Your Morning Dump... Where it's 'go time' and the time difference is messing with my head

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Your Morning Dump... Where it's 'go time' and the time difference is messing with my head


Your Morning Dump... Where it's 'go time' and the time difference is messing with my head


Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

“It’s go-time now,” said Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. “This is the real thing. We’ve been together for about a month now, almost a month, we’ve built some chemistry. We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well. Everybody’s just ready for the first game. “

“Yeah, it’s kicked in,” Walker said. “Next game we play, it’s for real. It’s the real thing. We’re just focused. We’re locked in and just ready to play.”

Team USA begins Group E play (which includes the Czech Republic, Japan, and Turkey) on Sunday, September 1. They’ll face the Czech Republic at 8:30 am Eastern time. The top two teams in each group advance to the second round.


Well kids, the Celtics’ pre-season starts in just a couple days. From Sunday morning on, we should have plenty of Celtics basketball to discuss right up until, hopefully, some time next June.

Of course this first little morceau comes courtesy of the good folks at FIBA, Team USA Basketball, and all of the NBA stars that, in true Little-Red-Hen-style wanted nothing to do with the work required to compete for the World Cup.

Like the Celtics’ season upcoming, I’m bullish on Team USA’s prospects. As Chris Forsberg points out in a piece for NBC Sports, Tatum and Brown are really really insanely young. I think that anyone who reads Tatum’s sophomore slump as anything more than a delayed adjustment to the rigors of the NBA game is reading too much into things.

The games will be available for live streaming on ESPN+, and for folks out on the Pacific coast it looks like they’ll be over before the workday begins–give or take. I’ll try to post recaps for the morning dumps whenever our schedules overlap.

And now a divagation on the time difference between here and Shanghai.

Strictly in terms of where the sun’s at in the ol’ sky, eight in the evening in Boston corresponds to roughly eight in the morning in Shanghai.

However, because we’re people and we insist on keeping track of the days on which things happen as well as the time, it’s also helpful to know what day it is in Shanghai when it’s eight in the evening in Boston. Is it eight in the morning of the same day? Or is it eight in the morning of the next day?

The answer, surprisingly, doesn’t matter, as long as it’s consistent.

That is, we, being humans, have made a rather arbitrary decision that when it’s 8PM in Boston on Sunday, it’s 8AM in Shanghai on Monday.

Proof that it doesn’t matter goes something like this:

Imagine that you’re on the west side of the International Date Line, on say, the Gilbert Islands. According to your good old sundial, it’s 8AM, and according to your calendar it’s Saturday, August 31. Well, what happens when you call up your buddy in American Samoa? According to his sundial it’s 9AM, but his calendar says it’s Friday the 30th.

Now, if the International Date Line were moved just a titch eastward, so that both American Samoa and the Gilbert Islands were on the same side of the line, it would still be 8AM where you’re at, and 9AM where your buddy’s at, but it would be August 31 in both locations. The time corresponds, roughly, to where the sun’s at in the sky, so it’s attached to something external and measurable, but the date? That’s just something we all agree on. It’s Friday on this side of the line and it’s Saturday on that side of the line.

If the line ran right through Kansas City, Missouri, it would work exactly the same way. Except it would be really confusing for people in South Dakota who would be enjoying their weekend while people in Massachusetts would be struggling through a Friday (and vice versa on Sunday). And, of course, if you lived east of the line, you could make every weekend a three day weekend by crossing the date line at 5:00 on Thursday, just making sure you got back to your side by Monday morning on the +1 day side, because it would magically become Sunday morning again.

Fortunately, we can minimize such zaniness because the world has a gigantic ocean that we can drop the date line through. There are entire time zones in this ocean that have only a few small uninhabited islands in them. (for instance: nobody lives in the GMT -12 time zone). Unfortunately, because the date line is arbitrary, people can put it pretty much wherever they want; it doesn’t have to follow a straight line.

This has some unusual consequences.

For instance, let’s take the Line Islands. They are the easternmost chain in the island nation of Kiribati, which consists of about 310 square miles of land in roughly 1.3 million square miles of sea. About 110,000 people live in Kiribati, and of those 110,000, about 8,000 live on the Line Islands.

The Line Islands, unfortunately, are quite a ways east of the 180th meridian, which is where the date line should be.

Thus Kiribati is in something of a predicament: They can do one of the following three things:

  • Have the date line run right through their country, meaning that 8,000 people are always going to be a day behind everyone else
  • Completely ignore the difference between solar time and clock time and put everyone on the same time zone, even though this means that the sun will always set before 5PM in the Line Islands, which would really suck if you were a 9-5 working stiff.
  • Keep adding hours the farther east you go.

The government of Kiribati chose the third option, and thus if you’re living in the Line Islands, you are 25 hours ahead of the folks living in American Samoa, which is pretty amazing when you consider that there are only 24 hours in a day.

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