Russian empire changes clocks to Putin Time, expands to 11 time zones
October 26, 2014 3:48 AM   Subscribe

BBC: Russia will turn back its clocks for the last time on Sunday to permanently adopt winter hours. It will also increase its time zones from nine to 11, from the Pacific to the borders of the European Union. For the last three years, Russia experimented with keeping permanent summer time, but it proved to be highly unpopular with many Russians. The Soviet Union introduced Daylight Saving Time in 1981.

Wikipedia: 2014 zone boundary changes.

Pravda: On October 26, Russia will switch to winter time again. At 02:00 a.m., most Russians will set their clocks one hour back. This will be a one-time action only. Winter time will be set on the territory of the Russian Federation in connection with adopted amendments to the law "On the Computation of Time." Time zones of Russian regions will be set on the base of Moscow time, which corresponds to third time zone in the national time scale of Russia, UTC (SU) +3 hours. Before October 26, Russia was living on UTC (SU) +4 hours.

Telegraph: Under a law signed by Vladimir Putin in June, Russia will remain on permanent Winter time year-round. The move will leave Moscow three hours ahead of GMT in Winter, but only two hours ahead in Summer. Mr Putin's move reverses a decision by his predecessor Dmitry Medvedev to put the country on permanent Summer time – leaving Russia an extra hour ahead of Europe between October and March.

Moscow Times: The head of the rebel-held Luhansk People's Republic has issued an order to sync the eastern Ukrainian region's clocks with Moscow this weekend, when both Ukraine and Russia switch to winter time.

Armenia Now: This issue has evoked debates both in Armenia and Russia, but it is yet unclear whether Yerevan will follow Moscow’s suit in changing its “time zone”. After several years of not making the clock hands move at all, Russia has decided to move the clocks back one more time on October 26 when most of the Western world will be returning to the “winter time”.

In a recent interview with the Moscow-based Noyev Kovcheg newspaper Armenia’s former president Robert Kocharyan spoke critically about the new DST policy in Armenia. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the change, saying that it is “unnatural” [for the latitude of Armenia] when in summer the dawn breaks at 6 am, and at 8 pm it is already dark, while the working day at most public offices starts at 9 am.
posted by Wordshore (102 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
In Mother Russia, clock changes you!
posted by matrixgeek at 3:54 AM on October 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


In Putin's Russia, clock changes you.
posted by spitbull at 4:05 AM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh no we didn't.
posted by spitbull at 4:06 AM on October 26, 2014 [20 favorites]


That sound you just heard is a bunch of programmers' heads hitting their desks in unison.
posted by knave at 4:16 AM on October 26, 2014 [65 favorites]


I'll admit I may well be reading too much symbolism into Russian statecraft at this point, but I can't shake being vaguely amused by a Kremlin decree establishing permanent winter.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:18 AM on October 26, 2014 [106 favorites]


Don't you kid yourself. Thanks, Glen, for the uh... well, just thanks for the, the good thoughts
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:19 AM on October 26, 2014 [10 favorites]


A brilliant strategic move. Never again will Napoleon's troops menace Moscow.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:22 AM on October 26, 2014 [19 favorites]


That sound you just heard is a bunch of programmers' heads hitting their desks in unison.

That got me wondering so I downloaded the latest timezone data (aka "tzdata" or "zoneinfo"); the release notes (a file named "NEWS") state:
Release 2014f - 2014-08-05 17:42:36 -0700

Changes affecting future time stamps

Russia will subtract an hour from most of its time zones on 2014-10-26
at 02:00 local time. (Thanks to Alexander Krivenyshev.)
There are a few exceptions: Magadan Oblast (Asia/Magadan) and Zabaykalsky
Krai are subtracting two hours; conversely, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
(Asia/Anadyr), Kamchatka Krai (Asia/Kamchatka), Kemerovo Oblast
(Asia/Novokuznetsk), and the Samara Oblast and the Udmurt Republic
(Europe/Samara) are not changing their clocks. The changed zones are
Europe/Kaliningrad, Europe/Moscow, Europe/Simferopol, Europe/Volgograd,
Asia/Yekaterinburg, Asia/Omsk, Asia/Novosibirsk, Asia/Krasnoyarsk,
Asia/Irkutsk, Asia/Yakutsk, Asia/Vladivostok, Asia/Khandyga,
Asia/Sakhalin, and Asia/Ust-Nera; Asia/Magadan will have two hours
subtracted; and Asia/Novokuznetsk's time zone abbreviation is affected,
but not its UTC offset. Two zones are added: Asia/Chita (split
from Asia/Yakutsk, and also with two hours subtracted) and
Asia/Srednekolymsk (split from Asia/Magadan, but with only one hour
subtracted). (Thanks to Tim Parenti for much of the above.)
There's also this about Crimea :
Release 2014b - 2014-03-24 21:28:50 -0700

Crimea switches to Moscow time on 2014-03-30 at 02:00 local time.
(Thanks to Alexander Krivenyshev.) Move its zone.tab entry from UA to RU.
Yup. They moved its zone.tab entry alright.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:33 AM on October 26, 2014 [20 favorites]


I'm just pleased that this song makes sense again.

Well, sort of.
posted by kyrademon at 4:36 AM on October 26, 2014 [14 favorites]


*shakes fist at kyrademon*

My daughter likes this year because when people ask how old she is she replies "Eleven, it's not even funny" in the voice from that song.
posted by fullerine at 4:57 AM on October 26, 2014 [15 favorites]


permanently adopt winter hours

That will show global warming who is boss.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:14 AM on October 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


> winter hours

That's a weird and deliberately grim way of putting it.

In America during the Nixon administration*, we did the converse for a year and called it "year-round Daylight Saving Time," not "Perpetual Summertime". *(It was an act of Congress, not the President.)

As for the perversity of Putin's regulation... well, the USA is the only country that insists on beginning DST in March and ending it in November. (This time during the G.W. Bush administration, but once again Congress' fault: "Wyoming Senator Michael Enzi and Michigan Representative Fred Upton advocated the extension from October into November especially to allow children to go trick-or-treating in more daylight".)

Permanently revoking DST is a popular hobbyhorse in the West, particularly around October and March. So Putin's really doing it. There you go.
posted by ardgedee at 6:01 AM on October 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


I can't shake being vaguely amused by a Kremlin decree establishing permanent winter.

And never Christmas.

Cool, there's a faun outside!
posted by lharmon at 6:14 AM on October 26, 2014 [18 favorites]


My favourite recent example dictatorial boundary moving was Saudi Arabia where the king - last year - decided to move the weekend from Thursday/Friday to Friday/Saturday with 4 days notice.
posted by rongorongo at 6:22 AM on October 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't think Americans get to laugh about this while they stick with Imperial Measurment.
posted by srboisvert at 6:23 AM on October 26, 2014 [29 favorites]


I for one welcome our (their, actually) perpetualy winter-time-keeping overlords.There is no concept more reviled by anybody having to code anything related to time, than having to jump through a thousand hoops to acccomodate one extra/missing hour per day once a year.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:37 AM on October 26, 2014


Wait, no-one's posted a link to Negativland's Time Zones yet?

Done and done!
posted by kcds at 6:41 AM on October 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Is there anything left of Medvedev's reforms (or reform attempts) that Putin hasn't reversed at this point? I can just imagine Putin cackling manically as he tears up Medvedev's orders one by one, while Medvedev, all in tears, is pleading Putin to leave him at least something: "Do you really have to do this?" - "Yes, yes I do."
posted by daniel_charms at 6:42 AM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


That sound you just heard is a bunch of programmers' heads hitting their desks in unison.

From now on all time will be in Epoch.
posted by Artw at 6:43 AM on October 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


> "I don't think Americans get to laugh about this while they stick with Imperial Measurement."

Laugh about it? I HATE the twice-yearly time change and want it to DIE DIE DIE.
posted by kyrademon at 6:44 AM on October 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


I don't know why everyone doesn't just run on Chinese time. There's a certain ruthlessness to it, but it saves a lot of, uh ...
posted by Wolof at 6:51 AM on October 26, 2014


Meanwhile, in China.
posted by Mr. Fig at 6:55 AM on October 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


We will accept UTC time with ISO 8601 date format. All else is heresy.
posted by underflow at 7:09 AM on October 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm out. Like all my servers, my watches and clocks are all set to UTC/GMT now.

Damn smartphone, can't do UTC only.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 7:09 AM on October 26, 2014


> Wait, no-one's posted a link to Negativland's Time Zones yet?

You mean this (And this joke and this joke) didn't happen? How... revisionist.
posted by ardgedee at 7:12 AM on October 26, 2014


> From now on all time will be in Epoch.

There would be a perverse pleasure in having a negative birthdate.
posted by ardgedee at 7:13 AM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Damn smartphone, can't do UTC only.

Phones get their time from the cellular network. Wait till you find yourself living near a tower with a wildly incorrect clock.
posted by localroger at 7:13 AM on October 26, 2014


Wait till you find yourself living near a tower with a wildly incorrect clock.

Or near a time zone boundary.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:14 AM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


The obvious solution is Swatch time. One time zone, decimal notation, (pseudo-) meridian in neutral country.
posted by effbot at 7:31 AM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


This explains how the Russian sub got lost in Sweden last week.
posted by arcticseal at 7:46 AM on October 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Next: white walkers spotted near Ukrainian border, Putin seen riding dragon into battle after pouring molten gold on head of opposition leader.
posted by Behemoth at 7:47 AM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


It was interesting to see the Armenia Now link here. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia, and one of the major issues in that country was how close they would remain to Russia. In fact, Russia has troops that patrol Armenia's border with Iran (a fact I well know because some of my friends were detained by those troops for straying too close to the border during a hike).

I am actually surprised to see they are considering not making the change. Russia is their major ally, and I would expect that they would want to change for both political and economic reasons.
posted by merikus at 7:47 AM on October 26, 2014


The obvious solution is Swatch time. One time zone, decimal notation, (pseudo-) meridian in neutral country.

From their site:
"The Meridian is marked for all to see on the facade of the Swatch International headquarters on Jakob-Staempfli Street, Biel, Switzerland."
Say what you will about the vanity of Rolexes or Bulovas: Swatch is the only watchmaker to declare itself the center of the universe.
posted by clarknova at 7:49 AM on October 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


This explains how the Russian sub got lost in Sweden last week.

Except that it was not a submarine.
posted by Wordshore at 7:52 AM on October 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


"Winter time"? I thought it must be people flicking in a little anti-Russian bias who were calling it that, but Pravda uses the term. We would use the term "sun time" to refer to "no daylight savings time", with the idea that the sun was highest in the sky at 12:00 noon (at some place within the time zone, obvs not everywhere). Did anybody outside of my family use that too?

Also thanks for the Negativland link. I've been trying re-locate the song with that clip for years, but I though it was an Eno-Byrne piece. And thanks for all the extra back-up links to it too, just in case I have trouble finding the first one.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:53 AM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Except that it was not a submarine.

That photo explains why the International Swimming Federation gave him their finest award the other day, an award that's reserved for people "who have achieved remarkable merit in the world of Aquatics."
posted by effbot at 8:10 AM on October 26, 2014


"Winter time"? I thought it must be people flicking in a little anti-Russian bias who were calling it that, but Pravda uses the term.

German has Sommerzeit and Winterzeit. I'm guessing it's not uncommon in places that call the time they use in the summer 'summer time' (though not in Britain, I don't think).
posted by hoyland at 8:27 AM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


BST stands for British Summer Time
posted by fullerine at 8:29 AM on October 26, 2014


I'm normally against the death penalty. I'd consider an exception for attempting to create legislation controlling time zones.
posted by odinsdream at 8:31 AM on October 26, 2014


Keep the clock as it is and vary standard office hours, is my view.
posted by Segundus at 8:41 AM on October 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't think Americans get to laugh about this while they stick with Imperial Measurment.<>

What does that have to do with it?

posted by Dr. Twist at 8:48 AM on October 26, 2014


I don't think Americans get to laugh about this while they stick with Imperial Measurment.

Anybody who claims the metric system is unamerican should be reminded that it was the metric-system-promoting French who aided* us in our anti-imperial American Revolution against the British. We should have adopted it in 1799.**

* No French help, no USA, at least not in the 18th Century.
** Ironically, the French dropped it due to unpopularity until readopting it in 1837. Read more...

posted by Celsius1414 at 9:05 AM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


No "winter is coming" jokes yet? Wow. (I checked twice...)
posted by Vaike at 9:07 AM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


No "winter is coming" jokes yet? Wow. (I checked twice...)

There was a Game of Thrones reference, though I suppose it should be referred to as Game of Zones.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:07 AM on October 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


As we here in England put the clocks back an hour earlier today, and we're therefore back in Greenwich Mean Time, this means we're currently busy adjusting all our timepieces in this fair land.
posted by Wordshore at 9:13 AM on October 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh, that's right! My usual Shipping Forecast schedule will change until next week! Thanks for the reminder, Wordshore!
posted by Kitteh at 9:15 AM on October 26, 2014


is good for farmers!
posted by thelonius at 9:20 AM on October 26, 2014


I'm normally against the death penalty. I'd consider an exception for attempting to create legislation controlling time zones.

I too am sick of big government interfering with my clocks. That's why I've created a hot new Internet startup called Oobertime. It's like Uber for clocks. Want to check the time? Just pull out your smartphone and search for a nearby Oobertime rep.

Each Oobertime rep has his or her own time zone. Here in the Bay Area, you can choose from Swatch Internet Time, Cupertino Standard, Palo Alto Daylight, Oakland Fall Back, Burning Man Whatever, and six hundred fifty-three other exciting options. Whether you're a button-down nine-to-fiver or an in-your-face space case, there's an OoberZone that's right for you.

Once you've made your selection, the Oobertime Chronoconcierge will drive to your location and shout the current time through a rolled-up copy of Atlas Shrugged.
posted by compartment at 9:30 AM on October 26, 2014 [28 favorites]


I work at a company in the US where the MRP system's servers are in Germany. Lots of people were confused why there is downtime this weekend to change from Daylight to Standard.
posted by achrise at 9:31 AM on October 26, 2014


If the Swatch beat is to be useful for the same purposes as the SI second, it will need to be referenced to an atomic clock.

If the Swatch beat is to be useful for the same purposes as the POSIX second, the number of Swatch beats in a day must remain fixed.

These requirements are incompatible, which is why the more mainstream time/date systems get hideous warts like leap seconds and leap smears. Next to those, daylight saving issues are but minor inconveniences.

That said: personally I loathe daylight saving time and wish it had never been invented. My body clock has a busted adjuster, and every year I spend months feeling jetlagged after summer time kicks in. I resent this horrible conspiracy of idiots determined to make me wake me up an hour earlier so much! Putin has clearly done the right thing in this instance.
posted by flabdablet at 10:08 AM on October 26, 2014


I don't think there's a sane person alive who doesn't loathe DST.
posted by blucevalo at 10:10 AM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Have any lawmakers introduced bills to eliminate DST? If not, why? If they prefer to focus on petty legislation, this would be easy pickings and would have some significant support.
posted by crapmatic at 10:31 AM on October 26, 2014


Eh. I enjoy the extra evening sun, myself. Though the switching can get annoying.
posted by tavella at 10:38 AM on October 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


knave: "That sound you just heard is a bunch of programmers' heads hitting their desks in unison."

For those who don't fully comprehend the headache... here's a great video overview of the issue.
posted by symbioid at 10:40 AM on October 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


I love love love DST. I want to hug it and squeeze it and call it George. It's the only example I can think of offhand where instead of ignoring a natural cycle or outright trying to counter it, we actually amplify it and make summer that much more summerish and the return to normal time that much more autumnal by comparison. I don't even care whether or not it saves energy; it's just a glorious and wunnerful thing. Even switching is no big deal now as almost all our timepieces just change automagically.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:41 AM on October 26, 2014 [17 favorites]


Being grumpy about DST reminds me of all those sourpusses* who are grumpy about winter (or more to the point winter in Buffalo); when did you die inside so a hundred inches of snow became a bad thing? Are you the sorts of people who give out toothbrushes on Halloween?

*Does not include people with SAD, who I just feel bad for.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:45 AM on October 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Rumors of Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve are just pro-NATO propaganda spread by the corrupt western media apparatus and by subversive pro-Faun elements within Russia!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:49 AM on October 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Well humph. I'm still holding out to get those 11 days back.
posted by chavenet at 10:55 AM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


When I was in the Navy, I had two situations where DST adjustments benefited me over a ten year period. Both times involved me getting an hour deducted from my midnight watch while not being on watch when I got an extra hour of fun. However, I'm sure some poor soul had the opposite happen, where they just got more work and less time.

Of course, sailing across the sea means that we got the equivalent of DST on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:56 AM on October 26, 2014


Cool, there's a faun outside!

An early sentence from The Bear, the Oligarch, and the Wardrobe.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:56 AM on October 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


The Bear, the Oligarch, and the Wardrobe? Someone start writing this AU Narnia fic stat!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 11:22 AM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Bar owners love DST; it's an extra hour of revenue.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:37 AM on October 26, 2014


I don't think there's a sane person alive who doesn't loathe DST

Those of us who live further north than you and thus have wilder swings in daylight hours would disagree.
posted by rocket88 at 12:06 PM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Have any lawmakers introduced bills to eliminate DST?

There's been opposition to DST ever since it was created. Actual legislative opposition waxes and wanes. The current law in the US allows states to determine which parts comply, and it looks like this year both Tennessee and Utah have considered bills to eliminate DST.

Personally, I like DST, but as an engineer-type I recognize that time is basically arbitrary and wonder what all the fuss is about one way or the other. I think it makes less sense now than it used to, with so many 24/7 cycles, and the original intent of conserving candlewax is obviously no longer of great importance. I would rather that the time zone boundaries be more regular and placed closer to where they nominally ought to be [fig. 7-17]. Some de jure time zones around the world are literally an entire hour off from what the natural time would be (but again, time is arbitrary...)
posted by dhartung at 12:10 PM on October 26, 2014


I don't think there's a sane person alive who doesn't loathe DST.

As long as I'm living in a society where we arrange our working time by the clock and not by sunlight I'm personally all for DST. In fact I would be up for DST+2 even. Sunrise at 5:15 am in mid-June in Chicago was of very little use to me (as compared to more sun after work) and sunrise at 4:15 am would have been even worse.

Though maybe I could do without the switching back in winter part, I really love the summer evening hours.
posted by andrewesque at 12:12 PM on October 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


> "Have any lawmakers introduced bills to eliminate DST? If not, why?"

Doing so always provokes howls of outrage. Some people who do so have reasons, many of which have been outlined in this thread. Others just don't like things being different from the way they're used to.

> "Those of us who live further north than you and thus have wilder swings in daylight hours would disagree."

I'm at 56 degrees north latitude and I HATES it, I does. I see you're Canadian from your profile, so I suppose you could be somewhere like Fort McMurray, Whitehorse, or Yellowknife, but if not you aren't speaking for the northernerest. :)
posted by kyrademon at 12:40 PM on October 26, 2014


At 59 degrees north, with 7 hours of sunlight a day in midwinter, I don't mind this bit of clock juggling to get some extra daylight.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 12:51 PM on October 26, 2014


The thing is, though, you don't have to set your day by the clock. It sort of makes sense for people in extreme latitude to organize their working days to optimize having some free time daylight. But that seems like something you could mostly work out amongst yourselves without dragging the rest of the world into it. It makes more sense to me to have the whole world on one time schedule with some small parts opting to switch than it does to have the whole world on this cockamamie switch twice a year nonsense.

(if you think mormal time zones are bad, consider that there are time zone changes that DON'T FALL ON TIME BOUNDARIES, such as zones that vary by 15, 30, or 45 minutes from the one next to them. Yes, these exist. Also, last I checked, China is one time zone. Yes, I did have to write TZ-aware code, why do you ask?)
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:57 PM on October 26, 2014


For those who don't fully comprehend the headache... here's a great video overview of the issue.
posted by symbioid at 10:40 AM on October 26


That was excellent, thanks for sharing!
posted by Vindaloo at 12:59 PM on October 26, 2014


Most people who claim to hate DST don't realize that they don't hate DST but they hate the lack of DST. DST is when clocks are moved forward, thus the sun sets later. It's great in the winter when most people wake up when it's dark because it lets people enjoy the sun when they leave work.
posted by I-baLL at 1:36 PM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


There was a Game of Thrones reference, though I suppose it should be referred to as Game of Zones.

presumably featuring the murderous machinations of power hungry time-lords?
posted by ennui.bz at 1:45 PM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


> Bar owners love DST; it's an extra hour of revenue.

Compensating for the lost hour of revenue every spring?
posted by ardgedee at 1:47 PM on October 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


presumably featuring the murderous machinations of power hungry time-lords?

Let's not go impugning people on prejudice alone. Maybe Putin bought the extra hours from The Eleven Day Empire legit.
posted by clarknova at 1:53 PM on October 26, 2014


> I don't think Americans get to laugh about this while they stick with Imperial Measurment.

Laugh about it? Not when I've just discovered it's possible to agree with anyone, even Putin, about something. Death death death to Daylight Savings Time. Imperial Measurements to infinity and beyond, Real True Time for.evar.


> Most people who claim to hate DST don't realize that they don't hate DST but they hate the lack of DST.

In winter I get up at night
and dress by yellow candlelight.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.


Still true, only now we have DST to make it one hour worse.


On preview, hat tip to fellow ranter kyrademon.
posted by jfuller at 2:25 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Utah is indeed considering DST changes. Either to remain on DST year round, off DST year round, or the status quo. I suspect in the 2015 legislative session they will take up the issue as it's been picking up groundswell for a few years now. Last year they asked our not quite equivalent version of the CBO (albeit one beholden to business interests) to study the issue and collect data. Knowing the idiocy of the Utah Legislature, we'll wind up defunding schools and restricting alcohol somehow while everyone gets excited and distracted over the DST studies.
posted by msbutah at 2:26 PM on October 26, 2014


True story: back in 1999, Israel made the switch from Daylight Savings Time a week early to accommodate the Jewish religious calendar. The Palestinian National Authority didn't go along with the changes, and much confusion ensued. Two terrorist attacks had been planned for September 5th, 1999, at just after 6 PM. You probably see where I'm going with this: the bombs were set to Palestinian Time and exploded prematurely, killing the people transporting them. The Israelis figured it out when they wondered why there had been two nearly-simultaneous "work accidents" and analysed the remains of the bombs. [Source one, two]
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:05 PM on October 26, 2014 [7 favorites]


The thing is, though, you don't have to set your day by the clock...It makes more sense to me to have the whole world on one time schedule with some small parts opting to switch than it does to have the whole world on this cockamamie switch twice a year nonsense.

The majority of the world's population doesn't actually follow DST (e.g. almost no tropical country, many of which are very populous, has DST and given that neither China nor India follows it that's already over 1/3 of the world population.)

As for not having to set my day by the clock, I don't think this is realistic (if I am understanding you correctly). Even if I wanted to get up and get stuff done before work when there is sunlight, friends aren't around, restaurants/bars/shops/offices/civic facilities aren't open, transit is often not operating, schools all start at the same time, etc.

In theory we could not change the time for DST but just start everything earlier in the summer and later in the winter, but in an industrialized developed economy I just think that the inherent benefits of time standardization are too high for any one party to shift this status quo.

Part of why I'm such in favor of DST is that I have been living in cities (Chicago and Boston) that are on the far eastern edge of their respective time zones and sunset is already relatively early in the evening -- sunset in Detroit, which is also in Eastern time, is almost an hour later by the clock than in Boston in the summer -- and for the reasons mentioned above, sunlight after work is way more valuable to me than sunlight before work. Maybe Boston should just secede from Eastern time!
posted by andrewesque at 3:17 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm at 56 degrees north latitude [...]
At 59 degrees north [...]


So Copenhagen and Stockholm, roughly. That's not very far north :-)
posted by effbot at 3:25 PM on October 26, 2014


> "So Copenhagen and Stockholm, roughly. That's not very far north :-)"

Eh, you're all the way down at 47. Southerner.
posted by kyrademon at 3:30 PM on October 26, 2014


No DST here, which means 4:00 sunrises in summer and I just do not need that
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:33 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


In theory we could not change the time for DST but just start everything earlier in the summer and later in the winter

If Congress passed a law saying that, on some given date, we will all start work, school, and other organized activity an hour later, and also stay an hour later, but only for about 6 months, when we'll all change back to how we do it now, they'd be tarred and feathered. But tell us to set our clocks ahead an hour and we just suck it up. It's really weird, the more you think about it.
posted by thelonius at 4:05 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's not weird. Congress isn't empowered to set work schedules for everyone. It is empowered to regulate weights and measures, such as the measurement of time.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:17 PM on October 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


It is empowered to regulate weights and measures, such as the measurement of time.

Speaking as someone who is intimately involved with this -- I have a license from the state of Louisiana which allows me to work on legal for trade scales -- this strikes me as a bizarre and rules-lawyerly reading of that clause in the Constitution. The Founders clearly intended that there would be a need for measurement standards to ensure smooth trade between the Colonies and with the outside world, but declaring DST feels more like declaring the value of Pi to be 22/7 regardless of what other interests might say in the matter.
posted by localroger at 5:42 PM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Localroger, the same would go for defining any measurement of time. At one point this was undefined; most towns (including the USA) just used "local noon". So how would you specify the start and end of a contract? I guess you could define them by reference to a particular local noon, but surely you can see that that's unwieldy and very susceptible to change as localities merge or redefine their local times. Defining common time zones is at least as necessary as defining other measures: a gram is the same the whole world over, but noon and midnight are personal matters.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:23 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


So how would you specify the start and end of a contract? I guess you could define them by reference to a particular local noon, but surely you can see that that's unwieldy and very susceptible to change as localities merge or redefine their local times.

Given that there's no ambiguity at all in a time explicitly specified by reference to a particular local noon, general use of that scheme might actually be easier to deal with programatically than the present "universal" mess.

The fundamental error, it seems to me, was the conflation of human seconds and scientific seconds. Each of those concepts has its own domain of applicability, and we should probably not have attempted to use the same unit for both.
posted by flabdablet at 8:16 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


declaring DST feels more like declaring the value of Pi to be 22/7 regardless of what other interests might say in the matter

The difference seems to me to be that what time we say "now" is is arbitrary in a way that the definition of pi is not. A definition of pi can be factually wrong; a definition of what time it is in some particular place cannot, except insofar as "12:00" during the day can be something other than solar noon, but you lost that battle a looong time ago. Maybe a better example of the kind of thing you're thinking about would be if Congress had defined a meter as 1.09 yards exactly, so a "meter" in the US was different than a meter everywhere else*?

...that said, one can certainly imagine a world where people use local time for their daily lives and coordinate with people in other cities by saying things like "I'll call you at 0430 zulu." Seems more unwieldy than the one we live in, but I'm sure there are aspects of our world that would seem unwieldy and kludgey to visitors from other timelines.

*They actually did the reverse, so US customary units are basically weirdo non-SI metric units.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:30 PM on October 26, 2014


Natural time is 12:00 == local noon. Time zones distort this a bit for the sake of convenience. DST says fuck natural time.
posted by localroger at 8:38 PM on October 26, 2014


"Bar owners love DST; it's an extra hour of revenue."

It's not. DST is when we set our clocks forward by an hour.

This point keeps getting missed by a lot of people in the world.

Also:

"e.g. almost no tropical country, many of which are very populous, has DST and given that neither China nor India follows it that's already over 1/3 of the world population.)"

India, for it's size, only has one time zone. This is causing problems for them and right now there are proposals for multiple time zones and DST.

China also has only one time zone.
posted by I-baLL at 8:51 PM on October 26, 2014


Flabdablet wrote: there's no ambiguity at all in a time explicitly specified by reference to a particular local noon [...]

There's a lot of ambiguity there, which is why things were changed. You only need to go fifteen or twenty kilometers (at temperate latitudes) to change local noon by a minute, if you're travelling east or west. And the time of solar transit ("noon") in my home town of Melbourne, Australia, varies from 12:34 PM to to 1:04 PM, depending on the time of year. So you'd need to adjust your watch every time you went on a journey, as well as from day to day. And you'd need to have some way of keeping up with the current value as well.

Or, you know, we could just use 24-hour days set by a common reference, and be done with it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:18 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


That sound you just heard is a bunch of programmers' heads hitting their desks in unison.

A documentary about the zoneinfo maintainers would be worth making, covering the kind of deep research they often have to do in order to verify changes in countries and regions, and especially historical changes where the records are much sketchier. Want to know whether summer time was honoured in practice in a particular country in 1926 when there's conflicting stuff in the official archives? It's all hammered out on a mailing list where the most active participants freely admit that a lot of the older timezone data is pretty flimsy.

if you think normal time zones are bad, consider that there are time zone changes that DON'T FALL ON TIME BOUNDARIES, such as zones that vary by 15, 30, or 45 minutes from the one next to them.

Nepal, UTC+5:45 just to be different from India. Yeah, that's a fun one for calculations.
posted by holgate at 9:18 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Historical times and dates are much worse than that. Once you go more than a century back you start running into dates that cannot be easily specified. You may have a description of a date, but you won't be able to relate it to other dates unless you know whete it was recorded, because different countries adjusted their calendar at different times. Or your daye may be described with reference to Easter, and different sects argued about when that was. Or it might be described with reference to a king, and we don't know when he was crowned. So we have dates that clearly follow each other, but we don't know when they happened; dates that are specified the same way but might be different occasions; dates that can only be understood when they are qualified by the location in which they were measured and perhaps the ideology of the person recording them.

It can be very dismaying.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:29 AM on October 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


> It's not. DST is when we set our clocks forward by an hour.

I had my own joke at ffff's expense, but he means DST as a whole, not the start of DST, which would make him right in this isolated example: If last call in his town is 02:00 or later, the end of DST adds an hour of available drinking time. Now, over a year's revenue that evens out, assuming the bar keeps consistent hours and weekend revenue does not cycle seasonally. But if people in his town tend to drink more in the autumn than in the spring, yes, it's reasonable to assume that DST is a modest boost to a bar's bottom line.
posted by ardgedee at 2:45 AM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


andrewesque: "In fact I would be up for DST+2 even. "

It's been done.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:02 AM on October 27, 2014


It is probably safe to assume that any unuseful but doable time zone or DST scheme you can think of has already been done by somebody somewhere.

Although frankly the only thing worst than arbitrarily bizarre national scheme is going to be a zillion schemes that each only make sense to the denizens of their own locales.
posted by ardgedee at 8:55 AM on October 27, 2014


> Although frankly the only thing worst than arbitrarily bizarre national scheme is going to
> be a zillion schemes that each only make sense to the denizens of their own locales.

I'm game. Go for it.
posted by jfuller at 9:29 AM on October 27, 2014


If last call in his town is 02:00 or later, the end of DST adds an hour of available drinking time. Now, over a year's revenue that evens out, assuming the bar keeps consistent hours and weekend revenue does not cycle seasonally.

In Canada, at least, it really is an extra hour of revenue. In the autumn, clocks go back 1 hour at 2am--which is last call. 2am becomes 1am, one extra hour.

In the spring, clocks go forward--also at 2am. 2am becomes 3am, but the bar's closed at 2 anyway, so there's no change.

It's not a significant amount on a YOY basis, but it bumps your revenue numbers for the week. Partly because the more people drink the more they'll order, people tend to order extra for last call anyway, and "WOOOO EXTRA HOUR OF DRINKERING" gets people to cough up more. Similar effect happens here during the film festival, when a lot of bars get to stay open until 4am; I have anecdotal evidence (so, sure, there may be confirmation bias at play) that more money is made in the extra two hours than one normally makes. (There's also the confounding effect of late-night party circuits happening there but still.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:42 AM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is not universally the case.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:12 AM on October 27, 2014


I wish we would leave it at DST and then never change. I don't need light in the morning; all I'm doing is going to work anyway.
posted by spaltavian at 12:23 PM on October 27, 2014


Seriously, I would love to have DST. Fuck this thing with the sun rising at 4:00 a.m. in the summer. Who the hell does that benefit?
posted by Bugbread at 3:20 PM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Big Solar?
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:57 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of ambiguity there, which is why things were changed.

After I am appointed as the quidnunc kid's Minister for Time, I shall make simple-minded watches and clocks illegal and change it all back.

To start with, I'll have the SI second officially renamed as the "sec", a move akin to spelling the metric ton as "tonne", in order to free the traditional second from the straitjacket of being required to describe a precisely consistent time interval.

GPS time will replace UTC for scientific purposes, and it will be illegal on pain of imprisonment to store any timestamp in a format other than a single signed number representing secs since GPS epoch.

For personal, commercial and legal purposes, GPS-linked standard clocks will convert GPS time to a local second, minute, hour, day, month and year. No time or date specified in these traditional units will have any meaning without an assumed or accompanying set of GPS coordinates.

Making appointments with people more than a few hundred kilometres away will therefore require the proposed time to be qualified as "your time" or "my time", as is necessary already across time zone boundaries. Given the way human populations concentrate I wouldn't imagine most people will be inconvenienced much by this, while substantial numbers living near present-day time zone boundaries will actually be better off.

By default, standard clocks will use their own GPS-provided locations to do the conversion. The only adjustment provided by any standard clock will be an arbitrary choice of assumed location. Public use of clocks requiring other kinds of timing adjustment will invite the kind of opprobrium presently reserved for bestiality and paedophilia.

The GPS time to local time conversion will be done in such a way as to minimize variation in the duration of seconds, and keep every 86400-second interval as close as possible to 86400 secs, given the constraint that sunrise must always happen at 06:00:00 everywhere. The result: automatic continuous DST with no jetlag-inducing time steps, no time zone politics, and no leap seconds.

The philosophical notion of a "point in time" is to be abolished. A timestamp expressed to any given degree of precision will henceforth be taken as referring to the entire interval starting from and including the expressed time, and finishing before but not including the next greater time expressible using the same degree of precision. For example, 11:23am will specify the entire 60-second interval ending before 11:24am. This interpretation will also apply to times expressed in secs since epoch.

Following from that, midnight and noon will be taken as strictly synonymous with 00:00:00 and 12:00:00 in 24-hour format, or 12:00:00am and 12:00:00pm in 12-hour format; the previous point-in-time definitions for midnight and noon will mark the start of the intervals for the new interpretations.

Displaying or storing something purported to be a time in 24-hour format that has an hour component greater than 23 will result in the person responsible spending the interval from 00:00:00 to 23:59:59 (local market square time) locked in the stocks and pelted with rotten cabbages.

Vote #1 quidnunc kid! And tell him I sent you. We really need this gig.
posted by flabdablet at 2:16 AM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm all for DST and for eliminating non-DST time. I haaaaaaaaaaate it being pitch black dark at 4:30 or whatever and then I get out of work and I've literally wasted the entire day. I'm not super fond of being woken up by bright shiny sunlight way before I need to get up, either. (Not allowed to put up blackout curtains where I live.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:48 AM on October 28, 2014


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