Tag Archives: time

Returning to standard time

April already. This morning the clocks went back an hour. Here’s the sunset (or maybe 10 minutes before it) yesterday, looking to the east:

sky with distant clouds on the horizon

And now here’s the same view today, almost the same sky, but the time was 17:23, which seems ridiculously early to be heading into night:

sky with distant clouds on the horizon again

I can’t see the sun going down in the west because of all the trees next door, damn them:

a very dull view of an almost non-existent sunset

But here’s the moon, which was overhead to the north when I was taking these photos yesterday:

half moon above a hoop pine

What I’m reading, Tue 20th

Paul Graham, Writing and speaking, Paul Graham blog, March 2012

Talks aren’t a good source of ideas. Good speakers succeed if they can motivate or move the audience, not because they have anything intelligent to say. They don’t have to make you think, they just have to make you feel. (I think this partly explains the rise in popularity of video online.)

But this part of his post partly explains why I hate phone calls:

Just as a speaker ad libbing can only spend as long thinking about each sentence as it takes to say it, a person hearing a talk can only spend as long thinking about each sentence as it takes to hear it.

In a phone call there’s never any time to think. I hate that. I can’t think and speak at the same time; I can’t think and listen at the same time. The whole phone call experience, just as in face to face conversation, is just about reacting – reacting – reacting. I hate that, and I’m no good at it. It never feels safe. I never feel in control of what I say – there’s no filter between what I think and what I say, I just blurt anything or everything or nothing, who knows. And I never feel in control of how I respond to the other person because I don’t know what’s coming next: What’s the reason for the call? What do they want? What am I being asked for – to do or be? I’d prefer it if they could give me a list of what’s coming up: “Next I’ll be talking about A, for which I’ll expect your support and warm congratulations; then we’ll move on to B, when I’ll be asking you a question, for which I’ll expect a fast response even though I’ll give you no time to think about it; and then C is going to be a doozy: I’ll reveal my plans for the next 10 years and ask you what you’ll be doing! Can’t wait, hey?”

I just don’t get real life, probably. It’s too quick. I don’t fit. I wasn’t made for it.

And that’s why I like writing things down: time. Lovely slow old time. It’s a luxury.

Cooking two-minute noodles always takes me at least five minutes. I think there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.


First day of autumn and it was hot. It’s still hot now, 20:02 20:42. The house feels like an oven, and I don’t have a fan here any more. There’s a bit of a breeze puffing in through the window, though, so that’s nice.

For the record, the sun went down at 19:13, I think. (I can’t see the western horizon from here because of all the tall trees next door, but 19:13 is when it looked like the last of the direct sunlight left the eastern horizon.) I wasn’t awake to see the sunrise this morning, but maybe tomorrow.

Something I was surprised to notice on this year’s calendar: times of sunrise and sunset for Australia’s biggest cities vary more than I’d expected. The calendar lists each city on a different day (so the times aren’t directly comparable); and the times are in standard time (so you’d need to adjust things where daylight saving is operating); but here they are:

March 01: Melbourne – sunrise: 06:05 – sunset: 19:00
March 02: Sydney – sunrise: 05:44 – sunset: 18:31
March 03: Brisbane – sunrise: 05:41 – sunset: 18:17
March 06: Perth – sunrise 06:38 – sunset: 18:18
March 07: Adelaide – sunrise 06:37 – sunset: 18:16

So, at the start of autumn, and unless I’ve messed up the numbers, sunrise times vary by up to 57 minutes; sunset, by 44.

But look what’s happening by the start of winter, in June:

June 01: Sydney – sunrise: 06:52 – sunset: 16:54
June 02: Brisbane – sunrise: 06:30 – sunset: 17:00
June 05: Perth – sunrise: 05:11 – sunset: 19:20
June 06: Adelaide – sunrise: 05:02 – 19:27
June 07: Melbourne – sunrise: 07:30 – sunset: 17:08

Sunrise varies by 2 hours 19 mins, and sunset by 2 hours 33 mins.

Can that be right? I can’t be bothered looking it up right now, but might do that later. It seems like such a large difference. I suppose it’s to be expected because of latitude differences (or longitude… I can’t be bothered looking that up, either), but obviously I didn’t expect it, and I’m surprised.


I’ve just checked the June sunrise/sunset figures, using the Geoscience Australia Compute Sunrise, Sunset & Twilight Times calculator, and the figures above for Perth and Adelaide are wrong. Here’s the whole June table, corrected:

June 01: Sydney – sunrise: 06:52 – sunset: 16:54
June 02: Brisbane – sunrise: 06:31 – sunset: 17:01
June 05: Perth – sunrise: 07:11 – sunset: 17:19
June 06: Adelaide – sunrise: 07:18 – sunset: 17:11
June 07: Melbourne – sunrise: 07:30 – sunset: 17:08

Well, that makes more sense now, doesn’t it? I don’t see how the calendar got things wrong. It’s not like someone confused time zones or something: the incorrect sunrise times were too early, but the incorrect sunset times were too late, and not by a set amount. Mystery.