Joost Rekveld on Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:33:36 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> net.times, not swatch time

At the beginning of this century there was a lot of debate about a global
time-system. Before that every city had its local sun-time, which was
rendered obsolete by the advent of speedy railway connections. Because of
the expansion of the telegraph and railway networks time had to be unified
in some way or other and a lot of proposals were put forward: The French
wanted 24 timezones with the Paris meridian as zero point, The Germans
wanted 24 timezones with Berlin as zeropoint, and the British wanted 24
timezones with Greenwich as zeropoint. 

The British won, because they had the biggest empire, basically.
(The same reason why a list as nettime is in English, I suppose ??)

Also there was a certain Johannes C. Barolin, who proposed a
'hundertstundentag' (a day with a hundred hours) around 1914. It was very
much the same idea as Swatch in the sense that time should apparently be
made decimal. I even think he wanted one time for the whole of the world,
without timezones. 

>it's even worse than that: to blur that they stole the idea from
> (or was it the other way around ?) they claim

It seems they both invented an idea that existed all along...

>"Internet Time represents a completely new global concept of time: No Time
>Zones. No Geographical Borders. Swatch has divided the virtual and real
>day into 1000 "beats". One Swatch beat is the equivalent of 1 minute 26.4
>seconds. That means that 12 noon in the old time system is the equivalent
>of @500 Swatch beats."

I suppose this is their original text and it is funny that it is in fact
dead wrong: @500 swatch beats may be noon in biel, but without timezones
that means morning in Rotterdam or night in Hongkong. 

It seems their idea is even a bit too radical for their own copywriters ?
I think in the end the reason why global time without timezones did not
work (and will not work in the near future) is because it makes sense to
have a time which reflects human biorhythms. Time now is linked with light
and dark and that is very important. I only have to look out of my window
to feel that it is winter and gloomy and dark. One global time will only
work if a lot of people have a truly global perception: if in every minds'
eye there is an image of how the sunlight and shadow are distributed
around the globe. Or if people start living in space. That sort of thing. 

               Joost Rekveld

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