Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A Vivid Illustration of the Greatness of our Motherland
November 13, 2009 2:36 AM   Subscribe

Do you know how many time zones there are in the Soviet Union? Eleven. That's Ridiculous. It's not even funny.
posted by jscott (59 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
What fits into Russian?
posted by Meatbomb at 2:49 AM on November 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


You think that's bad? During WW2, Stalin enforced a single timezone on the country. Moscow time, naturally. Bad luck to anybody who would prefer to have their days regulated by normal kinds of events, like sunrise or sunset.

Especially in Siberia.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:52 AM on November 13, 2009


(In Soviet Russia, clock changes you)
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:55 AM on November 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


"Reducing the number of timezones" has been translated incorrectly from the original Russian.

It would be more correct to say "making those people who live in inconvenient places get up earlier."

:-)
posted by Malor at 3:04 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks, jscott, for the uh... well, just thanks for the, the good thoughts.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:06 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Soviet Union was assembled from many pieces, though not all at the same time.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:24 AM on November 13, 2009


In Soviet Russia, the big hand follows the little hand.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:25 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


He pointed out that the US and China - other very large countries - "show that it is possible to cope with a smaller time difference".

Isn't part of the problem the fact they are so close to the pole? If Russia were moved to the equator, they would span fewer time zones. But I don't think Medvedev is planning on knocking the earth off it's axis here. At least I hope not.
posted by delmoi at 3:29 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


If Russia were moved to the equator, they would span fewer time zones.

That's absurd. A simple ninety degree rotation should suffice.
posted by pompomtom at 3:34 AM on November 13, 2009 [12 favorites]


so, in other words, they'll be ok in about three hundred thousand million years?

bit like under communism, really.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:40 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


ours is a strange dilemma don't you know
this life of constant wandering is but a curse
disassembled and rearranged
through a thousand time zones
with just a ticket to ride in that long black hearse
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:05 AM on November 13, 2009


I love that piece by Negativeland! Escape From Noise is a great album.
posted by podwarrior at 4:19 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have consulted the Google, gentlemen, and it seems that what we have here is a meme. Just what kind of meme, we don't know yet, but a meme nonetheless. I suggest we alert headquarters and keep moving. I wouldn't want to be around when this thing wakes up.
posted by bicyclefish at 4:19 AM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


But if Russia moves, how will Palin watch them from her window?
posted by qvantamon at 4:22 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


You think that's bad? During WW2, Stalin enforced a single timezone on the country.

China, a country a teensy bit bigger than the US and slightly smaller than Canada has one official time zone. Beijing time. When it is winter in Xinjiang, the sun doesn't come up until 11:00 in the morning. In the summer it doesn't set until the wee hours.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:29 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Och! Tundra Time! Yeh cannae touch this!
posted by not_on_display at 4:40 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I for one do think it is funny.
posted by molecicco at 4:56 AM on November 13, 2009


I like that there are abutting time zones that are two hours apart. If not for Russia, you could only find that sort of oddness in Africa and western Australia.

Of course, I also like the half hour changes for Newfoundland and Venezuela and the 15 minute change that Nepal appears to enjoy. [See worldtimezone.com]
posted by A-Train at 5:00 AM on November 13, 2009


Ah, Kamchatka. The single most annoying area to defend in Risk.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:03 AM on November 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Pollomacho: "China, a country a teensy bit bigger than the US and slightly smaller than Canada has one official time zone."

Yeah, having 11 time zones is definitely the better way to go. It's not a problem, but it's a symptom of the fact that Russia is God Damn Big. Trying to fix it by reducing the number of timezones would be painful in the short term, annoying to most Russians in the long term, and wouldn't actually solve the underlying problem (the challenge of governing a country that's nearly 10,000km from one end to the other).

Let us not forget that the United States has six time zones (unless you count American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, in which case it's got eight).
posted by Plutor at 5:09 AM on November 13, 2009


When it is winter in Xinjiang, the sun doesn't come up until 11:00 in the morning. In the summer it doesn't set until the wee hours.

That sounds a lot like Finland, really.
posted by daniel_charms at 5:40 AM on November 13, 2009


Remember taking a bus out of Labrang in Gansu around Western new year one time back in the late 90s, which was scheduled as per Beijing time to depart at 7am. Given the time difference this was really about 3am local time and the very coldest part of an already freezing night (about minus 25 Celsius, labrang's at altitude on the tibetan plateay). So cold as we sat on the bus waiting my travelling partner started having breathing problems due to a panic attack brought on my the icy conditions. Of course, local people followed the natural cycle of sunrise and sunset for most thing but the buses had to run to central state time.
posted by Abiezer at 5:41 AM on November 13, 2009


IN RUSSIA THERE ARE NO TIMEZONES JUST AN IMPROPERLY CALIBRATED INTAKE OF VODKA
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:55 AM on November 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


That's absurd. A simple ninety degree rotation should suffice.

What is this, Tetris?
posted by tapeguy at 6:15 AM on November 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Remember taking a bus out of Labrang in Gansu around Western new year one time back in the late 90s, which was scheduled as per Beijing time to depart at 7am.

I took a sleeper bus from Aksu to Kashgar in January a couple of years back. The driver parked behind a bowling alley and let everyone stay sleeping and keep warm until just before the sun came up. All the Uyghurs on board (the majority of passengers as the Han take the train) were forced off as the sun rose to pray. The driver (a sinning Uzbek) told my partner and I to sit tight and stay warm, assuming that we weren't muslims. Then they all got back on and we rode to the main bus terminal. The Han around town were breaking for lunch as they were all on Beijing (official) time, while the Uyghurs were just getting up for breakfast.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:16 AM on November 13, 2009


That's the great thing about sin; keeps you warm in this life as well as the next.
posted by Abiezer at 6:27 AM on November 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


> During WW2, Stalin enforced a single timezone on the country.

Citation needed. I just did some googling and found no reference to this; in fact, this book has a detailed discussion of Stalin's dicking around with Daylight Savings Time and says nothing about his enforcing a single time zone.
posted by languagehat at 6:44 AM on November 13, 2009


In Russia, ours go to eleven.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:49 AM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


In Soviet Russia, clock resets YOU
posted by briank at 6:52 AM on November 13, 2009


I also like the half hour changes for Newfoundland and Venezuela and the 15 minute change that Nepal appears to enjoy.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was waiting tables in British Columbia and a customer found out she was from Newfoundland and asked if she wanted to hear a Newfie joke. And what Newfoundlander gives up an opportunity to get made fun of by a mainlander? But being a good soul, she obliged.

The joke was "Why are Newfoundlanders always the last to get the joke?" Friend said nothing. "Because they're half an hour behind!!!!"

Once he and his party stopped laughing, she kindly informed him that Newfoundland was actually half an hour ahead, making it 4.5 hours ahead of BC.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:05 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


My mom told me that when she was a student, the tests were standardized across the nation (communism!) and you could call a friend in another timezone and get the questions.
posted by prefpara at 7:05 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


We have so much power now...
posted by SansPoint at 7:10 AM on November 13, 2009


That sounds a lot like Finland, really.

Or Seattle.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:25 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I also like the half hour changes for Newfoundland and Venezuela and the 15 minute change that Nepal appears to enjoy.

I think there's parts of Australia that are also on a 15/45 minute difference. Which just boggles my mind, honestly. Half hour delta time zones are already crazy enough.
posted by kmz at 7:33 AM on November 13, 2009


Perhaps the BBC would prefer it if we all just ran on GMT. Then they could control time. *evil British cackle* Seriously though, Russia is big in the wrong direction. People who live in Kamchatka and have to report back home to Moscow should realize that, yes they are far far away. Perhaps this will be a boon for business headquarters to relocate to Novosibirsk, given their central location.
posted by msbutah at 7:45 AM on November 13, 2009


"What's the Soviet Union?"

"It was sort of a group of countries ruled by Russia back before you were born."
posted by straight at 7:49 AM on November 13, 2009


What is this, Tetris?

EARTH HAS 4 CORNER SIMULTANEOUS 4-DAY TIME CUBE IN ONLY 24 HOUR ROTATION.
posted by greensweater at 8:32 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Brezhnev allegedly had a great joke abut the problems he had with Russia's many time zones and losing track of time as he traveled:

"I call Poland to offer my condolensces on the death of their president, and I'm a day late! I call the Vatican to offer my condolescenses on the death of the Pope, and I'm a day early!"
posted by deanc at 8:47 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I always try to leave space for the 4-way simultaneous time cube, but I always wind up needing the long skinny piece. Dammit.
posted by arto at 9:05 AM on November 13, 2009


Let us not forget that the United States has six time zones (unless you count American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, in which case it's got eight).

And then you have Daylight Savings time, and the handful of states that don't OBSERVE Daylight Savings time...we took a vacation once where we leapfrogged back and forth across Nevada, Utah, and Arizona; Nevada and Arizona were in one Time Zone, we knew, and Utah in another - but Arizona didn't have Daylight savings time. So we were forever getting confused whether we had to re-set our watches forward or back or leave them or...at some point, my father got thoroughly confused and stopped someone in Arizona and asked, "Can you tell me what the time is in the spot where I'm standing?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:18 AM on November 13, 2009


I got blunted one day and listened to this track like 20 times in row. It was awesome.
posted by ofthestrait at 9:34 AM on November 13, 2009


The real question isn't if I know how many time zones there are in the Soviet Union, but rather what the hell do all those yellow, and black, and rectangular wedge shapes I keep seeing everywhere mean. Am I loosing my mind?
posted by item at 10:02 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


There, there.
posted by jscott at 10:13 AM on November 13, 2009


I think the 11 time zones thing is kinda awesome, myself.
posted by blucevalo at 10:41 AM on November 13, 2009


Do you know how many time zones there are in the Soviet Union?

Woudn't that be zero, there not being a Soviet Union?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:28 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Idle question: I now live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan doesn't observe Daylight Savings time (which is a right pain).

I know that Arizona doesn't observe DST, and the Peace River area of BC doesn't, and, back in the 80's there were little pockets in the midwest that didn't, either.

Anyone know the history of why some places are DST holdouts?
posted by jrochest at 11:44 AM on November 13, 2009


I say we privatize time zones and daylight savings time. Towns and states could buy and sell hours as they need them on a national exchange. If you ever get confused and end up being late to a function, you can buy "time credits" from entities who are punctual to excuse your mistakes or laziness. This would give shipping companies and airlines a fiscal incentive to do things on time.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:30 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is why all my clocks are set to Greenwich Monster Time.
posted by The Whelk at 12:42 PM on November 13, 2009


Citation needed. I just did some googling and found no reference to this

eh, it's in solzhenitsyn. only, i forget which book & which page.

that should shut him up for a while
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:08 PM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Anyone know the history of why some places are DST holdouts?

Indiana was a hold-out until 2006, although we're not all terribly pleased about it.
posted by notnamed at 2:51 PM on November 13, 2009


Anyone know the history of why some places are DST holdouts?

1. Fading Curtains

Many rural (and urban) families tend to close the curtains when they get home from work to keep out the hot sun, then open them again after the sun goes down to let more air in. Given day light savings gives you one additional hour in the evening after work, this increases the fading of curtains.

2. Cows giving less milk

Cows don't read clocks, so when they give their milk at 4am, each and every morning ready for the trucks to pick up by 4:30am to get into town for us to drink. When daylight savings starts the cow's 4am is now 3am and the cow gives less milk. That is - the reason cows produce less milk in DLS is because they don't know about the change.

(source)
posted by vectr at 4:55 PM on November 13, 2009


so, in other words, they'll be ok in about three hundred thousand million years?

No, all they need to do is to get everyone in Russia to jump up and down rapidly at the same time until they can push it down as far as to their liking.

This will also help tourism.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:06 PM on November 13, 2009


That is - the reason cows produce less milk in DLS is because they don't know about the change.

Yes, well, they don't know if you don't tell them.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:07 PM on November 13, 2009


eh, it's in solzhenitsyn. only, i forget which book & which page.

that should shut him up for a while


Well played.

During WW2, Stalin enforced a single timezone on the country.

Contradicted by the tz database, which contains within itself an historical record of all time zone mandates. Almost all of Russian time zones were set in 1930 and remained unchanged until 1991. The exceptions are apparently minor administrative changes.
posted by dhartung at 6:17 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think there's parts of Australia that are also on a 15/45 minute difference.

Incorrect, although Australian Central Standard Time is CUT + 9.30.
posted by Wolof at 7:11 PM on November 13, 2009


Ahhhh, a classic. We played the shit out of that on WREK back in the day.
posted by intermod at 10:05 PM on November 13, 2009


This has been posted to MeFi more times than I can remember, but at least it's an awesome n-post.
posted by wierdo at 10:30 PM on November 13, 2009


Contradicted by the tz database

OK, I stand corrected then. I wonder where I heard that story, now. Might have been something to do with Tankograd.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:52 AM on November 14, 2009


I was just reading the other day (in A. A. Gill’s book Previous Convictions) that Greenland has four time zones, and two of them don’t even contain a clock.
posted by LeLiLo at 6:53 PM on November 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


« Older After the 2005 Kelo (previously) decision, grantin...  |  The Carillon is the most massi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments