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Only a Matter of Time

November 1st, 2003 · No Comments

“The location of the Greenwich Meridian, that was decided arbitrarily, right?”

“I suppose. They put it there because our system of time or mapping or something like that was designed in Greenwich.”

“But if it was designed in, say, America or Russia, the ‘zero time’ could have been there?”

“I don’t see why not.”

“So, in a way, it’s a complete accident that the international date line happens to lie in the middle of an ocean, instead of, say, cutting inconveniently through a major country?”

(pause)

“Huh, I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

“See, if the equivalent of the Greenwich Meridian was in America or Russia, then the international date line could lie across several countries and you’d have the strange situation of being able to move back and forward a day just by going for a walk.”

“Okay. I think in reality they would have just bent the international date line – like they already do for other time zone boundaries – so it would run along an ocean or sea. Still very interesting though.”

Tags: history · science · spec

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