1179: "ISO 8601"

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Ekaros
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Ekaros » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:08 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
Diadem wrote:Yes, days will have different length depending latitude and time of the year. Makes sense, doesn't it?


I don't see how days stopping being a unit of time is useful.


Month long days can be bit problematic in my opinion.


I'm strong advocate of just moving to some sensible system with sensible epoch and forgot the time unit based on unperfect gravity based systems.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby mikrit » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:10 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:
commodorejohn wrote:Then there's "Central European Time", which is the time in western Europe, not central Europe, and may or may not take account of daylight saving.


Seems like it goes right through the middle of Europe to me: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/Timezones2008_UTC%2B1_gray.png/800px-Timezones2008_UTC%2B1_gray.png

It's just that Spain, France, and Benelux are tacked on for convenience.

But Europe goes all the way to the Ural Mountains. It's just EU that doesn't.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby peewee_RotA » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:16 pm UTC

I propose harnessing the energy put into keystrokes, mousemoves, and clicks. In order to convert human energy to electrical energy we just discuss calendar dates on this forum. We can measure that energy output in number of forum pages per day.

Right now we're at about a 3.6 Fpg/D energy rating. By the end of the day that should jump to 6, a significant increase, but not nearly as significant as the jump between Tuesday and Wednesday.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Red Hal » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:51 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:Needs to be standard in all reference frames, otherwise it's not going to cut it, I'm afraid.

According to phlip, this was posted 02/13/23, 02:21:38


All reference frames? That's a tall order.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby drachefly » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:59 pm UTC

C'tol wrote:
Confusion wrote:
silverpie wrote:
drachefly wrote:Today is clearly 2013-chaos-58.


Nice try, but it would be 847-chaos-58.


You are both wrong.
Today is Pungenday, the 58th day of Chaos in the YOLD 3179 according to the Discordian calendar, which I would assume would be written 3179-1-58 if you would follow the guidelines in ISO 8601.
Unfortunately (or not, as that would mess things up) I do not think ISO 8601 covers other calendars than Discordian calendar but a standard covering other calendars also would most likely require some kind of marker to not confuse them, just like ISO 8601 have for week dates (today is 2013-W9-27 in that format).
C'tol wrote:What about 58/01/3179? Or is it 3179/01/58?

... I think 01/58/3179 is much better...


Yep, my `ddate` reported the same...

I see now. I had not noticed the page between 00052 and 00053. I find this slightly suspicious, as I cannot even refer to the page in proper accordance with the second commandment.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Oktalist » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:00 pm UTC

Spoe wrote:
keithl wrote:Boy, you earthlings will be in big trouble when Y10K hits. At the exponential rate you are stockpiling information, recomputing the rollover from 9999-12-31 to 10000-01-01 will vaporize your planet.

Not so much. ISO defines 4 digit years as a minimum length. It allows for longer years.

You still have to add leading zeroes to all your old dates to maintain proper sorting.

EvanED wrote:It's hard enough to convince programmers that "10 - foo" should sort after "2 - foo" :-).

If it's hard to convince a programmer of something, then it probably wasn't a good idea to begin with. :)

gmalivuk wrote:Are there any groups of people who have a written language but who don't know the decimal system?

If you mean the Arabic numerals then yes, loads. Like the Romans. Or did you mean, that exist right now?
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby adamgo » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:18 pm UTC

I loved this comic, it's a pet peeve of mine that we have an abundance of confusing date formats.

I loved it so much I later decided to order a few t-shirts to show support! That's when I died a little on the inside.

Thank you for placing your order with the xkcd store!

This email is to confirm your recent order.

Date 02/27/2013

[...]

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby maqist » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:34 pm UTC

Given all the confusion over which epoch to start counting from I prefer to refer to dates and time in seconds since my own birth. Now is the 874,124,500th second of my era.

OTOH I was taught to write dates and time as yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm:ss while studying for my Ham Radio licence about half my lifetime ago, it was only relatively recently (in the past 50 or so megaseconds) that I discovered that there was an ISO standard that required me to change some of my separators.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby orthogon » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:28 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:Then there's "Central European Time", which is the time in western Europe, not central Europe, and may or may not take account of daylight saving.


Seems like it goes right through the middle of Europe to me: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/Timezones2008_UTC%2B1_gray.png/800px-Timezones2008_UTC%2B1_gray.png

It's just that Spain, France, and Benelux are tacked on for convenience.


I see what you mean. Growing up during the Cold War played permanent havoc with my concept of where West becomes East in Europe (there was no "Central" back then, unless perhaps it referred to the divided Germany!); and I had forgotten (it's been too long since I went to the Czech Republic!) that you use CET and that EET doesn't start until Romania.

Still, there is the issue of CET vs CEST: CET ought to mean whichever of CEWT (I made that up) and CEST applies at the given date. However, it's unfortunate that Europe uses "S" to mean "summer" whereas North America uses "S" to mean "standard", i.e. winter. So, like ISO8601 we need a new pair of letters that nobody currently uses and which will annoye/puzzle everyone in equal measure.

Then what if some country decides to have double summer time? (That article was an eye-opener for me. GMT+0120 achieved in four twenty-minute steps? It's amazing what you can get people to agree to when there's a war on.)
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby ToadofSteel » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:57 pm UTC

The funny thing is I inadvertently use iso 8601 to date video files, so that I can use "sort alphabetically" to also sort by date. Patching it would disrupt my workflow :P

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby sztupy » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:06 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
sztupy wrote:I've never understood why DD/MM/YYYY is logical in any way


Read this thread.


Yes, I've read it, and I do understand some of the points, but as someone who was raised with the YYYY.MM.DD. system, anything not this seems very much illogical to me.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby tetsujin » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:16 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:Yes, it would be nice if software sorted correctly given DD-MM-YYYY or MM-DD-YYYY. But... it doesn't. Nautilus doesn't, Windows explorer doesn't, ls doesn't. I'd be surprised if any remotely-commonly used file tool did. (The most likely one would be Finder, but I don't have a Mac to try.)

It's hard enough to convince programmers that "10 - foo" should sort after "2 - foo" :-)


There's a very basic, very important problem there - and that is that there's nothing in the file name or directory structure which explicitly specifies that the "10" in "10 - foo" is a sorting field. It's a mildly irritating problem for those numeric sorting rules - it would be a much larger problem if one attempted to expand the rules to cover date stamps in file names.

Usually that strategy works out alright - you get "Episode_2" before "Episode_10" as you would hope. The problem comes from cases where the file names contain some numeric characters but you actually don't want the numeric sorting rules triggered. Then, suddenly, the files don't appear where you expect to find them. (I actually did hit a case like this - I think it was in a directory full of files related to Gundam and mecha modeling. I had some photos of model kits, prefixed with their scale, like "1_20_Scopedog.jpeg" and some prefixed with the series they came from, like "0080_zeon.ai" - and some prefixed with other numeric data, like "21C_" as a prefix meaning "21st century"... Numeric sorting rules just make a mess out of that sort of thing, because of all those cases where I have a number at the beginning of the file name, none of them represent the same thing.)

To put it another way - you get the benefit of sorting the way users expect in certain very common cases, but the system produces garbage in cases where a numeric field in the same position may have different meanings. I would argue it's better to choose a simple rule that consistently meets the expectations of users familiar with it, rather than a clever rule that doesn't. Though I think it's also valid to argue that if you become accustomed to the numeric sorting rules, you name your files with this rule in mind to take advantage of it, and avoid those kinds of issues - the user adjusts their behavior to the environment they're used to.

To extend the same rule for dates, the obvious problem is, how can you be sure that a "field" you've picked out of a file name really is a date stamp? It could just be numeric file name characters formatted in such a way that it happens to look like a date. And how do you know which field is the month? You can't rely on the file names matching the machine's locale settings because the file names may have come from another machine (downloaded files of one kind or another). If you don't make it explicit somehow, that that range of characters is a date field (and identify which field is which) you risk sorting things in a way the user doesn't expect, which would in turn make it harder to find the file of interest in a list.

(That's one of the things I really like about Chinese characters - If you see "5月13日" - that's pretty unambiguous... And yet, still very compact.)

The long-term solution, I expect, is to rely more heavily upon metadata other than the file name to obtain sorting fields. We see this happening already - a list of MP3 files in Windows explorer will show ID3 information, and you can sort according to those fields, ignoring the file names entirely... or iPhoto-like collections of photos, in which things are organized by the thumbnail and the age of the file and the tags applied to it, and the user doesn't even care what the file name is. As people become more accustomed to this style of dealing with files, the practice of relying on "clever" file name sorting will gradually fade into obscurity.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby mikrit » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:28 pm UTC

But what's the right syntax for latitude and longitude values?
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby bmonk » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:57 pm UTC

Ekaros wrote:
Diadem wrote:Clearly we need to redesign dates entirely.

My suggestion: Days start when the sun comes up, and end when the next day starts. So 3 o'clock shall always mean 3 hours after the sun came up. There shall be 13 months of exactly 28 days each. Dates shall be giving DD-MM-YYYY. The year shall start at the exact moment that the sun is in its northern solstice - regardless of when this falls in the day. This particular day where the year changes shall be counted as part of the new year, and dated 00-00-xxxx. On most years, this spare days shall conveniently fall immediately after 28-13-xxxx, making the calendar add up nicely. Approximately once every 4 years though, the new year shall fall 2 days after 28-13, giving one spare day. This day shall be known as 'leap day' (written down LD-YYYY) and shall be a national day of reflection, where humanity shall reflect upon the stupidity of the creator for not giving the year an integer number of days.

This system is perfect. Not only will dates finally make sense, but so will times!


Just one question is this one done on certain spot on earth? Or locally, if locally what about northern and southern regions where there is possibility that sun doesn't come up or go down and also there is certain drift of sun coming up and going down as such days would be different length?


Worse: we'd be back to the good old days of every locale having its own time, and then some. Because of the "drift" of the Sun over seasons to the north and south, even local times would vary in their differential in seasons. Well, say, New York, NY, and Eureka, CA, would remain the same time apart, about 3h 20m, because they are on the same latitude. However, I expect that on a few days (near the equinoxes), Toronto, ON would have the same time as Miami, FL, but the rest of the year, Toronto days would start substantially earlier or later.

You would have to tell every clock its position, and keep updating that position, to reflect the local time. And make the clock computerized to keep track of the length of that particular day at that season and latitude.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:58 pm UTC

Oktalist wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Are there any groups of people who have a written language but who don't know the decimal system?
If you mean the Arabic numerals then yes, loads. Like the Romans. Or did you mean, that exist right now?
Yes, I mean now, as in people who might be affected by current international standards.

Which is why I used the present tense instead of the present perfect.

Also, no, I don't mean the Arabic numerals, I mean the decimal system, which is why I used "decimal system" instead of "Arabic numerals".
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby bmonk » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:16 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:gmalivuk: "Are there any groups of people who have a written language but who don't know the decimal system?"
Oktalist: "If you mean the Arabic numerals then yes, loads. Like the Romans. Or did you mean, that exist right now?"
Yes, I mean now, as in people who might be affected by current international standards.

Which is why I used the present tense instead of the present perfect.

Also, no, I don't mean the Arabic numerals, I mean the decimal system, which is why I used "decimal system" instead of "Arabic numerals".

Still not sure, but some non-decimal systems still exist: "A small residue of counting schemes that cannot be classed as quinary, decimal, or vigesimal are found in Northern Yukian, Salinan, and Chumash (Appendix D: 3, 9, 6, and 7). In all three language groups the count is by fours, either straighforwardly quaternary (based on four, in Salinan and Chumash) or octonary (based on eight, in Northern Yukian). Counting by fours apparently had its origin in an old practice, attested ethnographically among the Yuki (Kroeber 1925:878-879), of counting sticks held between the fingers rather than counting the fingers themselves." (from Paleoglot) Given the region (California), I'd suspect they are very familiar with decimal systems too. And it would be likely that the systems are no longer in use, perhaps dying out a century ago.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby addams » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:29 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Oktalist wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Are there any groups of people who have a written language but who don't know the decimal system?
If you mean the Arabic numerals then yes, loads. Like the Romans. Or did you mean, that exist right now?
Yes, I mean now, as in people who might be affected by current international standards.

Which is why I used the present tense instead of the present perfect.

Also, no, I don't mean the Arabic numerals, I mean the decimal system, which is why I used "decimal system" instead of "Arabic numerals".


What are you asking?
Is there a written language that does not have Math? Maybe. Maybe, not.

Is there a Math that does not use fives and tens?

Spoiler:
I have no idea.
What about the eight thing? Or the Binary thing?
Who would not be effected by international standards?

The Americans? Early Twenty-first century Americans?
So? Most are like Math Majors without any Math skills.
Like the 500 pound Gorilla. It will do as it pleases, with little concern for your way of counting things out.

The Indians in Peru are like that, too.
So are the Indians in the Mexican mountains.

The indians I knew believed in Math, but they did not do it.
Like me.
Maybe they did it in private. There is a whole lot about people I do not know.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby MrScience » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:06 pm UTC

ISO 8601 is so very helpful when you're closing out a bunch of tabs for a system reboot. Or if you have OCD/ADD and can't bring yourself to close the 50 tabs because you "might want to read them later".

For each window open, you just 'Save Tabs as Group' with a folder name of 2013-02-28. All tabs for all windows will go to the same folder. Or you can append a topic, or letter a/b/c/etc to the end. Either way, the folders will now be sorted properly over all time. I never go back to read them all, but they are there if I need them. In 2010-06-18, for example, I was digging the Streamgraph visualization and Processing.org

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Klear » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:20 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:Then there's "Central European Time", which is the time in western Europe, not central Europe, and may or may not take account of daylight saving.


Seems like it goes right through the middle of Europe to me: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/Timezones2008_UTC%2B1_gray.png/800px-Timezones2008_UTC%2B1_gray.png

It's just that Spain, France, and Benelux are tacked on for convenience.


I see what you mean. Growing up during the Cold War played permanent havoc with my concept of where West becomes East in Europe (there was no "Central" back then, unless perhaps it referred to the divided Germany!); and I had forgotten (it's been too long since I went to the Czech Republic!) that you use CET and that EET doesn't start until Romania.


I was kinda surprised to see you imply Czech Republic is in western Europe, since we're in the middle of CET and we were definitely a part of the eastern bloc. It is kinda confusing though.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:06 am UTC

Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Klear wrote:
orthogon wrote:Then there's "Central European Time", which is the time in western Europe, not central Europe, and may or may not take account of daylight saving.


Seems like it goes right through the middle of Europe to me: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/Timezones2008_UTC%2B1_gray.png/800px-Timezones2008_UTC%2B1_gray.png

It's just that Spain, France, and Benelux are tacked on for convenience.


I see what you mean. Growing up during the Cold War played permanent havoc with my concept of where West becomes East in Europe (there was no "Central" back then, unless perhaps it referred to the divided Germany!); and I had forgotten (it's been too long since I went to the Czech Republic!) that you use CET and that EET doesn't start until Romania.


I was kinda surprised to see you imply Czech Republic is in western Europe, since we're in the middle of CET and we were definitely a part of the eastern bloc. It is kinda confusing though.

I'm curious to hear other people's take on what constitutes western/central/eastern Europe.

As a Californian looking way back across the eastern horizon at the situation, my perception of "western Europe" has always been the rough England-France-Spain area; "central Europe" around the axis between Germany and Italy; and "eastern Europe" as anything between Greece and Poland or further east. (When much younger, I was scarcely away of anything east of Germany and Italy and thought of them as "eastern" in contrast with the England-France-and-Spain western Europe).
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby zjxs » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:52 am UTC

Star Trek Into Darkness will be released on 2013-05-15 in large format theaters in the USA.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Diadem » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:00 am UTC

The definition is not hard, and pretty universal: Western Europe is anything that belonged the the Western block during the cold war, and Eastern Europe is anything that belonged to the Eastern block during the cold war.

Finland, Sweden, Denmark, West-Germany, Austria, Italy and Greece form the border of Western-Europe. Finland and Greece are considerably further to the east than Eastern Germany or the Czech Republic, but they are still part of Western Europe, because they part of the Western sphere of influence.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby yurell » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:05 am UTC

I've never heard Greece referred to as part of Western Europe, tbh, and I usually hear Germany, Italy etc. referred to as 'central Europe' rather than Western.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Diadem » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:14 am UTC

Like I said, the definition is based on the cold war.

There as perhaps, in the last 2 decades, been some gradual shift in the definition of the term. Though it's probably more an abandonment of the term than a shift in meaning. The distinction between West and East Europe is getting less and less relevant. Still though, gradual shift or not, the cold-war definition is still far and away the most used one.

Then there's people who count, for example, Spain not as Western Europe but as Southern Europe. Similarly Iceland is Northern Europe not Western Europe. That seems silly to me. "West" and "South" are not mutually exclusive. Spain is in Southern Europe and Western Europe.

I've never heard anyone claim that Germany is not Western Europe. Heck, it's pretty much the defining country of Western Europe.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby ysth » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:30 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Days start when the sun comes up, and end when the next day starts. So 3 o'clock shall always mean 3 hours after the sun came up.

This system is perfect. Not only will dates finally make sense, but so will times!


Oh, my. So if I am a kilometer west of you, my time is different?

Not to mention, do you take sunrise/set as hypothetical numbers based on a sea-level observer and sea-level horizon, or does altitude of the observer, or worse yet, actual skyline shape matter? Do you assume light travels straight from the sun to the observer or account for refraction by the atmosphere?
Last edited by ysth on Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:41 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby adaviel » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:35 am UTC

When I lived in the UK in the 1970's everyone wrote little-endian dates like 2/3/75 for March 2nd. Then when I moved to Canada I found the Japanese write big-endian and the US was just confused. So I started writing the month out 2 Feb 84 like DEC RSX. After the millenium 01/03/02 just seemed crazy so I used 2 Feb 2001 like DEC VMS or later ISO8601.
I still can't parse a full 2008-05-11T15:30:00-0700 in Gnu "date" :(

I often write 3-letter months or ISO across MM/DD/YY boxes on paper forms

(did I post this already ? Got confused here with the forum asking it I wanted to change my mind)

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:35 am UTC

Diadem wrote:[Germany]'s pretty much the defining country of Western Europe.

In what way exactly?
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby EvanED » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:55 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I'm curious to hear other people's take on what constitutes western/central/eastern Europe.
Germany, for me, is very firmly planted in the Western Europe camp; before this discussion it probably wouldn't have occurred to me that people would not put it there. I would say Western is Germany/Switzerland/France/probably Italy and west, Eastern is Poland/Czech Republic/Austria/Slovinia and east. "Central" Europe is actually a somewhat strange notion to my ear, to be honest. I don't really know what I'd call Central Europe.

Since there was discussion on the influence of the Cold War on those boundaries, in case any one is taking notes I was born before the Berlin wall fell but not terribly long before. We were learning about the breakup of the USSR in early elementary. So stuff like East/West Germany doesn't really enter my consciousness; Germany is, well, Germany rather than the unification of two halves. This probably plays a lot into my placement of Germany into the Western camp, relative to someone who was born 5 or 10 years before me.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Klear » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:03 am UTC

EvanED wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I'm curious to hear other people's take on what constitutes western/central/eastern Europe.
Germany, for me, is very firmly planted in the Western Europe camp; before this discussion it probably wouldn't have occurred to me that people would not put it there. I would say Western is Germany/Switzerland/France/probably Italy and west, Eastern is Poland/Czech Republic/Austria/Slovinia and east. "Central" Europe is actually a somewhat strange notion to my ear, to be honest. I don't really know what I'd call Central Europe.


Central Europe is what we like to call ourselves in Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia etc. to not be lumped up with eastern Europe.

Eastern/western Europe has always been a political distinction more than geographical, so the the meaning of the terms obviously shifted after the dissolution of USSR, and since the situation is no longer so polarized between two extremes, now we get to have a central Europe as well.

BTW, I recently realized that I've been confused most of my life because the communist USSR in the east had leftist politics and the west was right - which is sadly opposite to how they are situated.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby EvanED » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:13 am UTC

Klear wrote:Eastern/western Europe has always been a political distinction more than geographical, so the the meaning of the terms obviously shifted after the dissolution of USSR, and since the situation is no longer so polarized between two extremes, now we get to have a central Europe as well.
I actually wonder if that's part of why that sounds strange. Like what you call Central Europe used to be Eastern Europe, and today's Eastern Europe just used to be the USSR, and even though I'm young enough that the East/West Germany thing doesn't really play in, the new terms hadn't quite taken hold yet and I got stuck with the old ones. :-)

I also sort of wonder if a similar thing happened with Central America. That concept is normal and has been since I was a kid, but I sorta got the impression as a kid that the idea of separating Central America from North America (as opposed to continuing North America down through Panama) may have been a somewhat new one at the time we were learning it, as I am pretty sure I saw a number of maps that just had North/South. Or I could just be totally wrong. :-)

BTW, I recently realized that I've been confused most of my life because the communist USSR in the east had leftist politics and the west was right - which is sadly opposite to how they are situated.
East/West over in Europe used to give me a somewhat of a problem. (It still does; I sometimes have to take a moment to consciously think which way is East and West.) I realized what it was after a while: my mind was subconsciously thinking of "East" as "toward the Atlantic" and "West" as "toward the Pacific", so I would get confused by why my immediate intuition about which direction was which was backward.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby TortoiseWrath » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:14 am UTC

THIS.

That will be all.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Don Calvus » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:17 am UTC

EvanED wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I'm curious to hear other people's take on what constitutes western/central/eastern Europe.
Germany, for me, is very firmly planted in the Western Europe camp; before this discussion it probably wouldn't have occurred to me that people would not put it there.

You people all seem to forget there were two Germanies once. A West and East one...

Now the distinction is pointless and is almost never used in the present. There's no such thing as Western Europe. There is such a thing as "ex-Eastern Europe" though, which is, as was said, the former Communist block.

I would say Western is Germany/Switzerland/France/probably Italy and west, Eastern is Poland/Czech Republic/Austria/Slovinia and east. "Central" Europe is actually a somewhat strange notion to my ear, to be honest. I don't really know what I'd call Central Europe.


Central Europe is definitely an existing (and strong) concept, including or based on the former Austro-Hungarian empire, of course. Thomas Bernhard, Thomas Mann, etc. are all perfect examples of Central European writers. To me, Austria clearly qualifies as Central Europe, more so than Hungary because Hungary did shift to the Eastern block ;)


Since there was discussion on the influence of the Cold War on those boundaries, in case any one is taking notes I was born before the Berlin wall fell but not terribly long before. We were learning about the breakup of the USSR in early elementary. So stuff like East/West Germany doesn't really enter my consciousness; Germany is, well, Germany rather than the unification of two halves. This probably plays a lot into my placement of Germany into the Western camp, relative to someone who was born 5 or 10 years before me.


And it clearly makes sense. As a capitalistic country which worships finance, as do the US of A (talking about the government policy here, obviously, don't want to start a war), Germany is a Western country. But in Berlin, you still talk about East and West. Not geographically, but as former zones of political influence.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Fire Brns » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:19 am UTC

Semi-politically defined.
Central: Germany, Poland and anything landlocked but not Serbia.
West Anything not already defined as Central and west of Finland and Italy.
East: Everything else.

It is weird now that I look and see Finland ultimately reaches further east than Poland. Hmm...I might switch that to Sweden.

I have the unfortunate occurrence of seeing Europe in a North/South fashion. I blame Axis and Allies mostly because of Spain and Sweden being neutral.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby speising » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:15 am UTC

in our company, we call all the other countries we are operating in "CE". even romania, which is just plain wrong. maybe a PC thing.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby orthogon » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:13 am UTC

I read in some style guide or other that it's all about capitalization. With caps, "Eastern Europe" is a thing, generally the former Eastern Bloc, whereas "eastern Europe" is simply a matter of longitude and is not so clearly defined.

Similarly, Australia an Japan are arguably "Western" countries in the DonCalvusian sense, but not "western".

[Edit: Corrected spelling of DonCalvusian]
Last edited by orthogon on Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:56 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Klear » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:21 am UTC

Don Calvus wrote:Now the distinction is pointless and is almost never used in the present. There's no such thing as Western Europe. There is such a thing as "ex-Eastern Europe" though, which is, as was said, the former Communist block.


Of course it is used, at least here. Western Europe are the countries to the west of us, and are thought to be well developed nations. Eastern Europe are those to the East, not-so-well developed.

As for the difficulties with Finland, Greece, Italy etc., that's what the terms Scandinavia and southern Europe come in.

I admit that this kind of separation is probably based on Czech Republic being pretty much in the middle from all sides.

speising wrote:in our company, we call all the other countries we are operating in "CE". even romania, which is just plain wrong. maybe a PC thing.


Yeah, I suppose nobody wants to be included in eastern Europe. It would be interesting to see how the perception of the boundaries of these parts of Europe changes depending on where your respondents live.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby zae » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:39 am UTC

EvanED wrote:I also sort of wonder if a similar thing happened with Central America. That concept is normal and has been since I was a kid, but I sorta got the impression as a kid that the idea of separating Central America from North America (as opposed to continuing North America down through Panama) may have been a somewhat new one at the time we were learning it, as I am pretty sure I saw a number of maps that just had North/South. Or I could just be totally wrong. :-)


Central America is southern North America.

Then there's also Latin America, which is South America + Latin America.

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby Klear » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:44 am UTC

That reminds me of this:

Image

Also, somebody will probably point out soon that the picture is wrong and simplified...

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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby yurell » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:55 am UTC

Not all of Scotland, Wales and England are part of Great Britain — they all have islands that aren't part of the main landmass. Can't speak for the rest, though!
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Re: 1179: "ISO 8601"

Postby brenok » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:32 pm UTC

What? "British Islands" is different from "British Isles"? These guys must be crazy.


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