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The Phoebe Snow, bound for Buffalo, roared through Maplewood just before 10. Bored with Miss Bailey’s math class, we boys were distracted and noisy when we heard the horn/whistle. It’s passing was more accurate than the classroom clock.
Telling time goes back to Egypt and Mesopotamia (now Iraq). China a thousand years ago was using a decimal division of time.
So what time is it?
People have told time by passing trains, sundials, water clocks, hourglasses, ship’s bells, factory whistles and clocks on buildings.
But a Scot may not give you the time of day! In 1973 I stayed at Carbisdale Castle, in the Highlands (made into a youth hostel) and heard about the Castle of Spite. The Duchess of Sutherland won a large financial settlement from an inheritance battle.
It was stipulated her deceased husband’s family would build her a castle, but just off Sutherland lands. For spite, they say, when the castle was built in 1907 the duchess saw to it that the tower had three clock faces, none of which could be seen by the other Sutherlands as they went by on the train. She wouldn’t give them the time of day!
Solar time the only scientifically accurate time.
That’s why sun dials are off (unless you routinely adjust them!).
Eternal Summer Time
By presidential decree, Russia changed time one last time on Sunday March 27 when at 2 AM it instantly became 3 AM. This new time is called Daylight Saving Time, but will probably be renamed Standard Time. St Petersburg is now on Moscow Daylight Time (MSD).
When Europe changes time back on October 30, Russia will not. When the United States is on their Daylight Saving Time, Russia is eight hours ahead, otherwise there is now a nine hour difference.
President Dmitry Medvedev agrees with scientists that time changes are stressful. Calculations indicate Russia will see 7 to 17 percent more winter daylight. Unfortunately we will have to wait one more hour for sunrise after a long winter night in St Petersburg.
Cell phones replacing wristwatches?
How will future Russians check time? This thought hit me recently. I expected wristwatch sales would be down after a century of popularity but the numbers were not conclusive.
Trend Alert! One study recounted that a sampling of the college class of ‘14 in the United States had no idea that tapping on one’s wrist is a request for the time.
Taking a cell phone out of a pocket seems more work than glancing at your wrist. But nowadays is a watch or a cell phone the main object of consumer pride?
The Watch Phone!
This year, Chinese consumers have a fad for the watch phones. . They are bulky, awkward to use, and expensive.
Russians may be slow to make watches obsolete.
It appears watches are becoming things of the past. But how about in Russia? People here are attuned to symbols of status and power.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wears his watch on the right wrist. (It’s obvious because it’s on the ‘wrong’ hand.) How many of his people in government still wear watches? Probably a lot if ‘follow-the-leader’ holds true.
Let’s look at Yuri Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow, famous for his кепка, worker’s cap. I watched the TV news after he was fired and suddenly the same functionaries at the mayor’s office were not wearing worker’s caps. I suggest Russian politicians will continue to wear a watch as long as Vladimir Putin sports one.
Looks like the last thing we will have on our wrists (except for bracelets) will be a watch.
Articles and References
Do People Wear Watches to Tell Time? by Adam McFarland
President to Shift Russia to Daylight Saving-Time by Nikolaus von Twickel
Your Comments Welcome
1. Are you a fan of Daylight Saving Time, hate it, or don’t care? Maybe it would be better to call it Daylight Shifting Time.
2. When you ask someone for the time, where does he/she look? Have you noticed fewer people wearing watches? Why?
3. I don’t like things on my wrist or in my pockets, preferring to know the time from clocks, electronics, and by the sun. How about you?
Earlier post... Russia Reduces Time Zones to Nine, 26 March 2010