1655: "Doomsday Clock"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby CharlieP » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:43 am UTC

CharlieP wrote:In mine too. Aside from the practical consideration that it wouldn't be light until 09:23 (where I live) in December, the idea of being an hour off solar time all year round just fills me with mental panic. If you don't like DST, just get rid of it. If the sun sets too early for your liking, do things earlier. DST "works" because it shifts the summer bulge in the graph of sunlight right an hour to stop it getting wasted, but apart from that neat hack we should be working to the clock, not the other way around.


I've just read that again, and I don't think I was fully switched on when I wrote it. I shall try again.

I am very firmly attached to the idea of having clock noon match mean solar noon (at the Meridian, at least).

I understand how the Earth's axial tilt means there's less daylight in the winter and more in the summer. DST is a neat way of "fixing" this so as not to waste daylight when everybody's asleep, because it would be very hard to persuade everybody to change their daily routine, shop opening hours, broadcast schedules etc. instead.

But permanently offsetting time by an hour (either with DST or without) doesn't fix anything that couldn't have been fixed centuries ago by settling on a different daily schedule.
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

User avatar
Neil_Boekend
Posts: 3220
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:35 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:45 am UTC

CharlieP wrote:I am very firmly attached to the idea of having clock noon match mean solar noon (at the Meridian, at least).

Not to be cross, but why? What is the gain of having them match?
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 4060
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:55 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:
CharlieP wrote:I am very firmly attached to the idea of having clock noon match mean solar noon (at the Meridian, at least).

Not to be cross, but why? What is the gain of having them match?

Reasonably accurate sundials! They're the future! (Well, they are if the comic comes true, once the clouds clear.)

User avatar
orthogon
Posts: 3078
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 am UTC
Location: The Airy 1830 ellipsoid

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby orthogon » Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:09 pm UTC

CharlieP wrote:But permanently offsetting time by an hour (either with DST or without) doesn't fix anything that couldn't have been fixed centuries ago by settling on a different daily schedule.

I always assumed that the proposal to change to UTC+1/UTC+2 was intended primarily to put the UK in the same timezone as most of our EU partners, to make business easier. Being on the same timezone as a trade partner is helpful in that it avoids misunderstandings when scheduling meetings and phone conferences, but it doesn't necessarily mean that any particular aspects of the day, working or otherwise, are synchronised. Spain's rather inappropriate timezone has already been mentioned, but daily routines in Spain are somewhat adrift from those of northern Europe anyway, with shops closing in the afternoon and reopening in the evening, and 10.30pm being a typical if not rather early time to have dinner in a restaurant. (As I have learned to my cost, most restaurants in Amsterdam are closing for the night just as the first customers are arriving at their counterparts in Madrid).

I agree that CET is not a particularly appropriate timezone for the UK in isolation (and we may well be in isolation come 24th June). If we did change, I can envisage social effects acting to counteract the change: already a lot of people who have the choice work a 10-6 day and I expect a lot more people would start doing that once the first winter arrived. Eventually schools and shops might change their hours accordingly. What I could go for would be double summertime from, say, mid-May to mid-July.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

User avatar
Flumble
Yes Man
Posts: 2249
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Flumble » Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:43 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Neil_Boekend wrote:
CharlieP wrote:I am very firmly attached to the idea of having clock noon match mean solar noon (at the Meridian, at least).

Not to be cross, but why? What is the gain of having them match?

Reasonably accurate sundials! They're the future! (Well, they are if the comic comes true, once the clouds clear.)

For that you'd want to match to proper solar noon, not the mean one.
Even better, rotate the sundial such that it starts at 0 at sunrise every day. Sunrise is clearly the preferred time to start the day. You'll have to fight your employer (if any) about whether you should wake up at -1 and start working at 0 or wake up at 0 and start working at 1.

Nonetherewithstandregardless, TCG is the most sensible "universal" time-keeping scale we have right now. Its epoch is at some semi-arbitrary agreed-upon moment and it counts relativistic seconds.

User avatar
keithl
Posts: 660
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:46 pm UTC

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby keithl » Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:56 pm UTC

DST - there will be a ballot initiative here in Oregon to get rid of it by 2018.

The best reason is that Oregon's foreign trading partners are mostly in east Asia. China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea ... all use standard time, all year. In fact, all of China is one time zone, spanning 61 degrees of longitude, compared to 58 degrees for the continental US. If Oregon business schedules are more predictable in Asia, we will be a preferred point of contact for Pacific trade and international travel.

I like Cory Doctorow's novel "Eastern Standard Tribe", where globally-connected people living in 24-hour cities (like London or New York or Tokyo) synchronize their schedules to their friends and workmates, wherever they happen to be, and choose a standard timezone that matches. Though I live in Oregon, my schedule approximates GMT-10. At last count, my "tribe" is in 40+ countries around the globe, as defined by "places with friends whose sofas I can sleep on".

If the whole world connected this way, with tribes and affiliations scattered everywhere around the planet, then geographic nationalism vanishes, along with the possibility of geographically-focused weapons of mass destruction. Weapons of local destruction (car bombs, kidnappings, etc.) remain, hence I will not be staying with my friends in Kabul or Bagdhad anytime soon (neither use DST).

ps.02
Posts: 378
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:02 pm UTC

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby ps.02 » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:15 pm UTC

keithl wrote:If the whole world connected this way, with tribes and affiliations scattered everywhere around the planet, then geographic nationalism vanishes, along with the possibility of geographically-focused weapons of mass destruction.

I don't think this follows. Your al-Qaeda model did seem to be getting popular ... but I don't know that its members ever really lost their sense of geographic nationalism. And, well, now there's ISIS, which is all about geography. It doesn't seem to me that the one model competes with the other.

User avatar
Tualha
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:18 pm UTC

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Tualha » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:52 pm UTC

RogueCynic wrote:
Tualha wrote:Given the current ascendancy of unapologetic Trumpism in the largest nuclear power, this one might not be so funny in a few years.


Relax. The Demoncrats will NOT go along with Trump on anything and he has pissed off enough Repubicans so they will not back him either.


I said Trumpism, not Trump. He may or may not go to the White House, but the damage he's done to American political discourse, and the free-range Brownshirts he's given aid and comfort to, will remain either way. That would be scary anywhere; but when the nation he's pushing toward Fascism has thousands of nuclear warheads, it's scary everywhere.

"Demoncrats": typo or bon mot? :D

User avatar
dash
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 4:05 am UTC

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby dash » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:53 pm UTC

Finally, a good one again.
If my wife were a D&D character she'd be all 10's

User avatar
Lazy Tommy
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Lazy Tommy » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:39 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Being on the same timezone as a trade partner is helpful in that it avoids misunderstandings when scheduling meetings and phone conferences, but it doesn't necessarily mean that any particular aspects of the day, working or otherwise, are synchronised.

Indeed. Any attempt to pretend that daylight hours and schedules aren't different around the world is doomed to fail, because the geometry of the planet and its rotation just don't care what we want. Fortunately, though, it's really not that difficult to deal with time zones. At my job, I deal with people from various countries and in about half a dozen different time zones. After a while, you just know who is at work during which times, and should you ever have trouble with the mental arithmetic, things like the iOS World Clock make it super easy.

keithl wrote:In fact, all of China is one time zone, spanning 61 degrees of longitude, compared to 58 degrees for the continental US.

Do you think that's a good thing?
If every office worker in China works 9 to 5, that would mean some of them have to get up four hours earlier, solar time, than others. What you achieve is having the whole country on a synchronized schedule, but most of them out of sync with the natural diurnal rhythm. That makes for a miserable, unhealthy existence.

keithl wrote:I like Cory Doctorow's novel "Eastern Standard Tribe", where globally-connected people living in 24-hour cities (like London or New York or Tokyo) synchronize their schedules to their friends and workmates, wherever they happen to be, and choose a standard timezone that matches.

Sounds like a horrible dystopia to me, for the reason I mentioned above. Also, thank God, it's nowhere near reality. I don't know London very well and Tokyo not at all, but I can assure you that New York does sleep. As it should. :)

Mikeski
Posts: 1104
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:24 am UTC
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:42 am UTC

CharlieP wrote:
da Doctah wrote:(that's when we need an area larger than the football field, also a unit of length).

So what do you use for smaller units of length and/or height?

Smoots, of course.

For length, anyway. Measuring height in smoots seems strangely recursive.

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby CharlieP » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:03 am UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:
CharlieP wrote:I am very firmly attached to the idea of having clock noon match mean solar noon (at the Meridian, at least).

Not to be cross, but why? What is the gain of having them match?


Neatness.
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

User avatar
Neil_Boekend
Posts: 3220
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:35 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:21 am UTC

CharlieP wrote:
Neil_Boekend wrote:
CharlieP wrote:I am very firmly attached to the idea of having clock noon match mean solar noon (at the Meridian, at least).

Not to be cross, but why? What is the gain of having them match?


Neatness.

Ok. Well, my personal opinion is that the solar noon can be whenever as long as it doesn't jump around by an hour between one day and the next.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 4060
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:56 am UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:Ok. Well, my personal opinion is that the solar noon can be whenever as long as it doesn't jump around by an hour between one day and the next.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Willett
[In 1907] He suggested that the clocks should be advanced by 20 minutes at a time at 2 am on successive Sundays in April and be retarded by the same amount on Sundays in September.


(Hopefully worded so that four/five-Sunday Aprils and five/four-Sunday Septembers don't confuse matters. ;) )

User avatar
Neil_Boekend
Posts: 3220
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:35 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:54 pm UTC

Smaller steps would be better, so four steps is better than one. But for daily life I feel it is about as important as sidereal time.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 4060
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:20 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:Smaller steps would be better, so four steps is better than one. But for daily life I feel it is about as important as sidereal time.

Ultimately, the prior suggesting of setting Dawn as 'zero hour', throughout the year (or, for compatibility with current timekeeping practices, perhaps 6am1) would be even more gradual and natural.

So, we end up with LocalTime=UTC+fn(latitude,longitude,dayOfYear) - for function fn that I won't bother to write (and might also require a parameter relating to which point in the 28,000 year precession cycle you are!) with the reference location being either your very own specific location or whichever designated national(/regional) reference spot you intend to subscribe to.

And a sidereal version could be made, too, even if you're not too hot on it. ;)

.....

I had also been told, by those who had been around when British Summer Time was first proposed/used, that some strong voices against the implementation of our particular DST were (or were speaking 'on behalf of') dairy farmers who were concerned that the cows would get confused about what time their morning milking would be... Of course the cows would not be confused, they'd take their cue (as with the rest of the natural world) from the breaking of dawn and probably even then mostly by the 'general feeling' that they were to be milked, and it's always traditionally been the farmer's job to roughly match this dawn-based schedule, regardless of what timezone his human-world clocks happen to synchronise with.

I think it was said that the arguments were also reused in arguing against the WW2 adjustments to UK clocks (BDST/British Double Summer Time, and GMT+1 in winter) and other deviations from the previously established patterns (the Wilson government), on the basis that the cows (apparently used to the existing clock-switching from the previous years) would be confused by the change of the changes... Again, doesn't seem particularly well-thought-out. (And, again, I doubt any practical farmer ever thought too much about the issue.)

...

(And just because I'm thinking up ways of 'fixing' the situation, it doesn't mean I consider it to be 'broke' at the moment. Thought exercises only!)


1 Is midnight now strictly 18 hours afterwards? Is midnight strictly 6 hours beforehand? Or perhaps it's the midway between the two as the movement of dawn throughout the year drags each dawn-day a different rate across whichever (idealised) noon-day format you prefer. Hmmm... dawn's movement most quickens (second derivative?) towards the equinoxes (equinii?), to increase the disjoint between day-interfaces, and slows again towards each solstii. But in one half of the year the lengthening day with a yet longer day(/earlier absolute-dawn) afterwards would force an overlap and thus <24hrs each day, howsoever marked at start and end, and in the other half of the year the dragged-down day-length would feature the prior day's day-edge limits retreating from each other, to create >24hrs. Add in the minor eccentricity, thus changing rotational velocity, of Earth in its solar orbit and it might be more complex, yet, with up to four intersections (the two solstii, and two other 'reverse gradient' locations quite close to whichever solstice is 'overshot'?) where days are 24 hours, or at least the closest transitioning point in the immediate neighbourhood). And I'm also a bit unsure as to what the precise behaviour would be within the equatorial band within the Tropics, or (beyond the obvious, of course) past the Arctic/Antarctic circles.

User avatar
Neil_Boekend
Posts: 3220
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:35 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:54 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Neil_Boekend wrote:Smaller steps would be better, so four steps is better than one. But for daily life I feel it is about as important as sidereal time.

Ultimately, the prior suggesting of setting Dawn as 'zero hour', throughout the year (or, for compatibility with current timekeeping practices, perhaps 6am1) would be even more gradual and natural.

For my biological clock yes. Programmers will probably beat anyone who seriously proposes it over the head with a baseball bat. For the same reason that I would never seriously propose it.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 4060
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:05 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:For my biological clock yes. Programmers will probably beat anyone who seriously proposes it over the head with a baseball bat. For the same reason that I would never seriously propose it.

As a programmer of sorts1, I have absolutely no problem with it being proposed. I don't even obey the current time system as I should (I did something very like this before I was even aware of Randall Monroe's œuvre!), and it'd be entertaining. ;)

(Anyway, please excuse me. It's gone 3pm, I've just had my second breakfast and I'm just off out, while it's still sunny.)


1 And of pseudo-randomising algorithms, too!

User avatar
orthogon
Posts: 3078
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 am UTC
Location: The Airy 1830 ellipsoid

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby orthogon » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:13 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:[...] I've just had my second breakfast [...]

Aha! You're a hobbit!
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

DavidSh
Posts: 212
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:09 pm UTC

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby DavidSh » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:34 pm UTC

Before the advent of mechanical clocks, one option taken was to start the reckoning of hours at dawn, and divide the day into twelve hours, and the night also into twelve hours. An hour of day would equal an hour of night only at the equinoxes. It wasn't too hard to make sundials for these hours.

With mechanical clocks, this created a major complication, although the Japanese managed to handle it, in the period between their adoption of mechanical clocks and their decision to go to equal hours.

User avatar
Neil_Boekend
Posts: 3220
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:35 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:06 pm UTC

DavidSh wrote:Before the advent of mechanical clocks, one option taken was to start the reckoning of hours at dawn, and divide the day into twelve hours, and the night also into twelve hours. An hour of day would equal an hour of night only at the equinoxes. It wasn't too hard to make sundials for these hours.

With mechanical clocks, this created a major complication, although the Japanese managed to handle it, in the period between their adoption of mechanical clocks and their decision to go to equal hours.

I see one major problem: Cooking an egg would have taken more minutes in the winter than in the summer.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

ps.02
Posts: 378
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:02 pm UTC

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby ps.02 » Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:53 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:
DavidSh wrote:Before the advent of mechanical clocks

I see one major problem: Cooking an egg would have taken more minutes in the winter than in the summer.

What are these "minutes" of which you speak? Is there a fixed number of them in an hour?

User avatar
SuicideJunkie
Posts: 424
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:40 pm UTC

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby SuicideJunkie » Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:22 pm UTC

You can change the clocks, but you can't change the time.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10268
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby addams » Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:25 am UTC

U-Tube.
YouTube often explains things as well as xkcd explained.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTDhQZscMoE
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

Paradoxica
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:33 am UTC

Re: 1655: "Doomsday Clock"

Postby Paradoxica » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:46 pm UTC

The Moomin wrote:And now the Iron Maiden song 'Two minutes to midnight' makes sense.

The nuclear explosions are like lightbulbs going on over my head.


The new mind blown emoji just happens to retroactively encompass this perfectly.
GENERATION -705 - 992 i: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum. Square it, and then add i to the generation.


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 50 guests