Time Zones, Toothpaste & Routers
Time Zones – the very word sends the eyes into shutdown. The posture shifts from attention to a bean-bag slouch. Eyes still open shift their attention to the blank white wall. The hands close & end up in pockets. System shutdown is almost complete. Mention toothpaste, or routers and the system reboots, because ANYTHING has to be more interesting than time zones! Right? Wrong. Read on.
It has become well known history that time zones began back in the 1880s with the onset of commercial railways. North America and Canada are to blame. In 1850 there were no official time zones. It was only when a Canadian, Sandford Fleming, missed an important train because of time zone confusion. This apparently inspired him because he envisaged the idea of time zones, which are with us to this day.
Sanford Fleming was an amazing & visionary man. His accomplishments in creating & influencing the technology of his world are astonishing. Among his considerable array of contributions to the world, was his proposal to slice up the world into 24 time zones. Despite having his proposal for time zones continually rejected at scientific conferences, the world still liked time zones, & by 1930 the entire planet was under 24 time zones.
Time zones are only as good as is the replication of time. In the 1870’s not only were toasters rare, but most of the internet was missing! Added to these difficulties, very few towns or cities on any continent had telegraph, & telegraph was the only means of relaying time between great distances. In the late 1800’s Sir Sanford proposed & pushed for the British government to connect the entire British Empire by telegraph submarine cable (a reasonable request). And for not the last time, a government listened to Sir Sanford. By 1902, the entire British Empire was electronically connected by submarine telegraph cable, making it technologically the most advanced empire of the time.
Time Zones VS Daylight Savings
People sometimes get time zones confused with daylight savings. Time zones are longtitudinal & rigid, while daylight savings zones are local to & controlled by the governments of political boundaries, & are therefore often changed. The United States has nine time zones, and all states start and stop daylight savings at about the same local time. For this reason, daylight savings can be seen as being latitudinal, while time zones can be seen as longitudinal. Many areas of the world do not participate in DST, which, obviously, leaves more for the rest of us! While some of the United States do not participate in daylight savings, most of the others probably do, but there are apparently no signs of ensuing civil war. Of interest is that many equatorial countries do not participate in DST. Could this be something put into the water? We’ll never really know until hangar-52 is opened!
In 1884 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was established as the world’s standard time reference. In 1972 UTC became the official world time standard, though countries, commerce & people continued to use GMT for many years. With the arrival of the internet, UTC firmly established itself as the one and official world time reference standard. UTC is quite complex and includes leap-seconds. UTC time is based on Atomic Time. This is not the same as atomic thyme potato chips. Where time used to be difficult to obtain accurately, microsecond accuracy is now available via satellite, & is only able to be accurate because of UTC.
UTC is not a time zone, but it is a very precise time keeper, time specification & the worlds master time reference clock. UTTP’s Universal World Time (UWT) is a time zone, but is also not a time keeper. Universal World Time, like all other Time zones, references against UTC. The UTTP Time zone is signified by UTZ (Universal Time Zone) & is the newest significant time proposal in the world at the moment. UTTP Time is not based on Geographical or political boundary, because it is vying to be recognized as the new global time zone. UTTP Time is still only a proposal, even though it is currently active as a global time zone.
Time zones, toothpaste & routers are three things that we all need daily, but we rarely give them thought. We use them because they are there, & they are essential. But this equation has changed, because we don’t have to think about time zones anymore, which leaves toothpaste & routers as the topics of the day!