What do Ian Anderson and Samoa have in common? They're both tired of Living in the Past!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/05/11 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2011/05/11/10163240.aspx

I've been a fan of Jethro Tull for a while now.

I even remember a show back in the 80's that I had no business being at where Ian Anderson gave as spiel about the song Living in the Past:

This is an oldie that we utterly loathed for fifteen long years. But it's now resurrected in a slightly more tricky form, to make it a little more fun to play. It's called Living in the Past!

I remembered it pretty well, even better because it appeared on a few bootlegs I had copies of (a bit more impressive of a feat before Internet music downloads made getting live bootlegs more of a "stay-at-home" deal) and on a 20-year compilation not too many years later.

Anyway, i was thinking about that song, about that spiel. And about the fact that Ian and Martin really didn't care for that song as much as the fans did.

Just the other day.

Because I was watching all the stories about how Samoa, which by being at the very edge of the end of the International Date Line to better connect with the US, was planning to make the move to be at the very beginning of it to better connect with new Zealand/Australia.

Talk about a cool way to get out of the business of Living in the Past! Ian Anderson must be so proud!

You can read about the story in articles like Samoa to go Back to the Future, shifting date line:

APIA (AP) – Samoa plans to leap 24 hours into the future, erasing a day and putting a new kink in the Pacific's jagged international date line so that it can be on the same weekday as Australia, New Zealand and eastern Asia.

It'll be Back to the Future for the island nation, offsetting a decision it made 119 years ago to stay behind a day and align itself with US traders based in California.

That has meant that when it's dawn Sunday in Samoa, it's already dawn yesterday in adjacent Tonga and shortly before dawn yesterday in nearby New Zealand, Australia and increasingly prominent eastern Asia trade partners such as China.

Samoa has found its interests lying more with the Asia-Pacific region and now wants to switch back to the west side of the line, which separates one calendar day from the next and runs roughly north-to-south through the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

"In doing business with New Zealand and Australia we're losing out on two working days a week," Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said in a statement. "While it's Friday here, it's Saturday in New Zealand and when we're at church on Sunday, they're already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane."

Samoa's change will have a cost: The Polynesian nation has long marketed itself as the last place on Earth to see each day's sunset.

"It will be really confusing for us. I just don't see the point, and we don't know the benefits yet," multimedia company official Laufa Lesa, 30, told The Associated Press in an interview from the Samoan capital Apia.

"The government says it's good for the economy, but it's totally fine the way it is now," Lesa said.

The prime minister already has a new tourism angle: You can easily celebrate the same day twice, because the next-door US territory of American Samoa will stay on the California side of the date line and remain one day behind.

"You can have two birthdays, two weddings and two wedding anniversaries on the same date — on separate days — in less than an hour's flight across (the ocean), without leaving the Samoan chain," Tuilaepa said.

Tuilaepa has proposed leaping forward by scratching this year's Dec. 31 from the calendar and holding New Year's celebrations one night early, though the date hasn't been confirmed.

The original shift to the east side of the line was conducted in 1892 when Samoa celebrated July 4 twice, giving a nod to Independence Day in the US

The date line drawn by mapmakers is not mandated by any international body. By tradition, it runs roughly through the 180-degree line of longitude, but it zigzags to accommodate choices of Pacific nations on how to align their calendars.

Nearly as many Samoans now live in Australia and New Zealand as the 180,000 living in the islands, which are located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii and rely on fruit and vegetable exports as well as tourism.

In 2009, Tuilaepa enacted a law that switched cars to driving on the left side of the road instead of the right, also to bring Samoa in line with Australia and New Zealand. He said at the time the change made it easier for Samoans in Australia and New Zealand to send used cars home to their relatives. Opponents predicted major traffic problems, but they never happened.

"Today we do a lot more business with New Zealand and Australia, China and Pacific Rim countries such as Singapore," the prime minister said, adding that his latest idea will make commerce with the region "far, far easier."

Many other articles on the web talk about other fine points on the issue.

Like the fact that there is no international regulating body that governs either time zones.

Or daylight savings time.

Or the International Date Line.

And how there can be a lag before maps catch up -- if all of them ever do (some like simpler lines and do not cover the wild changes in the various lines to include and unincluded various locations that find it to their advantage to

Companies like Microsoft?

They just pick up the pieces when new time zones are created out of nothing this way, or when people move around.

Maybe UTC - 11:00 Samoa will become UTC - 11:00 American Samoa.

And there will be an interesting bit of work to migrate people to the completely new time zone or the renamed one.

perhaps based on what they claim as their current location:


 It should be interesting.

And then by the end of the year, Samoa won't be Living in the Past anymore. And what's more, Samoa will have officially decided  to do their own riff on the Tull's A New Day Yesterday by skipping a day completely!

Ian Anderson must be so jealous....

ErikF on 11 May 2011 10:30 PM:

Well, Samoa could have had the best of both worlds and kept a little piece of its territory on the east side of the date line. That would make things ever so much more fun for you! :)

Michael S. Kaplan on 11 May 2011 11:09 PM:

More fun if a city in the Western piece decided not to go along with it -- it would be like Indiana on steroids!

John Cowan on 16 May 2011 1:39 PM:

[Third try to post a version of this]

A classic riddle:

Q. "What happened in the Philippines on Tuesday, December 31, 1844?"

A. "Absolutely nothing!"

That day was skipped completely as the Philippines moved from the American to the Asian side of the IDL.  Spain had traditionally governed the islands as part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of southern South America, so the same date was used throughout.

Something even weirder happened in Russian Alaska in 1867.  People went to sleep on Friday, October 6, and woke up the next day on Friday, October 18!  Quoth Wikipedia: "With the transfer of governance, the date line was shifted (moving Alaska back a day), and the calendar was changed [from Julian to Gregorian] (moving Alaska ahead 12 days), and being effective at midnight the calendar moved ahead one day as well, for a net change of 12 days."

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referenced by

2012/03/13 I don't care what time it was (except when I *really* care about what time it was, I mean)

2011/12/29 What do Samoa and Seattle have in common? The sun won't shine on either on Dec 30th!

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