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Do we really need time zones? An astrophysicist says they are silly!

Last Updated Feb 23, 2016 at 1:49 pm PST

(NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

NEWS 1130's Mike Lloyd is On the Offbeat, hearing from an expert who says it's high time to ditch time zones

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – So if it’s noon here, is it really 1:00 a.m. tomorrow in Australia?

A noted astrophysicist points out it is actually the exact same moment in time everywhere around the world and he suggests time zones are actually rather silly.

“It isn’t a different time in Australia! It’s exactly the same time here except the sun is in a different position. So it’s simply crazy to have clocks that are different from one place to another,” says Richard “Dick” Henry, a physics and astronomy professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a former Deputy Director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division.

He wants the entire globe to go by a single, universal time to cut down on confusion and make communication, travel and trade easier over international boundaries.

“If we switched over to use of Universal Time — which happens to be the time in London, England — everybody would get used to it quick enough.”

The move would also eliminate Daylight Saving Time.

“There are a lot of times I’ve been driving to the airport and I’ve asked myself if we are on summer time or not,” he tells NEWS 1130.

“What time zone am I in now? What time is it on the West Coast? With conference calls, people don’t know what time to call in. If we go on Universal Time there will never be a mistake again.”

Henry admits the concept is a hard sell for some people, but he insists we would all eventually get used to a single Universal Time.

“I don’t see a downside to it but, if you read the comments after any newspaper story, it’s amazing how people can object to absolutely anything… and in the most vociferous way!” he laughs.

“The fact of the matter is, local time zones would still exist, but they would now be ‘work zones’ where you’d work from so many hours to so many hours. It would be different all around the world.”

As you ponder the idea over what would become your 3pm breakfast or a maybe midnight coffee break, you might wonder about how we would deal with the International Date Line. Would it still be tomorrow on the other side?

“There is a psychological thing. If you happen to live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the date would change right in the middle of the day. Well so what? You can still sip your martini,” he chuckles.

Proving it’s still always wine o’clock somewhere?