Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 01, 2019

Timezone Change On Moon of Alabama

This blog so far ran on New York time and displayed the time in a U.S. (AM/PM) format.

It made it increasingly difficult to keep in sync with various time displays in other media quoted here. These often have ambiguities. (For example: Twitter read through Tweetdeck shows the time in the timezone of the local device it is running on while its website uses the timezone the logged-in user chose in the account settings. Other media have similar problems.)

The switch to summertime and back - on different dates in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere -  is also confusing. The blog has a quite large international readership and some fixed time everyone can relate to is needed.

Your host therefore decided to change the time setting.

From now on Moon of Alabama time will be Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The display time format will change to a 24 hour format (23:45 = 11:45PM). Also "UTC" will be added to all time displays to make that evident.

New and older posts and comments will now be shown in the new format.

Older posts that were updated often include a line that says "Updated at 9:00PM" or similar. Those posts will NOT be revisited and changed even though their original publishing time below the post will now be displayed in UTC.

Please let me know your thoughts about this change.

Posted by b on July 1, 2019 at 20:46 UTC | Permalink


Excellent! Many thanks, b. :-)

Posted by: Ash GMT | Jul 1 2019 21:01 utc | 1

B., I bow to your logic. UTC it is, then.

But as an unreconstructed Amerikan who remains unable or unwilling to adjust to rational measuring systems, I wish for an app or add-on that would enable users to, say, highlight UTC time and right-click to instantly convert it to one's local time-- in my case, EDT.

Perhaps a kindly and knowledgable barfly can recommend one.

Posted by: Ort | Jul 1 2019 21:03 utc | 2

Except it is showing for me in the daylight saving time we know here by the Greenwich meridian as BST (British Summer Time) which is GMT +1.

Posted by: Ash BST | Jul 1 2019 21:10 utc | 3

@b: Good job!
@Ort(2): "who remains unable or unwilling to adjust to rational measuring systems" Forget imperial systems! The time for this bullshit is over since last millennium! ;-)

Posted by: Wolle | Jul 1 2019 21:10 utc | 4

@b: There is an error in your setting. It's not UTC! Sent this at 23:17 CEST(UTC+2), so 21:17 UTC is correct.

Posted by: Wolle | Jul 1 2019 21:16 utc | 5


Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 1 2019 21:27 utc | 6

hi b

can you make it possible to change from utc to mnt? mnt stands for my neighbourhood time. also, if i go to another part of the city to have a coffee, can you make it possible to change to unt? unt stands for unkwown neighborhood time? also a question, since i live in the 9th floor, and my local coffee shop is just 10 m away, is there a vertical time zone system apart from those horizontal ones?


Posted by: albagen | Jul 1 2019 21:37 utc | 7

congratulations to MoA for your logical and wise decision and action.
Have been educated from kid on with "military time = twentyfour hours time-reading. No problems.

Even had no problem where ever I was in the world to convert from AM/PM with adding or subtracting timezone hours into twentyfour hours time. The day is from 00:00 - 23:59 Hours then at socalled 24:00 Hours it is in reality 00:00 Hours, a new day.

Well done, MoA.

Posted by: DarkEyes | Jul 1 2019 21:41 utc | 8

@Ash BST Except it is showing for me in the daylight saving time we know here by the Greenwich meridian as BST (British Summer Time) which is GMT +1.

You are right. But the config setting I made is correct. Something else in the blog system is screwing up. I am now trying to correct that.

Posted by: b | Jul 1 2019 21:47 utc | 9

Why not using "GMT" indication of the time right away instead of an extra layer with indiation "UTC" which is as you state equal to GMT.

The only thing people have to do is to check where on earrthand in what time-zone they are living or staying.
The GMT System is already there why complicate it with UTC.

Good luck and again, well done.

Posted by: BlackEyes | Jul 1 2019 21:48 utc | 10

“23:45 = 11:34PM”

More complicated than I had expected!

Posted by: David G | Jul 1 2019 21:49 utc | 11

I see it well, all the more when it gets close to my real time here...

Curiosuly, last Saturday I was driving passing through physical Greenwich Meridian in the near 50ºC outside....

Posted by: Sasha | Jul 1 2019 21:51 utc | 12

It's not hard to memorize your local adjustment to UTC; both correct local time and current UTC are available on many websites such as:

Posted by: dus7 | Jul 1 2019 22:08 utc | 13

@Ash BST and me @9 - now corrected
@David G - now corrected :-)
@BlackEyes - Since 1972 GMT no longer exists in official notations (ISO 8601 etc). It is UTC.

Posted by: b | Jul 1 2019 22:10 utc | 14

The whole AM/PM thing is an abomination.
I mean, try to make an excel sheet understand that 12:30 AM is actually 00:30 at night -- not half an hour after noon...

Posted by: bjd | Jul 1 2019 22:23 utc | 15


Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 1 2019 22:36 utc | 16

A good idea.

Posted by: Ian | Jul 1 2019 22:49 utc | 17

Can't get away from it, can you? Empire and all that, I mean...

From BBC America - International Time Zones Start at Greenwich:

In 1884, the International Meridian Conference met in Washington to decide which line would be THE prime meridian for the entire world. It would not be an easy discussion. Delegates from 25 nations had to agree something that would lend one country a certain prestige and status. Washington, London, Berlin and Paris were all hoping to secure the honor, and with no second prize on offer, the conversations got fairly heated.

Britain was in a strong position from the start, nearly three-quarters of the ships on the sea were already navigating with charts that used the Greenwich Prime Meridian, and the U.S. railways were also using a timetable based on Greenwich Mean Time as the standard to ensure the trains ran on time.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jul 1 2019 23:12 utc | 18

Whatever you decide is cool b. Above my pay grade..

Posted by: ben | Jul 1 2019 23:25 utc | 19

Fantastic. UTC makes so much sense. I use ISO dating in my own time zone. Moving to UTC is a great idea.


Posted by: jrkrideau | Jul 1 2019 23:27 utc | 20

… and all the pilots said, "Amen."

Posted by: Gregor Martindale | Jul 1 2019 23:41 utc | 21

Has anyone present at the bar encountered anything they consider to be reliable info on what exactly fell in Cyprus? Far too small to be an F16 or any other manned craft but I agree with others that it's not looking like a standard s200 that failed to self-destruct. If it was launched by an s200 what accounts for additional features and increased range? Who created these mods? If Syria AAD is actually fully integrated then a lot of folks know what this was, it couldn't be some one-off unit that rolled across the border from Iran. I wonder if it was launched from Syria at all, perhaps some Lebanese individuals were trying their hand at targeting aircraft violating their airspace? Silence from typically revealing sources is deafening.

Posted by: NJH | Jul 1 2019 23:48 utc | 22

b - i think it is a good idea.. trying to track times off twitter is a real pain in the ass... i wish more would post in utc...

presently i get a reading of 00:18:30 utc..

Posted by: james | Jul 2 2019 0:18 utc | 23

Seems like a reasonable plan.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jul 2 2019 0:31 utc | 24

Excellent, thank you! UTC is the most logical and convenient.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 2 2019 0:40 utc | 25

Well, I would have preferred Cancun Time (GMT-5, we don't do DST either, thank goodness!), but okay... :-)

While I'm here, we need to start a campaign to move the prime meridian over to the International Date Line to put everything into proper sync.

Posted by: Just Me | Jul 2 2019 1:14 utc | 26

This change doesn't bother me at all. So if tying MoA to GMT relieves b of some administrative tedium then I'm 100% in favour of it. I've always regarded GMT as The Time from which all other times are measured/ interpreted so I also admire the symmetry and logic.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 2 2019 1:37 utc | 27

I was an air traffic controller in the Air Force in the 50s and 60s, so I lived UTC (then referred to as "Zulu" and later "Zebra") time and the 24-hour clock. After those eight years, my mind still translates everything to 24-hour-clock time. Easy to get used to, and much simpler.

As for UTC, just look up the time difference on the web, write it down once, and you've got it. You just add or subtract that difference in your head, making sure to adjust an hour one way or the other for the ridiculous "daylight saving time" nonsense.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jul 2 2019 3:09 utc | 28

@28 antispin

sure wish they would get rid of the daylight savings time on the planet... here in b.c.we are being asked if we want to join washington, oregon and california in going onto dst for the whole year... i can't understand why they don't just get rid of dst all together... instead they give us the option of going onto dst for the whole year...

Posted by: james | Jul 2 2019 3:48 utc | 29

Hooray! to use UTC.
May more websites w users across timezones join in.

Posted by: h | Jul 2 2019 3:51 utc | 30

May the sun never set on the Moon of Alabama empire!!!!

And then there was Just Me above that wants to move the prime meridian to the International Date Line to further clean up references....Yeah! I read a comment at The Register recently saying the the Brits have an observatory somewhere along the 0 meridian that lined up with a telescope but installed a new telescope and moved the meridian line a bit to line up with the new telescope.......only empire gets to do that.

And then of course for this thread we can't forget a reference to the 1970 song by Chicago....."Does anybody really know what time it is?"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 2 2019 4:22 utc | 31

Excellent .

Posted by: Friar Ockham | Jul 2 2019 6:23 utc | 32

I'm fine with this change too.

Where I am in Pacific time which is usually 7 hours behind UTC, I'm 3 hours behind the east coast posters and often reading the Europe posters from the night before.

While discussing time, there is one international standard for dates. It's called ISO 8601. It specifies dates can be written with numbers as year, month and day with dashes in between.

The ISO 8601 form for today's date, July 2nd 2019 UTC, would be written as 2019-07-02.

My two cents worth towards a better consensus on time notation.

Posted by: Jonku | Jul 2 2019 6:47 utc | 33

Tha is a brilliant idea b !

Especially using GMT setting.
Well done.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jul 2 2019 6:51 utc | 34

Great Idea!
And it will give alternative employment to large numbers of Yanks over the next 20 months to try to figure out and settle on while they are trying to determine who won the 2016 elections. As for liters and meters and grams - a bridge too far.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 2 2019 7:07 utc | 35

@33 Jonku
I have a feeling we here in Sweden are the only ones on earth abiding with ISO8601 and using yyyy-mm-dd format. 24 hour format is self evident.
Welcome into the future and kudos to b for doing the right thing.


Posted by: Nils Essle | Jul 2 2019 7:52 utc | 36

imo excel is weird on time.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jul 2 2019 8:37 utc | 37

Posted by: james | Jul 2 2019 4:48 utc | 29

i can't understand why they don't just get rid of dst all together... instead they give us the option of going onto dst for the whole year...

I think the reason WA, OR, CA are considering fulltime DST is because moving to (more) DST can be enacted by states whereas dropping DST requires federal approval.

Posted by: dus7 | Jul 2 2019 8:43 utc | 38

Great, good move b. I asked the question a couple of weeks ago on what time you used. This is the perfect answer, thank you.

Posted by: Anon2 | Jul 2 2019 8:57 utc | 39

Frankly, I never cared much about absolute timestamps, only about relative ordering of comments, etc.

But if that question was important, then UTC/GMT is a well-known international reference point.

I remember that topic was raised before, so those were my thought then. "Switch to GMT is you really want it, though I do not see why bother".

This blog is not "hot news" blog. It is pretending to be analytical. And those roles are often mutually exclusive. Either you reprint all the gossips you can find as soon as you see them, or you try to fact-check, to interpret- to match - and loose this race.

As for me, being in the fastest gossip-spreaders is not this blog's virtue, so I do not see importance in the timestamp changes. But if it is needed - then GMT of course.

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 2 2019 9:08 utc | 40

The timestamps on the comments still seem to be +1 hr from UTC. It is 9:19pm (21:19) NZST here 2 July right now, which should be 09:19 UTC 2 July (and indeed Google tells me that is the current UTC time as I submit this).

Posted by: Dave | Jul 2 2019 9:19 utc | 41

Sorry. Can't resist it

"Experience will teach you what you may, and what you may not do -
I will teach you to forget the truths you always knew.
See what might be
See what might have been
Though you yourself created me
Your own mistake has set me free.

I was your slave, now you are mine
I am Time, I am Time"

(Incredible String Band)

Posted by: Montreal | Jul 2 2019 9:46 utc | 42

A visit to the junk store often allows people to buy working clocks for a dollar or two... I know because for many years I have kept two, one on universal coordinated (GMT) time, the other indicating local time. It's also nice if you can find clocks with 24 hour display, particularly for the UTC display, as you generally already know if the sun is shining on you, though many electronic clock display an indicator for "AM" of "PM"...which is sufficient. I even found an identical pair that stack and have nice bright LED display - 2 bucks.

Engaged people usually know the offset between their local time and UTC. Pretty much and increasingly the world runs on UTC.

I applaud the decision to change over here to UTC.

Absent clocks, the web permits you to create a screen display of UTC that is small enough to not interfere with the use of the screen very much.

Posted by: Walter | Jul 2 2019 10:15 utc | 43


There's an app out there just for you, I'm sure. I recall seeing one that factors in all your daily errands. Even better, it frames your life within the Quaternary Period of the Holocene Epoch. "Meanwhile" (a time not convertible into GMT) good luck!

Posted by: Glorious Bach | Jul 2 2019 10:38 utc | 44

works for me.

Posted by: sal | Jul 2 2019 11:22 utc | 45

@Dave The timestamps on the comments still seem to be +1 hr from UTC. It

The f***ing Typepad helpdesk changed my setting after I reported that their system produces the wrong time. Instead of reacting to the error they switched the blog to the timezone setting that I reported as not working correctly.

I again changed that so is now back to UTC.

Posted by: b | Jul 2 2019 12:05 utc | 46

Trail balloon...

Thanks for the UTC shift. So, this should turn up as UTC, without the daylight saving time adjustmet, hence uniform, year around.

The purpose of daylight saving time, first used during the first World War, was to lessen the use of electricity for lighting at a time when, already, most people were no longer going to bed with the sunset and were, rather, staying up, using electric lighting. The later bed times meant that, slowly, morning rising times were later and later, hence less and less light needed upon rising, whereas the extra daylight at the end of the working day was much appreciated.

While we're at it, as Jonku | Jul 2 2019 6:47 utc | 33 noted, there is also ISO dating.

This has two significant advantages: 1. no letters and no commas, and 2. when used to designate files to be saved on a computer, they come up in temperal order.

Like the twenty-four-hour clock, it requires a bit of adaptation, but once one is used to it, it is easy to take in at a glance.

Posted by: RJPJR | Jul 2 2019 13:31 utc | 47

It worked.

I posted at 15:31 Geneva time and it registered as 13:31 UTC.

Amen and glory halleluiah!

Posted by: RJPJR | Jul 2 2019 13:34 utc | 48

How did UTC time end up in the form xx:yy?

Ever since being in the military I got used to the format of 0600, 1300, etc.

I'm thinking UTC came from a Brussels committee, eh?

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jul 2 2019 14:11 utc | 49

@29 james

i can't understand why they don't just get rid of dst all together... instead they give us the option of going onto dst for the whole year...

Tell them if they don't like their longitude, go find another.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 2 2019 14:17 utc | 50

@50 norwegian... lol.. thanks - they are probably crazy enough to take me up on that!

Posted by: james | Jul 2 2019 15:12 utc | 51

@Bart Hansen

UTC was defined by the forerunner of the ITU. Brussels has nothing to do with it.

The outlier, as with most measurement sysyemts, here is the US military, that does not use the xx:yy format.

Posted by: Alex | Jul 2 2019 15:12 utc | 52

Whatever makes your life and work easier and more accurate.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jul 2 2019 15:36 utc | 53

52 - Looked up ITU. It was originally from France, home of grams and kilograms with no unit in between.

I'm too old to start using that five digit format, especially since genealogists here use the four digit format. Lots of trees wasted via that comma.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jul 2 2019 15:43 utc | 54

GMT is great, as long as Greenwich and Longitude 0 doesn't move! While visiting Royal Observatory in Greenwich I was astonished to learn that the Brits routinely moved Longitude 0 over a few feet whenever a new telescope was built, as they liked Longitude 0 to run dead center through the telescope they were using for observations.

Posted by: Trisha Driscoll | Jul 2 2019 15:47 utc | 55

i like this blog for the information and analysis it provides. i don't care about the timestamps, so whatever works best is fine with me.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jul 2 2019 16:06 utc | 56

Did anyone ever bother? But yes, for all those that only the present matters, and then is strictly again forgotten as fast as it surfaced as "news", it no doubt may.

Posted by: joanna | Jul 2 2019 16:52 utc | 57

Thanks Bernhard...

Posted by: peteypies | Jul 2 2019 18:28 utc | 58

Great b

I set my world clock on Accra which has GMT+0 and no DST

Posted by: CarlD | Jul 2 2019 20:43 utc | 59


I posted a comment on the weekend which has since disappeared, maybe due to some related glitch?

or Was it something I said?
doubt that the article about Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists I pointed out (the-doomsday-clock-measures-liberal-angst-not-global-risk)) would offend,

so maybe it might have been an observation about Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos fame, and how links between her and BotAS seem to disappear from the net ...


Posted by: ziogolem | Jul 3 2019 0:43 utc | 60

Good! And may I suggest the best way to write a date
For example, right now is 20190703.0732
year month day. hour minute and so on as far as you want to go.
No wondering if that 7 is a month or a day and the computer will automatically file the dates in the right order.

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | Jul 3 2019 11:34 utc | 61

excellent! superb! At last I will know accurately the right time of occurrency without complicated time reckoning. Tks a lot

Posted by: gerardo gonzalez | Jul 3 2019 16:24 utc | 62

GMT is not the same as UCT, it changes to daylight saving time in summer..

Posted by: d | Jul 4 2019 7:45 utc | 63

Very timely.

Posted by: Col. B. Bunny | Jul 20 2019 2:32 utc | 64

The comments to this entry are closed.