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Time zones are demarcations of solar hours (15 degrees) on the planet (a few are offset by 30 or 45 minutes) used by many nations. Solar noon moves closer on average (depending on the month and day) to 12:01pm the nearer to one is to the beginning of the zone. Has anyone in modern United States history (post-GMT and world wide time zones) seriously proposed an alternative system of time zone management than the hour (for instance moving to the half hour)?

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3 Answers 3

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Interestingly, when the time zones were established at the International Meridian Conference in 1884, the original idea was to have a single coordinated solar day. This meant that eventually, the hope was to have a single coordinated time throughout the world. The idea of dividing the world into time zones was merely supposed to be a step to getting to precisely that point.

Unfortunately, the resolution adopted had within it the seeds of its failure to take that final step. The single coordinated meridian was to be selected without interference in the local observation of solar time and "without regard to politics but only to scientific progress."

As you might expect, the "art of the possible" never was able to go that far.

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Nowhere in the USA does that, however there is one place in North America (sorta) that does: Newfoundland.

They happened to be about 3 and a half hours from Greenwich when the time zones were first set up, and being persnickety people, opted to keep their own time rather than join the Atlantic or central Greenland time zones.

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Assuming that Swatch sells their plastic watches also in the U.S., there is their notion of Swatch Internet Time (beat time): The notion has not become popular in Europe or even Switzerland (where the company originates) so far, but insofar as this is a serious, globally acting company, their (marketing-driven) attempt can (perhaps) be counted as a (somewhat) serious alternative system. The reference meridian is fixed at at Jakob-Staempfli Street, Biel, Switzerland.

I'm posting this @ 288 beats, BTW :)

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