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Times and dates

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    Pele, goddess of fire

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Standardization of time for challenges, FG's handy guide.

To avoid confusion when challenges and competition are set, always name your due date/time in terms of UTC/GMT using the 24 hour clock. For example, I want competition scores to be submitted by 2100 my time, I would say its due 0200 UTC. If I was in DST it would be 0100 UTC. Here are some sites to help you convert the time to your time.

This will allow you to convert a past or future point in time:


To use this, select the date and time the scores are due. Leave the location as UTC/GMT and press 'Calculate fixed time'. In my case, I entered Sept 30, 2007 at 2am for the due date. The time map was returned and I looked up Boston and see it would be 10PM on Saturday 9/29 my scores are due, since that is the nearest big city on the list. If I click on the Boston link, it gives me nifty additional info about Boston such as if it is DST and so on.

Other maps that you may find interesting:

This is a full page of locations with the times listed. The times are relative to when you pull up the page.




Here you type the city and it tells you what time it is there. This one gives more information. First, if the city is in more than one country (or it’s the same name as a region or country), it asks you which you want to view. It tells you how many hours different it is from GMT and whether or not they are on DST (daylight savings time).

For those of you who do not know what GMT is, please read on!

GMT is Greenwich Mean time. This is the 0 longitude on the map of the world. Zero longitude passes through Greenwich, England and that is where the name came from. It has since been changed to UTC or Coordinated Universal Time to make it sound more generic. In military and aviation teams, it is often called Zulu time. When we speak in terms of Zulu, we always use the 24 hour clock. That is where we use 0 to 24 instead of 0 to 12 AM/PM. In the 24 hour clock, 1200 = noon and 2400 = midnight. One minute after midnight is 0001 and one o’clock in the morning is 0100.

All time zones are set based on this longitude. The time increases as you move East, and decreases as you move West. For every 10 degrees of longitude, there is a change in the time. From 10 degrees W to 10 degrees E is GMT. From 10 degrees E to 20 degrees E it is GMT + 1. From 10 degrees W to 20 degrees W is GMT – 1. See here for the big picture:


A key thing to note is DST or daylight savings time. London is in the same time zone as GMT, but during DST it is GMT + 1! This is where things get hairy, because places along the time zone edges may not participate in DST when the rest of their time zone does. The US has changed the dates it switches to/from DST and no longer is in step with the rest of the world. So for a few weeks around the switch things are out of step. Unfortunately, changing time zones for a particular point in time isn’t as easy as following the GMT map. You have to know the particulars too! This is why I would suggest you use one of the time converters I posted the link to. It knows who changes and when. The world time zone converter will even tell you if the location is on DST or not.

On the opposite side of the world from GMT is the International Date Line. This follows 180 degrees longitude with jags to go around countries. When you look at the map in the above link, you see that west of the date line is + 24 hours (a day) and east is – 24 hours. This is important when you need to know what day you have to submit your scores. Anyone on the US side of the date line is one day off from those on the Asian side of the date line.

Thanks for reading this! I hope this helps you out. :)
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