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Programming Note

Tomorrow is Susan Butcher Day in Alaska which signals the start of the Iditarod, but all they are going to do tomorrow is hold a parade. The real race begins on Sunday at 2PM [AKDT] which is 5PM [Central DAYLIGHT SAVINGS Time].

Yes, under the new benighted system, Daylight Savings Time starts at 2AM Sunday morning, which instantly becomes 3AM. You lose an hour of sleep.

We have some kin dropping by for the weekend, if they ever get here. I was supposed to be picking them up right about now, as a matter of fact, but their plane to Atlanta was late, while the plane from Atlanta left early. That’s the sort of planning that results in the current economy. They have been told they will be on a later plane, and I didn’t want to bum them out with the truth that “later plane” is a rather indefinite guarantee.

Weekend blogging will be spotty.


1 Badtux { 03.06.09 at 8:32 pm }

Ah yes, time. China, of course, does not change to DST, meaning that my 5PM meetings with China will start at 6PM now. Another interesting thing about China is that the entire nation is one big time zone. Apparently one day Chairman Mao picked up the phone to talk to a colleague in Western China and found that the man had not yet come to work for the day because it was three hours before dawn there. Irate, he decreed that Western China would be in the same time zone as Eastern China dagnab it, and people would just have to go to work at a 9AM that was three hours before dawn! And what the Chairman decreed, so it was. So the roosters haven’t crowed yet and people in Western China are dragging themselves out of bed to their dank little village offices just in case some mandarin from Eastern China decides to check up on them. As a French expatriate in China said to me once, shrugging about this unpleasant fact of Chinese existence, “who in Beijing cares about Western China?” Indeed. That’s the problem when you’re ruled by a gerontocracy, the leadership mostly is indifferent to such mere mortal concerns since they’re primarily looking at whether they’ll be immortalized once they die, which they know is coming shortly. So it goes…

– Badtux the Timely Penguin

2 Kryten42 { 03.06.09 at 11:07 pm }

Ahhh yes! Connecting services! LOL The public transport *system* (laughingly) here is the same, especially peak *hour* (which is generally actually peak 2.5 hours or more). If you have a connecting train or bus service, you can bet it will leave anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes before you arrive. I often watch an irate (generally mid-aged female) traveler who had to wait a half hour or so for the connecting bus service berate the driver. Usually the driver just shrugs or ignores them, now and then one will say something like “Look lady, I have my own timetable, and I’m on time. I don’t care what time the train get’s here, it’s not my problem. Take it up with management or the Government.” You generally see a few smiles. The met rail service is especially chaotic given that there are usually several cancellations or delayed services on any given day, and when the temp is above the mid-30’s, there are hundreds. I don’t think I’ve been on a train that arrived on time in a decade here. And buses are generally late thanks to some idiot on the road, or some signal failure. *shrug*

True about China, as I learned on a business trip all over many years ago. 🙂

3 LadyMin { 03.06.09 at 11:23 pm }

I didn’t know that about China. But I can see how the Chinese leaders would feel that it’s better for the people to be in sync with each other than with sunrise and sunset. I bet a lot of little villages run on unofficial local time though.

LadyMin´s last blog post..A Hint of Spring

4 Bryan { 03.06.09 at 11:29 pm }

The Chinese sound a lot like the government of Florida. We have two time zones, but no one in state government seems aware of it. They set up appointments and public meetings in Tallahassee for places in the Panhandle and can’t figure out why no one shows up. As near as I can tell, the Mountain Time zone is totally ignored by everyone.

You would think that the fact that both legs of the flight were with the same airline, they would call ahead and let the departing flight know that two of their passengers were delayed, but I assume that since they oversell all flights, they don’t care.

They finally arrived an hour and a half late when the second flight was delayed. What a fun time.

I understand the unique problem of trains, i.e. there is no alternate route and a delay at one point ripples immediately though the entire system for every train that has to pass that point. With buses they should just say flat out that all times are approximate and it’s more of a suggestion than an actual schedule.

5 Bryan { 03.06.09 at 11:52 pm }

Agricultural areas don’t need clocks beyond the livestock and crops. I’ve never seen a Holstein with a watch – when it’s time for milking, it’s time. If you don’t have electricity, you work when you can see and don’t have to worry about telephone calls.

6 Badtux { 03.07.09 at 1:19 am }

Indeed, only government officials worry about the official clock. But Western China’s bureaucrats definitely do have to worry about phone calls, Chinese government being Chinese government, and bureaucracy being what it is. And if people wish to do anything that requires government approval they must go when the government officials are officially there (i.e., on the same 9am to 5pm as Beijing). Of course, the goat herders in the hills don’t care, they get up with the sun, and go to bed with the moon, but who cares about them?

All in all, I found it mildly amusing to find out this little fact about China’s time zones, or lack thereof. And of course China doesn’t do DST for much the same reason. It interferes with the gerontocracy’s sleep patterns, and old men do need their sleep, y’know. Totalitarian dictatorship. Ah, what a system!

7 Kryten42 { 03.07.09 at 5:11 am }

Totalitarian dictatorship. Ah, what a system!

At least everyone knows where they stand… if they want to keep standing. 😉 I sometimes wonder if it might be better than a faux Democracy where people think they know where they stand, but in reality it’s usually miles from where they think. 😀

OT: We had an earthquake! Was only 4.6, but even though the epicenter was 70-80km from here, it shook the house. Felt like an explosion somewhere nearby. Was weird, I don’t think I’ve actually felt one in Melb before, even though I know we have one very occasionally.

Melbourne escapes unscathed after earthquake

Now I’m simply awaiting the floods and volcanic eruption to complete the list of bad natural events. Possibly a plague of locusts wouldn’t be amiss either! LOL

8 Bryan { 03.07.09 at 11:46 am }

I’ve never seen much point in DST. The military stays on UTC so everyone works from a common point. Of course, on 40-hour flights around the world you are screwed up regardless of where you start or end up. It just confuses things for a week or so.

Of course the location of the capital of China on the extreme East magnifies the problem of a lack of time zones, but power has always been about making your personal life easier, and screw the “little people”. Sounds a lot like the Hedgemony.

You got mountains, you got earthquakes. New South Wales is ahead on points with its floods after its fires, but Queensland looks to have a rather nasty typhoon Hamish about ready to make a visit.