Geography Education
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The Border That Stole 500 Birthdays

The Border That Stole 500 Birthdays | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The story behind the the International Date Line.

 

Not too long ago (Jan. 2012), the arbitrary International Date Line (roughly opposite the Prime Meridian) was moved to better accommodate the regional networks and economic geography of the area straddling the line.  American Samoa, although politically aligned with the United States, was functionally more integrated on the Asian side of the Pacific Rim when it came to their trade partners and their tourism base.  Dynamic economic networks, political allegiances and cultural commonalities create a beautifully complex situation near this 'border.'    

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 17, 2014 10:18 PM

Makes you think about the political and economic influences on just about anything. What time or day it is is an important element to a global economy. Know when business deals can be made in an instance knowing what standards are most efficient can alter systems of dating. That is why instead of having a straight line the line is jutting out in spots. Usually we think of our time zones being dependent on where the sun in relation to our location but in this instance we see that it is merely a man made line that can be altered. 

WILBERT DE JESUS's curator insight, April 27, 2015 1:06 PM

This is to me the coolest geographic location in the World... A group of islands nation located in both the south and north hemispheres and also to both the east and west of the international time line zone.

Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, May 1, 2015 8:06 PM

500 birthdays were taken away due to an international date line. In Samoa is in a confused state between the united states and the Asian pacific side of the timeline which would cause time and dates to be confusing.Dynamic economic networks and political allegiances have created a very difficult situation for the people near the border in Samoa.  The International Date line in Samoa is something that is needed to be watched and paid attention because it can affect people in ways that can be very significant even at a small tiny rate.

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This week, Samoa will skip Friday

This week, Samoa will skip Friday | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Just this once, Samoa is making Dec. 30 disappear."

 

I hope you enjoy your Friday, because they won't in Samoa.  It didn't even happen, since they've canceled Friday Dec. 30th and just skipped straight to Dec 31st.  This would make no sense without an understanding of the International Date Line and the regional economic networks of Oceania.  Since Samoa's economy in tightly connected to New Zealand and Australia (on the 'other' side of the IDL) it's financially beneficial to have their work weeks line up to faciliate same day communications and business interactions.   For more see: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-29/samoa-time-zone-jump/3751254 and http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/world/asia/samoa-to-skip-friday-and-switch-time-zones.html?ref=sethmydans

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 26, 2014 2:20 PM

I agree with the decision Samoa made to switch to the West side of the International Date Line. By doing this, the country completely skipped a day. Also, years ago Samoa switched from driving on the right side of the road (American style) to the left side (British style). They made these changes because their economy is connected to countries on the other side of the IDL, such as Australia and New Zealand.  

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 11:10 AM

Samoa and its neighbor Tokelau decided to undergo a time change that would align them with their Asian trading partners. With this new time zone, Samoa will be three hours ahead of eastern Australia as opposed to being 21 hours behind and 22 hours ahead of California, rather than the previous 2 hours it was behind it. In the Pacific, this tactic of shifting time is not unusual as many island nations have, at one point or another, shifted time zones, date lines, and daylight savings times. This move will make it much easier for Samoa to do business with Australia and New Zealand, which is important because their economies are linked closely to the rest of Asia, especially China. Samoa's prime minister explicitly stated that these economic factors were the driving forces behind this time change decision and the decision had nothing to do with trying to be the first country to enter the new year. I was surprised that a country could just decide this type of change at any point, but there seems to be no legal reason why a country could not do that. Whatever time zone a country feels it should enter it can, but telling the citizens about such a change seems like it would be hard to do. When everyone is accustomed to a certain time zone, I feel like making this change can have an effect on people especially those who travel. Getting used to a new time zone seems like it would take time to adjust to, but I guess for island nations in the Pacific, this is no new phenomenon as others have already engaged in these moves.

 

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 4, 2015 12:41 PM

Samoa is making a lot of changes.  Just reading about the time zone switch called for the need to focus on the switches.  I understand they want to stay up with business times in Brisbane.  The PM switched the driving side from right to left to be inline with New Zealand and Australia.  Now the PM is going to try to change the flag.  Maybe Samoa is making a few too many changes.  Where's the cultural identity going?