Culture: Time Zone
World Time   (+10, -2)  [vote for, against]
Count the number of hours after New Year.

There have been many attempts to rationalise the different time zones on the earth. The Victorians tried to get everyone to use GMT. Swatch have tried to move the Meridian to Berne using their system of 'Internet Beats'. All attemts I've seen so far are flawed. I'll explain why.

If we took GMT/UST (Greenwich Mean Time, otherwise known as Universal Standard Time) as our world time we'd have midnight happening around about lunchtime in one of the Australian states. I could live with that. What I couldn't cope with is going to lunch on Tuesday and coming back to work on Wednesday having only had an hour for lunch.

Instead what we should have for our World Time is a system that starts from the changeover of years. I don't mind whose new year we take but I'll use the Gregorian Calendar as an example. New year 2002 would be zero hour. Number every hour in the year from there and reset the counter next year. Easy.

Every time zone keeps their own time. Every country keeps their daylight saving time. You'd just print this World Time down the edge of paper organisers and build it into electronic ones.

If you want to arrange an online meeting or teleconference you just look up the World Time and arrange the meeting then.

Posted at 2002.255.45

<pedant_prevention>Before anyone declares this baked I'm going to want to see a system based on hours from New Year and not a daily system like all the other attempts</pedant_prevention>
-- st3f, Jan 11 2002

How UNIX time works
More than you probably care to know about how UNIX (and DOS and Windows NT) time work. [mwburden, Jan 11 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Are you familiar with the way Unix internally measures time?
-- Aristotle, Jan 11 2002

<wide_eyed_innocence>No, why? </wide_eyed_innocence>
-- st3f, Jan 11 2002

[PeterSealy] With all due respect, I think you missed [st3f]'s point.

Using GMT/UST for everyone solves that issue. This idea solves the problem of going to lunch on Wednesday and coming back on Thursday (by way of no longer referring to days by name).
-- mwburden, Jan 11 2002

Exactly, mwburden. Choose an event to trigger the start of the year of world time then 8760ish hours later do it again. You could absorb leap-years into the timing scheme so that zero hour will be in different time zones in different years. I'd recommend keeping it a whole number of hours, though, so that you can translate between different time zones easily.
-- st3f, Jan 11 2002

[st3f] UNIX represents the date/time as the number of seconds that have elapsed since January 1, 1970, 00:00.

Because most UNIX-Like OSs currently store the value as a 32 bit signed integer, we've got until January 19th, 2038 to upgrade to 64 bit architechtures, which will likely be enough to count seconds until the universe collapses (or expands until the whole universe is just a few degrees above absolute zero, depending on whether you believe the "open" or "closed" theory).
-- mwburden, Jan 11 2002

If you're still using conventional time for normal purposes, and only using this as some special format that's not intended to be directly comprehensible for communication between time-zones, why can't you just use GMT/UTC, Unix second-counting, or any arbitrary number system that already exists?

Give us reasons to use this.
-- pottedstu, Jan 11 2002

Simply switching to GMT standard doesn't address the problem that [st3f] is trying to resolve (Universal time without having the date change during the day), but the UNIX time thing is almost exactly like what was asked for...
-- mwburden, Jan 11 2002

Excellent, pottedstu - a sensible question.

The reason for not using GMT/UTC is the day changeover. You have the confusion of simultaneous events taking place on different days in different countries and get the day changing at unusual times. GMT works for the seasoned international conference organiser who is capable so thinking in six time-zones but is too confusing for other mortals.

The reason for not using UNIX counting is that the number gets too large for easy human use. It's (quick mental calculation) somewhere between eight and ten digits long, isn't it? There are under 9000 hours in a year so it's easy to call a meeting at 7838.30 rather that 246765856.

The reasons for using this are:
•easy communication between time zones.
•Easy arrangement of long term interantional meetins where you don't have to know who's on summer and winter time.
•electronic diaries that don't get confused when you change time zone.
•log-files and email headers that are both machine and human readable.
•human-readable log files that don't record the same hour twice when switching from summer to winter time.
•is relevant to all time zones as it makes no reference to day, night or the transition of one day to another.
•is relevant to space travel since it makes no reference to day or night.

I know that some of these are solved by other systems no other system discussed here solves all of them.
-- st3f, Jan 11 2002

So in a nutshell, you're eliminating the representation of days and months in the date format. This looks like stardates in Trek.
-- waugsqueke, Jan 11 2002

Interesting idea (ripped from the Scifi channel) that can be generated by the earth orbit passing above or below the solar meridian, as in the passing of the season.

Most useful, I suppose, when considering time in the absence of observable periods such as night/day, shortening/lengthening days, or idiosyncratic pacing schedules like daylight saving time. When asked how many seconds in a year, Forest Gump said, "Twelve, the second of January, the second of February, … the second of December."
-- reensure, Jan 12 2002

//Are you familiar with the way Unix internally measures time?//

Yeah, but in Unix will the reported timestamp of every file change by an hour when daylight savings time kicks in?
-- supercat, Jan 12 2002

When will you start measuring the hours from? Will it be the kiribati time zone 10:30 GMT, or 12:00GMT or 12:00EST or CET or what? This idea is redundant. GMT has been standard for ages, and nobody's had the trouble you describe because everybody's been in their own time zones. There is no need for this idea.
-- [ sctld ], Jan 12 2002

[supercat] UNIX keeps track of time internally in GMT without DST changes. When you ask UNIX for the date and time, it converts to local time and applies DST if applicable.
-- mwburden, Jan 12 2002

PeterSealy, [ sctld ]: It will make your brains hurt less if you start World Time from a common event. Sorry I didn't put in a pedant_prevention to this effect. For the sake of argument and for the purposes of this post World Time starts every year the the stroke of midnight starting a New Year as seen from GMT.
[ sctld ]: I guess you've never tried to arrange a teleconference across three time-zones or tried to travel between time zones with an electronic organiser trying to keep your schedule in order.
waugs: This is intended to be a parallel system to local time. Days and months will still exist in local calendars as before. And yes, it rather does, doesn't it.
reensure: What did the SciFi channel do? It may be relevant.
Steve DeGroof: I'll be there (3pm, 22nd November my time).
Unabubba: Sounds horrible. I hope that your tongue was lodged firmly in your cheek for that anno. This system does not use days so that it is more internationally usable.
-- st3f, Jan 12 2002

This doesn't really solve the 'problem'. All you're doing is replacing GMT with your arbitrary set of numbers. It will still be noon here and midnight there, whether you call it 'noon' and 'midnight' or '7830.05'.

People in Australia are still going to be asleep when it's daylight in America, so you'll still have the same problem with scheduling, just won't have time-zones and it'll be even harder to figure out where someone is.

This has been tried before, so it has to be called baked; you yourself mention the most egregious example, 'Swatch Time'.
-- StarChaser, Jan 12 2002

st3f, putting everything into world time would be pointless. It would be llike changing pounds into euro and then into dollars. Do you see the wasted step?
-- [ sctld ], Jan 12 2002

It reduces the problem (going to lunch one day and coming back the next) by a factor of 365, but there is still one case each year, where you go to lunch one year [2016.8783.59], and risk coming back a whole year later [2017.0001.01] (assuming a lunch of one hour and 2 minutes messing about with coats) this could be far more worrying, especially to those who are on a diet.
-- zen_tom, Apr 25 2016

This is all well and good, but it overlooks the fact that time was invented by the English and does, in actual fact, begin at Greenwich. It's rather like foreign currencies, which only have meaning relative to the pound sterling.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 26 2016

-- MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 26 2016

You misspelled "French"
-- Voice, Apr 28 2016

random, halfbakery