The second annual Greenwich Time Symposium will take place on Saturday 25th October at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Each symposia takes a sideways look at a particular aspect of timekeeping by presenting the views and experiences of international writers, artists and historians working in the field.
The inaugural symposium took place on a cold Saturday in February last year. The topic under discussion then was ‘Long Time’ and attracted speakers as diverse as Laura Williams on the Aluna Clock project, Alexander Rose of the The Long Now Foundation, and artists Thompson and Craighead. David Rooney, the Curator of Timekeeping for the Royal Observatory returns again this year.
Although the word symposium has become synonymous with a specific type of academic conference I was amused to discover that the original Greek derivation meant “drinking party”. I still think they’ll be serving tea and coffee though.
This years symposium entitled “Time Bandits” is looking at the controversial temporal institution of Daylight Saving Time (DST). The idea was originally proposed by a London builder named William Willett exactly 100 years ago this year. I’m sure it’s no accident that the symposium has been scheduled to take place the day before the next European DST changeover.
If you read my piece on the AS3 Date Class you’ll know I’m not a big fan of DST. My biggest issue with it, as a programmer, is it’s random implementation across territories and time. The US for example changed their DST rules last year and even some regions within territories don’t observe it. This ad-hoc de-centralised implementation makes it a nightmare to code.