Measuring Time: A time to keep, a time to lose

Despite numerous attempts by radicals to reform the calendar, it is usually commerce that decides the way we measure time, as Matthew Shaw explains.

French decimal clock from the time of the French RevolutionThose planning on flying to the Samoan capital of Apia for New Year may find themselves somewhat confused: there will be no December 28th, 2011 in Samoa. The small Pacific island is reversing an 1892 decision to set its clocks according to the western, or ‘American’ side of the International Date Lane and is erasing a day from the calendar in order to become closer to its now more important trading partners of New Zealand and Australia. Rather than being 21 hours behind Sydney, it will be three hours ahead. The loss of a day is a small price to pay for improved commercial relations.

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