FW: date line

Robert Elz kre at munnari.OZ.AU
Thu Jan 8 05:23:38 UTC 1998

    Date:        Wed, 7 Jan 1998 19:06:53 -0800
    From:        Paul Eggert <eggert at twinsun.com>
    Message-ID:  <199801080306.TAA01506 at shade.twinsun.com>

  | The International Date Line isn't a fixed international standard;
  | it's just a cartographer's convenience.

To amplify Paul's response - the only way the "date line" could run
through land would be if some country, or countries with a common land
border, decided to run their clocks 24 hours apart.   This would cause
such civil disruption (can you imagine if on one side of the street they
were selling the Saturday newspapers, while on the other side they're selling
Friday's ?? - and they're both current editions).  People already complain
when there's an hour difference as you cross the street (or river or

Excluding that kind of absurdity (which is unavoidable in antartica, but
there aren't enough people there to care - and I doubt the penguins know about
date lines) any piece of land is all going to be running with timezones
quite close together, and usually approximately related to solar time,
with noon being when the sun is overhead.

Out in the middle of the Pacific ocean, it is largely arbitrary which day
an island is going to prefer to be in, and tends to relate more to which
other countries they're more closely affiliated with (if in the Americas,
they're likely to prefer being -1200, if with Asia/Australasia they're likely
to prefer +1200).

  |    I heard on the CBC that some islands moved it to intersect their
  |    cities, is this true?
  | This is news to me.

It would be truly ludicrous.

  | The Wall St Journal (1996-01-22, page 1) reported that Cuba is
  | considering jumping across the International Date Line, just so that
  | it's the first into the year 2000.  So it's possible you'll have to
  | adjust your travel plans.

Of course, if they do, some pacific island will simply move another 24 hours
ahead, and get there even sooner.

Why anyone would care though whether they're first or last to year 2000?
This seems tobe so monumentally weird to me that its hard to understand.

But if you're that keen, and have a boat that can go way out to sea, which
it seems that you do, then I think in international waters you can decide
for yourself what your local timezone is, so if you're that keen to be first,
sail out next weekend, set your clocks forward 2 years worth of daylight 
saving, and you've achieved it.    If you want to do it without "cheating"
in any way, then being on a boat will probably not be what you want, you
probably want to be in New Zealand, or one of the similar southern islands,
their normal +1200, with an extra hour's summer time in summer (which it
is in December/January) means that they run +1300, so they're going to be
in 2000 a year ahead of anyone running a natural timezone.


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