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Friday, April 1, 2011

Daylight Savings Time Begins Tonight in Israel

Time change at the start of Daylight Saving TimeImage via WikipediaIsrael begins daylight savings time on April 1. Set your clocks forward 1 hour. This is not an April Fool's joke. Why Israel begins it on a week day I do not know. They could begin it on Saturday morning, the Sabbath Day on which few people in Israel work. But no, for some reason it has to begin on a workday, depriving working folk of an hour of sleep.

In any case, this restores the usual 7/8/9/10 hour difference between the Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Western time zones in the US and Israel, at least until they go their several ways again in the fall when Daylight Savings Time ends on different days in the US and Israel.

This is an SVG version of the Time Zone map fr...Time Zones around the world

In his Special Theory of Relativity Einstein predicted (in 1905) that clocks moving relative to an observer run slower. This is called time dilation, or the second-order Doppler effect of Special Relativity. For example, when you are rushing to work in your car driving at say 100 km/hr, your watch, compared to that of a dilatory idler standing by the side of the road, loses .26 ps (picoseconds) per minute. The faster you go, the slower your watch moves compared to the idler, until in your rush to reach the office on time, your speed approaches the speed of light. As that happens, your watch asymptotically approaches a complete standstill relative to the bum at the road side who refuses to go to work. Thus the faster you try to get there, the slower your watch moves until, at the speed of light, time stops completely for you, as seen by the road-side bum. You never get to work, and your mass approaches infinity as well. Not only do you not arrive at work but you put on a hell of a lot of weight without the benefit of enjoying a donut.

The consolation is that as your speed slows from light-speed, you discover that thousands of years have passed, your boss and all of the people you hated at work are long dead, and so in fact is work. You are finally triumphant, and you loose all of that ungainly weight you put on while travelling near the speed of light. Life is good.

"Time," as Sir Hermann Bondi said, "is that which is manufactured by clocks." If you forget to move your clock forward, don't rush too much to get to work, or you just may never arrive.

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