What time is it?

Last weeks clock change highlights, in the words of Barbara Adam, that “time is of our own making”. Daylight savings time has been linked to increased heart attacks but there are social consequences as well, at least there are for me. My sister is in Sydney (who change their clocks next week), so this week the window that we have to talk is an hour smaller.


How do we make time in places where our current time zone distinctions don’t quite make sense? At the Antarctic all the lines of longitude, and hence time zones, converge. What time is breakfast? There are ten research stations on the Island and each operates under the time zone of the country that owns it resulting in eight time zones.



What about the International Space Station – by its very nature it travels through every time zone every 90 minutes as it circulates the earth. Its ground control bases are located in three time zones, Houstin in Texas and Korolyov in Moscow. The time zone roughly half way between these two is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) – so this is used to define what time it is in space.


This means that strangely it would be easier for me to Whatsapp with a astronaut than with my sister.

Buzz Aldrin with wrist watch. The Apollo moon landings used Eastern Daylight Time - the time zone of Mission Control in Florida.  

Buzz Aldrin with wrist watch. The Apollo moon landings used Eastern Daylight Time - the time zone of Mission Control in Florida.



I went to the Fishamble play Guaranteed about the Irish bank bailout tonight. It was a bit strange to be at a play where I not only knew it didn't have a happy ending but the unhappy ending was part of my past, current and future lived reality. I saw it in a community theatre in a suburb of Dublin, and unusually the crowd were equally male and female who mostly seemed around the 50 - 60 age group. 

The conversation in the car home, about bubbles, banks, bonds, hedge-funds and liquidity, turned to Bitcoin. I am slightly fascinated by Bitcoin because a friend of mine was given one at a party, so we've been watching its value rise, wondering at what point to cash in this unexpected gift.

For those who are also interested, here are a couple of Bitcoin stories

1. Man buys $27 of bitcoin, forgets about them, finds they're now worth $886k

2. Where can you spend your Bitcoins, a brief guide.

3. Gaming company using customer machines as bitcoin botnet shut down

4. The Bitcoin Bubble and the Future of Currency

5. Live Bitcoin Market data (901.06 dollars!)

6. I bought stuff with Bitcoin

7. BBC report on Bitcoin

8. Pay your university fees with Bitcoin

9. How to mine bitcoin, plus an lovely infographic on how it works

10. Wikipedia on the Silk Road


Even more stories

11. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/27/hard-drive-bitcoin-landfill-site

This one also speaks to the problems of digital preservation.

12. It looks like the succesor to SilkRoad, Sheep Market Place has done a runner with $42million bitcoins. (Friday 29th of November)

13. Bank of America says Bitcoin will maximise at 1,300 dollars (5th December 2013)

14. Dog coin, new currency released, seemly originating on a sub-reddit, its based on an internet meme (very meta) and being traded on a redit community called Dogemarket (16th December 2013)

15. Is it all over? BTC China stop taking chinese yuan deposits as the Chinese government barred financial institutions from using bitcoin, bitcoin value halves over night. Banks of Americas assessment above was based on two assumptions

"Assuming Bitcoin becomes (1) a major player in both e- commerce and money transfer and (2) a significant store of value with a reputation close to silver"...

This step is a blow to assumption 1. (18th December 2013)


16. JP Morgan doesn't like bitcoin. In December they filed a patent for a bitcoin-like online payment system. Though unlike bitcoin it is tied to credit cards (so I presume doesn't allow online transactions). In February the launched a report arguing that Bitcoin was "vastly inferior to fiat currencies".

17. More trouble for bitcoin. A bot is attacking bitcoin exchanges.

Picture: Mining Bitcoin, by Xianfu http://www.openmobilefree.net/?page_id=474