It’s Time To Get Rid Of Time Zones


Time zones are antiquated nuisance and we don’t need them anymore. Yes, at one time they made sense. Back when people didn’t move around much and we lacked mass-communication, time zones made it so there was a consistency to what times corresponded to morning, noon and night. They made things just a tiny bit better.

Now days, though, time zones just make scheduling meetings with people across the country annoying and prone to error. “Wait, are we meeting at 2:00 your time or my time?” And then add a third or fourth person from a third or fourth time zone and the mess just compounds upon itself in an admittedly trivial, but annoying way nonetheless.

The history of time zones sounds like some quaint artifact of the British Empire. In short, Greenwich Mean Time was developed in Britain in 1675 to help mariners and then in 1879, some Knighted Canadian dude by the name of Sanford Fleming proposed a worldwide system of time zones and by 1929 every major country had adopted them. It’s quite boring, so if you’re a weirdo and interested in such things, see here for more detail.

Regardless, Sanford Fleming has made a mess of conference calls. And he made traveling even worse. A two hour flight sets me ahead four hours. My cell phone automatically updates, my alarm clock doesn’t, my new computer does, my old computer doesn’t. These trivial headaches add up to one giant, trivial migraine.

And let’s not forget Daylights Savings. Yes it saves some daylight, but you would think we can find another way to save daylight and adjust our schedules without artificially changing the time. Furthermore, it adds even more temporal confusion. For example, Arizona has decided to just go ahead and not observe it. So basically, half of the year Arizona is on Mountain Time and half of the year it’s on Pacific Time. “When is our conference call again?”

Indeed, the actual borders of time zones themselves are a zig-zaggish, jagged mess and not the purely straight, latitudesque lines that the propagandists of time zones want you to believe they are. For example, points out one such example of this inconsequential madness,

“Follow Interstate 64 out of Louisville, Kentucky, heading west. A fictional driver replicating this route would do fine up to now, motoring down a highway happily on Eastern Time. He would cross the Ohio River at Louisville, enter Indiana, and then proceeds another 44 miles (71 km) to the border between Crawford Co. and Perry Co. This point would mark a transition between Eastern Time and Central Time. No worries. Our driver would make a mental adjustment and be on his way. However in quick succession — over the next 15 minutes — he would travel back into Eastern Time (Dubois Co.) then into Central Time (Spencer Co.) then into Eastern Time (Dubois Co.) and finally back into Central Time (Spencer Co.) due to a series of I-64 undulations.”

I remind you, this driver is going east to west, not north or south.

Now, does this all border on the irrelevant? Of course it does. But hey, some guy overslept, another gal almost missed her last final in college, some guy had to deal with a computer full of hundreds of appointments scheduled two hours off and the real problems of the world are just so much more challenging to solve.

So yes, it’s nice to have the same hours everywhere you go so you can wake up between 6:00 to 8:00 am and go to sleep between 10:00 and 12:00 pm. But even those advantages are questionable. Why, after all, aren’t the hours it’s dark set for either am or pm and the hours it’s light set for the other? Why don’t we wake up around the beginning of the day and change 6:00 to 12:00? You know what, why the Hell do we have am and pm anyways? It goes to 12:00 and then starts over, goes to 12:00 again and that’s all in one day? That’s almost as stupid as me taking the time to write this article in first place!

Regardless, the trivial gains of time zones are not worth the trivial costs. The world would be an infinitesimally little bit better of a place to live without them, so let’s just go ahead and get rid of time zones.