“Is Florida faster than Boston or slower?”

Figure 1.

As I mentioned yesterday, we spent Christmas in Florida last year. As we were driving to the airport for our flight home, we started talking about time. Specifically, time zones and how they would affect our travel plans.

On hearing that when it’s 11:15 a.m. in Boston, it’s only 10:15 a.m. in Pensacola, Florida, The (then) Four-Year-Old asked: “Is Florida faster than Boston or slower?”

My response: “Um, no?”

Fortunately, she wasn’t asking me.

Daddyo, informatively: “That depends. If you’re talking about time zones, Boston is faster. Because Boston is in the Eastern time zone and Pensacola is in the Central time zone, folks in Boston are an hour ahead of folks in Pensacola. So kids in Boston go to bed an hour before kids in Pensacola.”

Figure 2.

The (then) Four-Year-Old, earnestly: “I want to stay in Pensacola, Daddyo.”

Daddyo, didactically: “But if you’re talking about how fast the earth itself is moving, the equator spins faster than the poles. Florida is closer to the equator than Massachusetts, so Pensacola is moving faster than Boston.”

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Image Credits:

To create the images for this Caterpickle, I borrowed two Blue Marble graphics from NASA’s Visible Earth project.

  • Figure 1: Land Surface, Shallow Water, and Shaded Topography. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds). Enhancements by Robert Simmon (ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation). Data and technical support: MODIS Land Group; MODIS Science Data Support Team; MODIS Atmosphere Group; MODIS Ocean Group Additional data: USGS EROS Data Center (topography); USGS Terrestrial Remote Sensing Flagstaff Field Center (Antarctica); Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (city lights). Original image available at NASA’s Visible Earth project.
  • Figure 2: The Blue Marble. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds). Enhancements by Robert Simmon (ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation). Data and technical support: MODIS Land Group; MODIS Science Data Support Team; MODIS Atmosphere Group; MODIS Ocean Group Additional data: USGS EROS Data Center (topography); USGS Terrestrial Remote Sensing Flagstaff Field Center (Antarctica); Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (city lights). Original image available at NASA’s Visible Earth project.
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About Shala Howell

Writer of things ranging from optical network switching white papers to genetic testing patient education materials to historical fiction set in an 1880s asylum. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), my writerly self can be found blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, or musing about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.wordpress.com.
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