Eliminate time zones, while we're at it

Someone just edited the Wikipedia article on Swatch Internet Time to add a link to this TechRepublic article from from last year. The article doesn't say anything new, but it does talk about the problems with time zones and Daylight Saving Time that Internet Time was supposed to solve, which happens to be apropos to the DST post I wrote yesterday.

This reminded me of a story that was in the news recently, probably because of leap day and editors were searching for something relevant to publish, since there was nothing new about it. It was reported by the Washington Post, Discovery News, the Independent, and others as a plan to eliminate time zones. Long-time followers of this site know that there is nothing new about this idea; Swatch had it two decades ago, and many others before that. 

This time it's something called "Hanke-Henry Date and Time", which itself has been around for quite a while. Their website looks like it was it was made around the turn of the century. In fact, it dates back at least to 2005, although it has been updated since then. Their big plan is for everyone to use Universal Time. That's it! 

They also have a reformed calendar, which is basically just the Gregorian calendar with leap weeks added so that dates fall on the same day of the week every year, and the number of days per month is a repeating pattern of 30, 30, 31, so most years have 364 days, and leap years 371, every 5 or 6 years.

Of course, such a proposal has major problems, like any calendar reform proposal. (Feel free to point them out in the comments.) And it is not very original. There are many such proposals out there. I guess this one got more attention because the authors, Steve Hanke and Dick Henry, have some serious credentials. But apparently it only became news because Hanke called the Post, not the other way around.

The original date the world would adopt this system was originally January 1, 2012 (55927.0). Then it was 2017 (58119.0), but I guess that there's not enough time for that. Now we're looking at 2018 (58484.0), so get ready!

22:46 UTC
MJD 57461.949


  1. Almost every year (around the day when DST starts) there are bills proposed here and there to modify time zones, suspend DST or have it year long. And they of course fail most of the time. =P

    Since most of the US is in UTC -8, -7, -6 and -5 in STD and in UTC -7, -6, -5 and -4... I wonder if having the entire country move into UTC -6 year long would be something that people could accept more easily. Nobody would be more than one our away from one of their current time offsets during the year, it at least standardizes time nationally and there are large countries that do this already (like China). =P

    It would be a small step towards moving to UTC, but at least simplifies things a lot. =P

    Oh well, but since realistically it won't happen anytime soon, I guess the best option is still just to promote the use of UTC as an additional notation whenever possible. =P

    1. First, there was true or apparent time, which is measured by sundials. Then came mean time, which was measured by clocks, but still local. Then came standard time, when those clocks all became synchronized, up to a half-hour earlier or later than local time (or more). Eventually came DST, which moved the clock another hour away from true time. There have been proposals for double DST, or year-round DST. A few years ago, someone proposed having only two time zones in lower 48 states. Would having a single time everywhere be that much more abstract?

      Of course, it would be inconvenient for those who lived where the date changed during daylight, and 24-hour time is so ingrained that there would be resistance to the clocks being that much different from the sun. But this is the decimal time site, so while we're at it, we might as well abandon 24 hours just for global time. Then people can keep using their local sun-time based on 24, and something like Julian dates for global communication, without the two getting mixed up. In fact, astronomers do this already.

      MJD 57490.187