Tag Archives: australia

As Promised: Time Zones

Time zones are a social construct. They don’t exist in any real sense, but are convenient for coordinating activities in regions where noon occurs at about the same time (that is, the sun is highest in the sky at about the same time). Standardized time zones occur in multiples of hours (with the occasional 30 or 45 minute difference) from Greenwich Mean Time also known by its official name, Coordinated Universal Time (aka UTC). Time zones are usually notated as UTC+d where d is the time difference between the time zone and UTC. For instance, UTC+0:00 contains Liberia, Ghana, Greenland, Portugal, Iceland, Ireland and the UK, UTC+3:30 contains Iran, UTC+4:30 contains Afghanistan, UTC+8:45 contains part of Western Australia, and UTC+12:00 contains New Zealand. UTC+D means that a location is D hours ahead of UTC, while UTC-D means that the location is D hours behind UTC. For instance, Brazil, Argentina and Suriname are in UTC-3:00, United States Eastern Time is UTC-5:00, United States Pacific Time is UTC-8:00 and the outlying Baker Island is in UTC-12:00.

2 Comments

Filed under Culture, Economics

Labor Day

Today, September 3rd, is Labor Day in the United States. Labor Day is dedicated to the contributions of workers and and labor unions, and was proposed when labor unions began gaining power. The first Monday in September is set aside as a federal and state holiday during which non-essential government employees are given paid leave from their work duties and federal and state offices are closed. Oregon was, in 1887, the first state of the United States to adopt Labor day as a state holiday, seven years before it became a national holiday. In many American school districts, classes start a day or so after Labor Day, making Labor Day the unofficial last day of summer. Finally, many countries celebrate Labour Day on the First of May, coinciding with International Worker’s Day, but Australia holds Labour Day on the first Monday of October, the second Monday of March, the first Monday in March or the first Monday of May, depending on where in Australia you are.

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Holidays