So as you may know, last week I changed time forever with my new universal system of time. Since then, apart from the customary Nobel prizes, Field Medals and various Gongs and Bulls that have been flowing in, there has been one consistent message which is, “what on earth are you talking about, and what is the point of it?”.The point is that there are two problems to solve with time zones. The genuine “I’m on the other side of the world” type time zone problems where you need a big adjustment and the “small regional differences” which are different because everyone wants to go to work at around nine in the morning and leave around five in the afternoon. This system tries to fix both problems, but to understand it let’s take them one at a time.
1) People who are near each other
People who are near each other shouldn’t be on different time zones at all. There is no point in Europe and Britain having different time zones. They only do because Britain and France both want to go to work at 9am (ish) and they want it to be light from an hour before in the morning most of the time for commuting. The traditional way to solve this is to let each zone have it’s own time and make 9am be at lots of different times around the world. But there is another way. They could just start work in France at 8am instead and leave at 4pm. But there would be uproar apparently. They would be going to work at the same actual time of the day as they were before, but just be calling that time 8am now. But people can’t cope with change like that.
So what we do is trick them. We change to splitting the day into quarters not halves and at the same time tell people “work will start at the new time of x”. That way nobody will notice that we’ve just converted the world into only having 4 time zones.
First of all this means I can work out if I can call anyone in the same quarter of the world as me by simply saying “can I call you at 2 in the morning”. It means the same thing to them wherever they are.
2) People a long way away
Suddenly working out times for people in Australia is easy too. If I want to work out what time to call them, I know their morning and afternoon are my evening and night. Night isn’t a good time for calls for me, but evenings are ok. So now I know that my evening is their morning I can call them at a convenient time. I can even say, “can I call you at 2 in the morning your time?” and know that that will be 2 in the evening my time. The numbers always line up.
In between is easy too. America is all on one time zone now. Morning for America is Afternoon for Europe. That’s all you need to remember.
3) This is all very interesting but can I see it as a picture?
I think we’ll need to drill into some specific time examples next week, but for now I’ll let you digest time itself.