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Monday, May 5, 2014

MUFA Day#29: Today is Tuesday--Tomorrow is Tuesday

My Ultimate Fantasy Adventure, Day #29, traverses through a difficult to understand concept:  today, May 6, is Tuesday, and tomorrow, May 6, is again Tuesday on the Crystal Symphony, which will cross over the International Dateline.  What is this line and who created it?

In the mid-1800's, train schedules were screwed up because there was no standardization.  The United States, for example, had 100 different times in three time zones.  However, the Great Western Railway in the United Kingdom had by 1840 established a schedule using their Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the beginning point of the day.  Thus, when in 1884 American President Chester Arthur convened a conference to determine how to organize global time, the Greenwich Meridian was selected as zero degrees latitude, with the circle looking down from the North Pole split into 360 degrees.  A line (with variations) from the North to South Poles at 180 degrees (on the opposite side of the GMT) was named the International Dateline, where the east side was, say, Sunday, and the west side, Monday.  Therefore, when you spend a whole  Monday cruising west to east, when you cross the dateline, you again need to spend a whole another Monday.  A reasonable example I found was by Jules Verne, from the 1956 film, Around the World in 80 Days:
In journeying eastward he [Fogg] had gone towards the sun, and the days therefore diminished for him as many times four minutes as he crossed degrees in this direction. There are three hundred and sixty degrees on the surface of the earth; and these three hundred and sixty degrees, multiplied by four minutes, gives precisely twenty-four hours - that is, the day unconsciously gained. In other words, whilst Phileas Fogg, going eastward, saw the sun pass the meridian eighty times, his friends in London only saw it pass the meridian seventy-nine times.[20

Thus, Phileas Fogg, who thought he had returned to London one day late, actually made the 80-day limit because he forgot that he had gained a day by traveling eastwards, what the Crystal Symphony will experience today by cruising over that dateline.  Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 73% rating.  However, the 2004 re-make with Jackie Chan only scored 31%.

The International Dateline is not straight because certain countries justified adjustments to keep the same time throughout their territorial area.


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