Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Prime Meridian is 125 Years Old this week...

Why am I bringing this up? Because I love odd things... and because I believe anyone who reads here probably does too!

This week marks the 125 anniversary of a meeting of 41 delegates from 25 different nations to decide just where 0°,0' would be. They gathered in Washington D.C to decide just where time and space should be measured.  Why and how did Greenwich win out over places like Washington, Paris and Berlin? It seems 72% of the world's shipping already used sea charts that used Greenwich as the Prime Meridian... Still, it was a drawn out and difficult summit that finally decided with a vote of 22 to one with San Domingo against it, and France and Brazil actually abstaining from the vote.

Why was this an important thing? Up until then, time was often based on the passage of the sun across the sky and anyone could decide what time it was in a certain place. Many countries and sometimes even individual towns would set their own arbitrary times. With the advent of things like railways, factories and widespread communications networks, it became important for a standard global time to be set so everyone would know what time it was both where they were and anyplace else.

O.K.... I admit it, I am a Geek and the oddest things fascinate me. However, if you want to see more about this and other related things, I recommend looking here on BBC News, and also here, and, of course, Wikipedia also has an article

You may now thank me for filling your head full of another piece of trivia you probably didn't need. Bwahahaha!


Indigo said...

Wicked! Fascinating, more so because I can tell Paul and he's filled with trivia like this. (Hugs)Indigo

Barry Buchanan said...

Yea I'd say you are ageek, but you are in good company. I too suffer from being interested in such things. Great post!