Stuff You Should Know: One Global Time Zone and Permanent Calendar

Calendar

In place of the usual Friday FunLink and since it’s been exactly a month since I’ve offered a Stuff You Should Know post, I’m shifting gears today.

A short while ago I saw an interesting article today in the Washington Post entitled “The Radical Plan to Destroy Time Zones.” It fits into the category of the SYSK feature because Johns Hopkins professors Hanke and Henry are seeking to implement this unification of global time as well as a permanent calendar (see above for a screen shot of it) on January 1, 2018.

The WaPo interview doesn’t quite flesh out the day to day changes that a single time would require except to observe:

While it may ultimately simplify our lives, the concept would require some big changes to the way we think about time. As the clocks would still be based around the Coordinated Universal Time (the successor to Greenwich Mean Time that runs through Southeast London) most people in the world would have to change the way they consider their schedules. In Washington, for example, that means we’d have to get used to rising around noon and eating dinner at 1 in the morning. (Okay, perhaps that’s not that big a change for some people.)

One of the first shifts would be to go completely to 24 hour time as “am” and “pm” would just be confusing. With this in place, the mind-shift would take time (pun intended) but it wouldn’t be impossible. To translate the example above, our rising time would be about 1200 (6am) with dinner time 13 hours later at 100 (7pm) and bed time 3 hours after this at 400 (10pm). Most digital watches can already be set to show 24 hour time and adding a second set of numbers to analog clocks is commonly done as well. Clocks would still run at the same rate with the only shift at 0000 UTC on 1 Jan 2018 in which every clock in the world would jump simultaneously to 0000. Back end tech work would have to be done on computer clocks, but we already showed something similar could be achieved a decade and a half ago with the Y2K fix.

As the proponents in the article note:

I (Henry) recall when my elderly mother in Canada said to me, oh, it was hot today, 30 degrees! If she could change [from measuring temperature in Fahrenheit to measuring it in Celsius], everyone can change!

Yeah, we tried that Imperial to Metric switch back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s and how did that work out for the U.S.? Yet, ambitious people with websites keep trying…

The proposal for a new calendar, dubbed the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar has it’s own Wikipedia page, running example of the new time/date, and articles in Live Science and Wired dating back to the end of 2011. And since the proponents acknowledge that there isn’t any world governing body to implement these changes, this massive (but sensible) shift would have to come through a global on-line/social media campaign. So, here I am doing my part.

Two advantages that I see – no more Friday the 13th ever again and my birthday (Jan 20th) would always fall on a Friday (yes, bummer to all of those whose birthdays would forever fall on a Monday!).

And a disadvantage for some – Halloween would have to be moved to a different date as 31 October would cease to exist. This is not as hard as one might think as we already regularly do it here in Central Ohio – to the bewilderment and ridicule of even people like Stephen Colbert:

 

The 30 Most Iconic Images in Space Travel History

Space Photo 1

Last Sunday was the Super Moon with the full lunar eclipse. Here, it was sadly too overcast to see it when it reached the peak at about 10:15 pm. It was a good occasion for me to post a video of the moon moving in front of the earth. 

This Sunday, in addition to being the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, is the anniversary of the first satellite launch in 1957. It was Sputnik, launched by the Soviets, and the opening salvo of the space race.

To remember that historic day, I share this eye-popping article from Time which displays the 30 most iconic images (in their opinion) in space travel history. It’s worth a few minutes of your time to enjoy some famous firsts as well as extraordinary views of the universe we call home.

My three favorites are:

The photo above – The First Photo of the Earth, 1966; On Aug. 23, 1966, the world received its first view of Earth taken by the Lunar Orbiter I from the vicinity of the Moon.

Space Photo 2

Saturn, 1973 Pioneer 11, launched by NASA on 6th April 1973, returned the first close-up pictures of the ringed planet Saturn.

Space Photo 3

Mars Rover Selfie, 2015; NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover captures a selfie to mark a full Martian year — 687 Earth days — spent exploring the Red Planet.

Washing Dishes Is A Really Great Stress Reliever

Washing Dishes

OK, it’s Sunday night (ugh!) And of course I worked much this weekend, but didn’t get as much grading, planning, etc done as I wanted to do.

As I was getting ready to head downstairs to do my Sunday night task – folding laundry – and my every night task – washing dishes – I came across an encouraging article about the value of what I’m about to do.

Time Magazine offers a brief, yet insightful article about a study which showed that washing dishes can be a great stress reliever – if you do it mindfully. I like the reading excerpt which the researchers had one group of subjects read:

While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes. This means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly. Why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.

After the group which read this excerpt, washed dishes and then responded with higher levels of inspiration and lower levels of nervousness, it lead the study authors to conclude:

“It appears that an everyday activity approached with intentionality and awareness may enhance the state of mindfulness,”

I’ve written on this blog previously about the many benefits of mindful meditation. And I have many more articles to share and reflections to offer on what I’ve discovered regarding the benefits of it. But, I can’t share these now — I have dishes to do and laundry to fold!

6 Must Have Back to School Apps

Here Comes the Bus

You’ve likely noticed that I like sharing lists of educational apps and websites.  There’s been these types of lists from the early days of this blog and I’ll be posting some new ones soon.  Most of these come from blogs and publications geared specifically to educators.

When general publications, such as the venerable Time Magazine, list “must have” educational apps, I’m especially interested.  Lists like this one give valuable insight into what the “media taste makers” deem as important.

Here’s what Time thinks American parents and students need for Back to School 2015:

Brainscape

DuoLingo

EasyBib

iHomework

Khan Academy

Here Comes the Bus

Note: I’ve not hyperlinked these apps as the Time article does this for iOS and Android versions.

The last app made my eyebrows rise as it sounds like a great pacifier for over anxious parents like me who wonder “where’s the bus?”

Here’s their promotional video:

March Madness at School, Eight Apps to Follow It & Other Brackets to Play

Aviary Photo_130713436606561306

OK. I really, really enjoy March Madness.  The four days starting yesterday are some of the most exciting and intense sporting days on the entire calendar.  Numerous concurrent match-ups, close & thrilling games with surprise upsets, and a national mania about “bracketology” unmatched by any other event.

Yes, productivity plunges during this time as office workers and high school students alike sneak glances (or entire class periods) to view scores and find out how their personal bracket is holding up.  Yesterday afternoon, a student passed me in the hall and enthusiastically let me know “UAB is winning!”  I’m not so familiar with the tournament that I could immediately know that he meant Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham (14 seed) was on the verge of upsetting Iowa State ( 3 seed).

Do I think schools should do everything possible to keep students away from getting info on March Madness during these unique school days?  No, because even though we block ESPN.com on the students’ iPads, there are no shortage of other ways for them learn scores and even “live cast” games.  Nor do I take the other perspective and think teachers should incorporate it into their lesson planning.

I think it’s a diversionary, fleeting moment of fun which only comes around once a year.  And besides, it helps break up a long, still-chilly month about which Garrison Keillor once said: “March is the month that God designed to show those who don’t drink what a hangover is like.”

And yes, if you want to follow the Madness with your devices (instead of jumping on a browser), here’s the link to the list provided by Time.

OVERTIME: If you don’t like NCAA Men’s Basketball, but you do like brackets, here’s a couple of other options underway:

Saints Madness 2015

Build-a-Bear Bracket Challenge

Aviary Photo_130713437133339162

 

UPDATE: Here’s one more interesting bracket that I found in the Washington Post.  It takes common pairs, e.g. peanut butter and jelly and splits them up on either side of the bracket.  The idea is we’ll see which one makes it furthest and is therefore the most important of the two.