22 August 2009

We may have to adjust our clocks. Today, if possible.

18th August 2009, www.prlog.org

"There is no time like the present", or so the saying goes. But earlier today it turned out that the present isn't what it used to be as scientists from the University of Edinburgh announced that our international time zones are actually 20 minutes fast.

The reason? A geographical mistake that pegged Britain's position in the Atlantic some 240 miles too far east back when the original time zones were designed.

The mistake was discovered by post-doctoral Research Assistant Dr Tomas Domingues during routine historical analysis into how the horizon has shifted in regions of the United Kingdom over the millenia.

"I ran the numbers and it just didn't add up", says Dr Domnigues. "The equations wouldn't balance unless I moved all of the British Isles 240 miles to the left. So I'm afraid I have no choice but to inform the world that we all need to adjust our clocks. Today, if possible."

Dr Domingues' paper, "Shifting Sands of Time: How the United Kingdom ended up in the wrong place", lists a bewildering array of numbers that prove beyond a doubt his assertions are true. But why did no-one notice this before?

"I guess it was hiding in plain sight", says Domingues. "It's just not the sort of thing anyone thought to question."

The "TwitterSphere" is abuzz with the news, including Australian celebrity Rove McManus (http://twitter.com/rove1974) who tweeted "Scientists discover Britain is 240 miles west of where it was thought, so current time zone is 20 mins ahead".

The new time zone has been labelled "New Scottish Time", in honour of its place of discovery. Dr Domingues hopes that his paper will stimulate discussion about exactly what time it is.

For more information, contact Dr Tomas Domingues at tomas.domingues@gravityrail.com or on +44 7 901 666 578.

or Judy Adlington on at jadlingt@staffmail.ed.ac.uk or on +44 (0) 131 650 2624

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The University of Edinburgh is one of the top Universities in the Northern British Isles for geographic studies.

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