-00:00 on draft-newman-datetime-00.txt

Alex Livingston alex at agsm.unsw.edu.au
Mon Jan 6 08:45:51 UTC 1997

Robert Elz writes:

>    Date:        Thu, 02 Jan 1997 21:46:47 -0500
>    From:        kuhn at cs.purdue.edu ("Markus G. Kuhn")
>    Message-ID:  <199701030246.VAA09620 at ector.cs.purdue.edu>


>    We go even one step further and remove the redundant minute offset digits.
>The minutes offset is certainly not redundant.   I find it hard to
>believe that anyone who knows anything about time zones can believe
>that.  In Australia right now there are two different time zones
>that are not even hours.  +1030 and +0930.   There are two only
>because the former (further south) has summer time (it isn't
>daylight saving time in Aust, it is Summer Time) and the northern
>section (which gets close to the equator, and well into the tropics)

Acutally, there are no fewer than *four* off-the-hour time "zones" in effect in Australian territory at the moment. Besides the two mentioned above, there is Cocos Islands time (+06:30) and Norfolk Island time (+11:30). When daylight saving is not in effect, there are still four, as, absurdly, Lord Howe Island (east of NSW) changes from +11:00 to +10:30. 

>There are also half hour offsets in India, and other places.

Besides those already mentioned there is Burma (+06:30), Afganistan (+04:30), Iran (+03:30), Sri Lanka (+06:30, an hour ahead of India, but only since very recently), island of Newfoundland (-03:30/-01:30, if it's true that double summer time is used there), Marquesas Islands (-09:30), Pitcairn and some other islands in the south Pacific (-08:30). There are also two quarter-hour (or should one say "three-quarter-hour") time-zone offsets in effect: Nepal (+05:45) and Chatham Islands (+12:45/+13:45), east of New Zealand. However, over the last half century or so there has, thankfully, been a general reduction in the number of off-hour time zones in use in the world.


>That might not need a lookup table, but it is ambiguous, and
>much much worse.   You certainly wouldn't have got 19970103
>as that's horrid for humans to parse, and unknown in the US
>(and generally here as well, if that matters).

19970103 is only difficult for humans to parse because of the lack of separators. I cannot believe that implementing this obviously superior and consistent ordering of numeric date specifications is harder to understand than the two other orderings in common use. Several countries already use it, e.g. Sweden, Hungary and China (and, I believe, until it was corrupted by the US, Japan). If fact I think it could and should be made a worldwide standard. Just think how much confusion would be avoided, and in how much better an order things labeled with dates would sort into.


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