Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The US Used to Have Hundreds of Time Zones?

It is fascinating how technology impacts us on a cultural level. I especially find the history of time zones interesting. Today, we take for granted that computers and phones keep accurate time down to the second. It's now simple for computers to keep precise time since they all maintain universal coordinated time (UTC), sometimes referred to as Greenwich Mean Time. Basically, every computer maintains one time, UTC, and then offsets it based on the local time zone.

Hundreds of Time Zones

Two hundred years ago, America had hundreds of time zones. As odd as that sounds, it makes sense since noon was when the sun was at its zenith in a given location. High noon in Boston might be seven minutes earlier than New York which might be three minutes earlier than Philadelphia. Having hundreds of time zones wasn't an issue since these cities weren't connected until the railroads needed to run on time schedules.

PS – For the record, it's daylight saving time, not daylight savings time. We're saving daylight by moving it to the end of the day. We're not saving daylight like money in a savings account. :^D

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