An enjoyably time-wasting diversion:

In theory, the planet has 24 time zones. Actually, there are about 39, and they are still hotly debated. Within the past month, President Hugo Chavez has talked of moving Venezuela’s clocks forward half an hour, and Indian scientists have urged their government to do the same.

India is currently the most significant part of the world with a half-hourly time zone – five hours behind Greenwich. This has a curious advantage for British journalists there worrying about deadlines, because you can get GMT by the simple trick of turning your watch upside down (trust me, it works). Nepal and the Chatham Islands actually have quarter-hour zones, which is really confusing.

... The Chinese force the entire country, even the far west, to observe Beijing time.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.