We are currently in the middle of two wars, a major recession, a mounting fiscal crisis and monstrosities such as Obamacare, the War on Drugs and the Patriot Act continue unabated. Everyday, people are murdered, raped and assaulted. There’s a lot of really bad stuff going on in the world.
All of those things are tough to fix, unfortunately, so I’m going to turn to something trivial that just came to mind and for whatever reason I want to write about it: time zones are stupid and we should do away with them.
The history of time zones sounds like some quaint artifact of the British Empire; basically Greenwich Mean Time was developed in Britain in 1675 to help mariners and then later in 1879, some Knighted Canadian dude named Sanford Fleming proposed a worldwide system of time zones and by 1929 every major country had adopted them. It’s quite boring, so if you’re interested in more detail, see here.
Anyways, time zones may have served some purpose when people rarely traveled around or communicated with people far away, but now, we do so all the time. Currently I live two time zones away from my colleague who runs this site and the majority of my business associates for my work. So are we having a conference call at 2:00 my time or 2:00 their time? Why don’t we patch in that guy from New York, 4:00 pm his time and then the guy in our Japan office at God knows what time his time is and on and on and on.
Then there’s traveling, a two hour flight sets me ahead four hours. My cell phone automatically updates, my alarm clock didn’t, my new computer did, my old computer didn’t. Oh and then add Daylights Savings in for more needless confusion. Yes it saves some daylight, but adds oversleeping and miscommunications and what not. I think we can think of another way to save daylight and adjust our schedules without artificially changing the time.
Is this all trivial? Of course it is. But hey, this guy overslept, this guy almost missed his last final in college, this guy had to deal with a computer full of hundreds of appointments scheduled two hours off and Microsoft users all over the state of Indiana had their appointments showing an hour off.
Yes, it’s nice to have the same hours everywhere you go, wake up between 6:00 to 8:00 am, go to sleep between 10:00 and 12:00 pm, etc. But even those settings are questionable. Why isn’t the time it’s dark set for am or pm and the time it’s light set for the other? Why don’t we wake up around the beginning of the day and change 6:00 or so to 12:00? Why on Earth do we have am and pm anyways? It goes to 12 and then starts over, goes to 12 again and that’s all in one day? We should switch to military time, then abolish time zones.
The only real problem is that New Year’s celebrations could be at what is now 4:00 am or something like that. But hey, at least you wouldn’t be seeing a tape delayed recording of Dick Clark showing off his awesome counting skills:
So no, time zones don’t mean much and it’s sort of embarrassing that I even spent the time to write this (and you spent the time to read it). But hey, we can make the world an infinitesimally little bit better place to live by simply abolishing them. So why not?