and your watch will show thirteen whether you are on the moon or on the way to Pluto.

Because my dears, time crawls all over the place and is omnipresent, while we want to give it various names to suit our convenience.

Lets now sit down and decide on a new time protocol so that we have absolutely no confusion about TIME.

Welcome to the world of UNIVERSAL MACHINE TIME.  

What do you think, Scott? Has globalization and extra-time zone supply chains mandated the need for a global time standard? It would solve a lot of scheduling complexity (like when I fly from Manchester to San Francisco and miss appointments) issues if all calendars (and computers) were in synch via a common background time standard.

This may also help those pesky date problems with computers, such as Y2K, and time/date adjustments to compensate for the Earth's less than perfect trajectory.

Can anyone else think of reasons why a global time standard and perhaps calendar standard would be productive? Sure seems like it could save a lot of money and time.

Topic: Tech Industry

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17 comments
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  • umm...

    when my clumsy colleague calls me up from boston in the middle of the night (i'm in india) and asks "were you sleeping?", i'd say "its 3 in the morning! what do you expect?!". what could i say if there was a universal time?
    unkonventional
    • You mean

      Caligulary? ;)
      Roger Ramjet
  • Yes, and use a Julian Date system and a 24 hour clock.

    It would indeed make a lot of sense. But making sense is not what humans do....
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • sense?

      1. my working hours could end up becoming 2000 to 0400. i'd be spending half my saturday at work! :-S. and my boss would have to say "i need this report by thursday. before you leave work, not after you come back!". on the bright side, maybe i'll get 2 days off for independence day ;)

      2. when i want to talk to my sister in CA, i look up timeanddate.com first to figure out if its a safe time. what would i do with universal time? look up positionofsun.com?

      3. how do you define 'tomorrow'? something that suddenly hits you after lunch? or do you start defining it for each timezone? beats the purpose of universal time, doesnt it?
      unkonventional
      • Gee, I can tell time with two clocks, can't you?

        so you keep "local" time and "world time". That too much???
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • lol

          thought universal time meant 'universal time' :)
          we already have a GMT, in case you didnt notice :P
          unkonventional
  • Time for local and global time

    I like the idea of "world time", yes. (The word "universal" is a bit too big, I think.) Our present time system has been set up as a compromise between local and national times, and through the globalization, it's losing its practicality. So why not separate the two again?

    Noone will deny that world time will simplify a lot of things. The main doubt is something like: "But what about going to work at 3 in the morning?" Actually, I think people will get used to such use of time very quickly.

    Especially if we'd have local time as well. This will be good to connect to natural events like the sun being at the zenith at noon, not at, say, 13.40h. So I'd suggest to have both a "world time" and a "natural time".

    It's a bit like people talking their dialect with the neighbors, and the national language when phoning long-distance: have the best of both worlds!
    geke
  • Cen-ton

    Even the NEW Battlestar Galactica gave up on the universal centon. Why 12, why 24? Why 60? How about metricizing it?

    10 hours per day.
    100 minutes in an hour.
    100 seconds in a minute.

    Call it a "ton" and a cen-ton would be 100 tons ...
    Roger Ramjet
    • And while we're at it

      how about 13 months of 28 days each (+1 extra day in the last month - +2 for leap years)?
      Roger Ramjet
      • 13 months...

        I don't know about that idea... that Smarch weather can get pretty bad sometimes. ;)
        Third of Five
        • SMARCH?

          You mean Caligulary! ;)
          Roger Ramjet
  • First comply to RFC as in email headers

    Please people refrain from restarting a 1001st time the forever sterile discussions about unsustainable suggestions; before maing new suggestions, first learn the existing:

    1) RFC 3339 ?5.6, RFC 3339 Date and Time Format (Timestamps)

    2) RFC 2822 ?3.3, http://asg.web.cmu.edu/rfc/rfc2822.html#sec-3.3 , Date and Time Specifications

    3) In about any email you receive, see its source code (by Ctrl+F3 if in Outlook Express) and look at the Times recorded in the header.

    You will see that "Time" is an entity in and by itself ("Date" or "Time Zone" or "Local Time Offset" shouldn't be apart); as soon as something can persist (as writtten or recorded material) hence travel, it MUST carry its LMT (Last Modified Time) *complete*, with DOW (Day Of Week), DOM (Day Of Month), Month, Year, Hour, Minute, Second, Local Offset - just as is done in almost every email message on earth.

    When everyone has understood that, admitted it, and applies it, then most of problems will go away.

    I have written the time system in our lab in 1993, ensuring no error in the last 1-million year (but no warranty on future since you don't know what stupid changes some "authorities" will do); when in 1997 discussions were starting about the "catastrophe" Year 2000 would bring, I wrote publicly (I felt rather alone at that time) that no problem at all would come in any application written by a careful programmer; and in the Y2K night (Fri 31 Dec 1999 - Sat 01 Jan 2000) I left all my PCs and UNIX stations running through all the night (I had even brought back home one PC from a son on purpose) to prove what I said. Of course all UNIX stations using my software had no problem; surprisingly Windows PCs had few; and the few UNIX stations running other (and expensive) software started dating all files something like 2029, with no way to fix it, so they got all replaced with PCs in the next month.

    So please people, start learning, thinking, and joining the present, then we can think of improving the future.

    Paris, Fri 20 Jan 2006 18:09:00 +0100
    Michel Merlin
    • Link to RFC 3339 ?5.6

      Sorry I ate that link:
      http://asg.web.cmu.edu/rfc/rfc3339.html#sec-5.6

      Paris, Fri 20 Jan 2006 18:15:05 +0100
      Michel Merlin
  • Come on...

    You can not get the US to change to metric - if only because base 16 and base 12 are a lot better for some things than base 10 is. (What is a third of 10?)

    There is no way we will change to Universal Time, because there are a lot historical meanings to and causes for local time. There would be too many people who would want the day based on when it is "noon" locally. For the vast majority of human beings, interaction is local, not international, or even bi-coastal.

    Of course, what do I know - I am in the Mountain Time zone, and no one - NO ONE - remembers that we are here. There is only Eastern, Central and Pacific. But I can say, TV Guide went with doing everything in Eastern only, and that's why I cancelled my subscription.

    But, if you are going to go that far, why 24 hours, and why are minutes and seconds "60". Go to 360 "hours", and 100 minutes and 100 centons. At least that works with a 360 degree circle. Go all out or forget it;-)
    d0ti5
  • Say huh?

    I must be missing something. All of my computers are currently set to UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) with local settings for display only.

    Similarly, all meeting notices go out with UTC times so as to avoid the otherwise-inevitable mixups over local use of Summer Time, Congressional Time, Local Time, etc.

    Admittedly there are some clueless individuals who can't figure out Zulu times, but IMHO meetings proceed better without them.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • No sleep for you!

    And if you boss in Bangalore calls a meeting for 14:00 .... are you going to have to get up at 0-dark-o'clock to call in? Or will a company decree that everyone has to work the same hours despite little things like day/night cycles?
    Tsu Dho Nimh
  • Universal time

    Why not use the Internet Time model, divide the virtual and real day into 1,000 "beats". One beat is the equivalent of 1 minute 26.4 seconds. That means that noon in the old time system is the equivalent of 500 beats.
    Its time has come, check out the site if you wish.
    http://www.swatch.com/internettime/
    djdelta