In summer 2015 isolated North Korea created its own unique time zone, known as Pyongyang Standard Time, is what an attempt, they said, to break away from the time zone imposed by Japan's "imperialists". The new time zone, set back by 30 minutes to UTC+8.30, came into force on 15 August coinciding with the country's 70th anniversary of liberation from Japanese forces.
More than just another example of the rogue nation's weird behaviour this highlights the flawed logic surrounding time zones, say prominent economist at John Hopkins University, Steve Hanke, and professor of physics and astronomy, Dick Henry, of the same university.
After all the time zones do throw up some bonkers situations. For example, Russia has 11 time zones, whilst China has just one.
In Australia, there is a time zone, Australian Central Western Standard Time which is UTC+8.45, that has just a few hundred people living in it. Nepal is the only country to have a time zone that is set to 15 minutes past the hour and after recalibrating their time zones Samoa and Tokelau lost the whole of 30 December, 2011.
One time zone to rule them all…
So a few years ago Hanke and Henry joined forces to suggest a new calendar. Imaginatively titled the "Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar" they proposed we abolish all time zones and just have one time for everyone. Which, for those living in London, would be business as usual but everyone would need a tad of adjustment.
In correspondence with the Washington Post the pair say that the world should adopt the time zone on Monday, 1 January 2018. They said: "From a physics point of view, there is only one time. And this principle of physics lines up perfectly with the principles of economics.
"Local solar time was fine, when almost all activity was local. Today, much activity is global, and one time is called for. You'd quickly get used to the new reading on your watch and your clock.
"The reason all the airlines in the world use, today, now, Universal Time (Greenwich time), is so that planes don't crash into each other. Every pilot and navigator knows what time it is.
One time zone to bind them…
"As it stands now, we passengers don't have what the pilots do have and we miss flights because of clock issues and time zones and daylight savings time and it's not just airline flights, it is conference calls as well."
The pair do concede that there may be teething problems with the new system as countries set up their own unique hours of work. This they say was mastered by China with its one time zone combined with local work time that is linked to the sun being up.
And as part of their proposals the pair also suggest adopting a reformed permanent calendar where 1 January is always a Monday and, for the more superstitious, there are no Friday the 13<sup>ths.