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Tick tock: The importance of knowing the right time

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Tick tock: The importance of knowing the right time

Post by Kitkat on Mon 03 Apr 2017, 16:34

In 1845, a curious feature was added to the clock on St John's Church in Exeter: another minute hand, running 14 minutes faster than the original.

This was, as Trewman's Exeter Flying Post explained, "a matter of great public convenience", for it meant the clock exhibited, as well as the correct time at Exeter, "railway time".

Our sense of time has always been defined by planetary motion. We talked of "days" and "years" long before we knew the Earth rotated on its axis and orbited the Sun.

The Moon's waxing and waning gave us the idea of a month. The Sun's passage across the sky gave us "midday" and "high noon". Exactly when the Sun reaches its highest point depends, of course, on where you are.

Someone in Exeter will see it 14 minutes after someone in London.

Naturally people tended to set their clocks by their local celestial observations. That is fine if you co-ordinate only with locals. If we both live in Exeter and agree to meet at 19:00, it hardly matters that it is 19:14 in London, 200 miles away.

But as soon as a train connects Exeter and London - stopping at multiple other towns, all with their own time - we face a logistical nightmare.

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Re: Tick tock: The importance of knowing the right time

Post by Stardust on Wed 31 May 2017, 10:26


Assuming I'm on a train between Exeter and London while reading this, does that mean I haven't read your post yet, Kitkat, or that I read it some time ago?


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Re: Tick tock: The importance of knowing the right time

Post by Whiskers on Thu 01 Jun 2017, 11:23

Hmm  The trick is to set your clock half way between the two.  Then you could be in two places at the same time. 
Or would you? rock

    Current date/time is Sun 16 Dec 2018, 17:37