Recurring Decimals…..

Everything here is irrelevant

Timing is everything

with 4 comments

In my previous post, I was bemoaning the loss of an hours worth of sleep due to the change to Daylight Savings Time. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, I can make up for that hour in October when we revert to standard time. But bitching about the biannual adjustmet of clocks seems to be as American as apple-pie. So much so, that some of the freedom-lovin’ people of the Hoosier state and the Grand Canyon State refused to have their sleep patterns disturbed by changing their clocks twice a year (Indiana has finally adopted a uniform time standard this year).
For more useless (but fun) trivia about daylight savings and such, do read this. And if anyone keeps complaining about time changes, they should remember this incident:

In September 1999, the Palestinian West Bank was on daylight saving time while Israel had just switched back to standard time. West Bank Palestinians prepared time bombs and smuggled them to Arab Israelis, who misunderstood the time on the bombs. As the bombs were being planted, they exploded—one hour too early—killing three terrorists instead of the intended victims—two busloads of people.

Anyway, seems like when it comes to agreeing on a time, the Sri Lankans just can’t seem to make up their mind: (from BBC)

Sri Lanka is a country divided not just by war, but also by time. Officially the country is six hours ahead of GMT. But in Tamil Tiger controlled areas, the time difference is five and a half hours ahead of GMT, the same as in India. Now that may change.

The proposal is to go back half an hour and follow the Indian Standard Time. There you go – half an hour of extra sleep. Nice ! But wait, seems like this will only be making up for the sleep lost ten years ago.

It will be Sri Lanka’s third official time change in 10 years and will take the country back to where it stood in 1996.

All this playing around with time also provides a simple explanantion for all of Sri Lanka’s political troubles, natural disasters and their failure to win the cricket World Cup since the 1996 triumph:

Some of the country’s Buddhist clergy are rejoicing …………

They believe a decade living in the “wrong” time has upset the country’s natural order with terrible effect.

The Venerable Gnanawimala says the change moved the country to a spiritual plane 500 miles east of where it should be.

“After this change I feel that many troubles have been caused to Sri Lanka. Tsunamis and other natural disasters have been taking place,” he says.

That’s it. Hmm….by this logic, the spritual plane for the USA must be waaaay off the radar (quick, someone call Pat Robertson)!

However, the most intriguing part comes towards the end of the article, when sci-fi author and the island’s most celebrated resident Arthur C Clarke weighs in with his opinion:

He has written to newspapers here saying it is foolish to return to a time zone half an hour out of step with GMT.

“We should be in line with the rest of the world,” he argues. “It’s very inconvenient if we’re not.

“If you’re trying to make international calls and you don’t know quite what the time is, it’s very inconvenient to you and to the person at the other end.”

I don’t get it – is he suggesting that Sri Lanka actually adopt GMT as the standard time ? Is the author who foresaw the whole satellite technology unable to perform simple addition and substraction?

Update: I forwarded the BBC story link to Amit Varma at 6.30pm, USA Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), and he blogged about it by 7pm EDT ! That’s 4.30 in the morning Indian Standard ! Just showing off that I can count and figure out world time zones (the fact that his blog post is time-stamped had nothing to do with it 😉 )


Written by BongoP'o'ndit

April 3, 2006 at 6:13 pm

Posted in Fun, Trivia

4 Responses

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  1. The question you should be asking Amit is what the heck was he doing at 4:30am… 🙂


    April 3, 2006 at 8:34 pm

  2. Patrix: Actually I was trying to make that point as well with the italics. Guess it didn’t come across.


    April 3, 2006 at 8:42 pm

  3. do you know that India is the only country in the world that follows a time zone that falls on a half hour. I cant find the actual source of the article where i read it. But i remember reading that some international body actually wanted India to change to a +5 or +6 Hr GMT.

    Also next year the US changes the day on which it switches back to Daylight Saving Time. And Eastern Indiana Time Zone is gone forever….

    more here


    April 4, 2006 at 1:53 am

  4. @Arzan: actually one of the Australian time zones is also on the half hour – as well as the extreme Northeastern part of Cananda. But you are right no country with a single timezone falls on the half hour – well Sri Lanka will join us soon !


    April 4, 2006 at 9:06 am

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