Yesterday during a minor scheduling snafu with an IT Conversations interview Scott Lemon remarked that we all ought to just use Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and forget about it. Cory Doctorow had a book with a title evocative of that idea: Eastern Standard Tribe.
This morning, someone else mentioned the same kind of scheduling problem to me and I started thinking that we really ought to have just one timezone for the entire US. Maybe the whole world. China, after all, runs the whole country on Beijing time. You might think "those poor people in western China--having to get up at 4am!" but their body doesn't know that some random number on a clock is "early." They get up in the morning and go to bed at night, like everyone else.
Timezones, of course were invented with the railways. You can't have a schedule if 8:30 in one town isn't the same as 8:30 in the town 30 miles down the track. Size was a compromise on giving people times that felt somewhat natural based on their past solartime existence.
With increased globalization, however, I think it's time to just throw the whole time zone thing in the trash and have one universal time. We'd all have to do it though. As a first step, I propose that the Obama administration not just get rid of daylight savings time, but get rid of timezones too and put the entire US on Eastern Standard Time (EST). I'm fine with getting up at 3:30am everyday as long as I can go to bed at 8:30pm!