Most people would be happy to dispense with this oddity of timekeeping, first imposed in Germany 100 years ago. But we can do better. We need to deep-six not just daylight saving time, but the whole jerry-rigged scheme of time zones that has ruled the world’s clocks for the last century and a half.... Let us all — wherever and whenever — live on what the world’s timekeepers call Coordinated Universal Time, or U.T.C. (though “earth time” might be less presumptuous). When it’s noon in Greenwich, Britain, let it be 12 everywhere.Writing in MNN on the day of the time change last year, I made the same case, but noted that there are alternatives to UTC. I also noted that we have to change the way we do dates as well: As we switch out of daylight saving time, let's admit it — the way we keep times and dates is a ridiculous mess. Last week I missed a phone call to Belgium because the guy on the other end got the zones wrong. A few years back, I ruined a family vacation because I booked a 2 March start as Canadians do, 2/3/2013, where the hotel booked it as Feb. 3 as Americans do, 2/3/2013. In two weeks, I am on a ridiculous 6 a.m. flight because I got the a.m. and p.m. wrong when I bought my ticket. Coincidentally, in 1876, Canadian engineer Sandford Fleming missed a train because he arrived at 6 p.m. for a 6 a.m. departure. He then proposed Cosmic Time, a 24-hour clock for the entire world — one time for everyone, irrespective of meridian. When that idea got rejected, he developed the idea of Universal Standard Time with 24 time zones, and he became known as the Father of Standard Time. Almost a 150 years later, it seems that he was right the first time. Twenty-four hour clocks make a lot more sense than the North American use of a.m. and p.m., day/month/year makes more sense than month/day/year, (though year/month/day makes more sense than either) but what we really need is Sanford’s Cosmic Time, where everyone on the planet is following the same time. In fact, in the 21st Century we need an entirely new way of looking at time, from the way we divide minutes and hours to the way we write our days, months and years.
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