Just as we are about to set back our clocks there is a new story coming out of France about scientists meeting to discuss getting rid of Greenwich Mean Time or GMT.
Here is a bit:
Leading scientists from around the world are meeting in Britain from Thursday to consider a proposal that could eventually see Greenwich Mean Time relegated to a footnote in history.
For more than 120 years GMT has been the international standard for timekeeping, but it is now under threat from a new definition of time itself based not on the rotation of the Earth, but on atomic clocks.
In January 2012, the International Telecommunication Union will meet in Geneva to vote on whether to adopt the new measure, despite protests from Britain.
The two-day meeting of about 50 experts at a country house northwest of London, under the aegis of the prestigious Royal Society, on Thursday and Friday will look at some of the issues involved.
So I bet you are wondering what does that have to do with you? Well, nothing just yet, but you see, GMT is a human friendly system of telling time. It takes into account the revolution of the planet in reference to the sun, whereas “atomic clocks” just keep a running track of time. Now when we look at computers and the machines that keep us on our toes we can understand that they just don’t need to keep time according to whether the sun is shining, but humans on the other hand enjoy sun during their days.
If we go to an “atomic clock” standard then we might have a situation where the time is 12 noon but there isn’t any sun in the sky! There are no “leap seconds” or “leap years” in the atomic clock business. There is just one tight clean second that clicks into the next tight clean second.
France seems to like the idea of dropping GMT, but then they lost out to Britain years ago when they wanted to be the font of all time in the world. Paris Mean Time never happened globally, but GMT did. And now, it may be phased out.