The case against time zones: They're impractical & outdated
And yet we make it out of bed in the morning. The aggravation is illustrated:
If the whole world used a single GMT-based time, schedules would still vary. In general most people would sleep when it's dark out and work when it's light out. So at 23:00, most of London would be at home or in bed and most of Los Angeles would be at the office. But of course London's bartenders would probably be at work while some shift workers in LA would be grabbing a nap. The difference from today is that if you were putting together a London-LA conference call at 21:00 there'd be only one possible interpretation of the proposal. A flight that leaves New York at 14:00 and lands in Paris at 20:00 is a six-hour flight, with no need to keep track of time zones. If your appointment is in El Paso at 11:30 you don't need to remember that it's in a different time zone than the rest of Texas.
Hmm - no thoughts on that baffling "International Date Line"? Surely that should be poart of a comprehensive solution. Of course, scheduling international flights and arranging multi-zonal conference calls are what my kids call "First World problems". And even my Sarcasm Detector (Old Fogey edition circa 1960) lights up when they say it.
So, a factoid I like far too much to check - 90 percent of the people on Earth will die within ten miles of where they were born, kind of like Matt's latest idea. I don't think the farmers in Afghanistan or merchants in Somalia actually give much thought to Matt Yglesias' schdeduling challenges, and, maybe we are a poorer planet because of it. But seeing as how the tide of international cooperation seems to at a bit of an ebb just now, I doubt any international body will convene to laugh this idea out of the room.
And that's too bad - watching John Kerry's Undersecretary of Stupid make this pitch would be YouTube gold. And I have to believe some Minister of Malaise would rise up to denounce this transparent attempt at Western cultural hegemony. After which Obama could agree to base the standard time around Beijing, and we can have fun watching him explain that to the rubes in the hinterlands bitterly clinging to their TV Guide schedules. No, really, "Good Morning America" is coming on at 7 PM - get over it.
Hmm - I find myself warming to the notion. Someone will have to rewrite "After Midnight" and reshoot "Nine to Five", and somehow we have to get my mom to quit saying "Nothing good happens after 2 AM", but comedy isn't free.