Saturday, 8 October 2011

What's the time?

In the last week and a bit I've discovered my Achilles Heel. Subtracting the number eight from numbers no larger than 24.

The issue has been with time zones. As you are probably aware, the time where you are isn't necessarily the time where I am. Otherwise it would be dark during the day, like it is in Yorkshire. Over the past week for all sorts of exciting reasons, I've been talking via the wonder that is the internet to people on opposite coasts of America. (Incidentally America, I've not forgotten you, The America Project will continue soon). Whilst I find it eminently possible to figure out what the time must be on the east coast (time difference from UK: 5 hours), working it out for the west coast is completely beyond me. It's probably what gets all the rappers at each other's throats. No wonder they're angry. They don't know what time it is.

Not even a week's worth of practice has done me any good. I'm still completely hopeless. The problem undeniably lies with the old a.m./p.m. shenanigans. But even that's ridiculous and easily circumvented by the ol' 24 hour clock. BUT EVEN THAT DOESN'T WORK FOR ME. I'm pretty glad I've finished school, or else I reckon I'd flunk my SATs with flying colours.

An example. Yesterday it was 8 p.m. So, what time is it in Los Angeles, 8 hours behind the UK? Well, any absolute madman can tell you: It's 12 p.m. noon. So, how - HOW - did I work out that it was 2 p.m.? Well, in truth, I did it by subtracting 8 from 20, using the clever 24 hour clock so beloved of military men. What happened then, however, is my brain interpreted the result (12, in case you were wondering, because I know I must be) as meaning 2 p.m.

Obviously, there's some crossed wire in there. Converting from 24 hour clock back to normal times like people who don't drive tanks and bayonet Zulus use is obviously where the problem arises. But for heaven's sake. I've been going on like this for a WEEK! And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. Why else would newsrooms and stock exchanges everywhere have their trendy NEW YORK-LONDON-TOKYO clocks all over the walls? It's because counting in base 12 makes no sense, unless you are from (insert name of place here).

Normally I would suggest a deceptively simple and demonstrably stupid solution at this point, but I don't really have one. I'm just throwing this out there in the hope that someone will tell me I'm not alone in this peculiarity. A black hole of mathematics. Dazzling gormlessness.

I am finishing this post at 7.40 a.m., BST. (GMT +1) on Saturday 8th October. The time in Los Angeles is 11.40 p.m on Friday 7th October. In New York it is 2.40 a.m. on Saturday 8th October. And on the moon, a Clanger is pissing himself laughing at me.

1 comment:

Lord Manley said...

(insert name of place) England up until the end of imperial measurement?

Anywhere where you have 3 joints on each of your four fingers, allowing you to count them with your thumb?

Anywhere that a base which is divisible by 1,2,3,4,6 & 12 is preferable to one where yu only get 1,2,5 & 10?

Norfolk.

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