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Title text: The month names are the same, except that the fourth month only has the name 'April' in even-numbered years, and is otherwise unnamed.
This comic is a reference to the paradox in complexity theory that if you attempt to simplify a system of problems by creating a new system of evaluation for the problems you have instead made the problem more complex than it was originally.
The year 1958 is relevant because January 1, 1958 is the epoch (time zero) in International Atomic Time (TAI), which is part of the basis for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). (The main difference is that TAI doesn’t have leap seconds).
"24 hours 4 minutes" because the period of rotation of the Earth is 24 hours MINUS four minutes.
EST = Eastern Standard Time (USA) or England Standard Time (UK); there's no easy way to disambiguate this since it is a common time zone for English speakers in the USA and UK.
"Run clocks backward" a possible reference to the leap second.
"0.9144" because 1 yard = 0.9144 meters
"triple 4 hours after every full moon" = add on an additional 12 hours every full moon, to make the time between full moons exactly 30 "days" (in real life it's 29.5 days).
The one obvious reference is to Narnian time, which is a reference to the fictitious world of Narnia in CS Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. In Narnia, time passes much more quickly than in the real world. You could be in Narnia for several days and only a few minutes would have passed in the real world.
- XKCD Presents
- EARTH STANDARD TIME
- A Universal Calendar for a Universal Planet
- EST is...
- Simple * Clearly Defined * Unambiguous
- Free of Historical Baggage * Compatible with Old Units
- Precisely Synced with the Solar Cycle * Free of Leap Years
- Intermittently Amenable to Date Math
- Second: 1 S.I. Second
- Minute: 60 seconds
- Hour: 60 minutes
- Day: 1444 minutes (24 hours 4 minutes)
- Month: 30 Days
- Year: 12 months
- For 4 hours after every full moon, run clocks backward.
- The non-prime-numbered minutes of the first full non-reversed hour after a solstice or equinox happen twice.
- 00:00:00 EST, January 1, 1970 = 00:00:00 GMT, January 1, 1970 (Julian calendar)
- [Time Zones]
- The two EST time zones are
- EST and EST (United Kingdom). These are the same except that the UK second is 0.944 standard seconds.
- Daylight saving: Countries may enter DST, but no time may pass there.
- Narnian Time: Synchronized.
- Year Zero: EST does have a year 0. (However, there is no 1958.)