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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On the International Date Line

Last week, I read an article about time zones on The Smart Set (via ALDaily) that chronicled the government of Samoa's decision to switch time zones by moving west over the international date line, thus losing a day in December 2011. The article speaks to the fluidity in how humans arrange time. China, for example, has had only one time zone since 1949, while Russia, which had eleven until 2010, has nine. The Boston Globe's Brainiac blog also recently profiled the article, and the Globe piece included a map of the international dateline:

 

The international date line is a fascinating construct, and a close examination of the map makes clear how time zones reflect politics, language, and history.

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