[LEAPSECS] princes

Magnus Danielson magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org
Thu Oct 30 20:14:09 EDT 2008

Steve Allen wrote:

> On slashdot last month the discussion about the USNO poll on leap

> seconds in broadcast time signals degenerated into one largely about

> daylight time. On contributor pointed out something notable: Civil

> Time has always been the purview of princes. That poster did not

> mention Machiavelli, but I think that's very much the point.


> A year or so back Hugo Chavez simply announced that Venezuela's

> timezone would shift by half an hour starting the next week.

> A couple of years back some folks in the US Capitol proclaimed that we

> would save energy if we changed to and from daylight time on different

> dates, and since Sunday my VCR is off by an hour.

> In 1999 the parliaments of the Australian states decided that

> their daylight dates would shift because of the Olympics.

> In 2006 all of Indiana started using daylight time because

> the governor said so.

> In 1974 and 1975 I stood awaiting my school bus in the dark

> because congress decided that would save energy.

> In 1970 the CCIR decided that an agency headquartered in Paris would

> get to tell us all when to stop our clocks for a second.

> It goes back to 1901, when the whole world started to tell what time

> it was based on Simon Newcomb, which was about the time he himself was

> recanting what he said in 1884 while the French delegates were

> realizing that the POTUS and USDoS had called a conference that would

> railroad the world to choose Greenwich.


> Some of the princes are politically that, others are scientifically

> so, but really civil time under the dictate of princes goes back much

> farther than that. A coworker pointed out that the clock in his

> upstairs bathroom was always 5 minutes fast, but when he reset it to

> match the rest of the world both of the women in the house objected.


> Every one of us knows that in order for things to remain civil, it's

> imperative to listen to whoever has the authority to say "It's time

> for bed," and "It's time to get up." That's civil time.

In an old Swedish movie a famous actor gets the question "What time is
it?", he pulls up his sleve and looks, gets a new question: "Why do you
have three clocks". The answer is "One goes fast, one goes slow and one
doesn't go at all!".


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