The Pacific Night

Almost exactly 10 years after the UK smoking ban came into force, I’m trying to get a prototype new kind of smoky-drinky bar off the ground, to get round that obnoxious piece of legislation.

It’s a sort of Wright Brothers’ enterprise. And the Smoky Drinky Bar has been been hopping and skipping along the sands at Kitty Hawk, getting off the ground for a few hours or minutes, before falling back to ground again. What I want is a sustained flight with only the very occasional landing. I want to see the Smoky Drinky Bar flying for days on end.

The Smoky Drinky Bar touches down onto the ground when it has zero or one bar-goers in it. And it gains height as it acquires more than one. I want to get it to the point where it’s always got two or more people in it.

Unlike all other bars, the Smoky Drinky Bar can have customers from all over the world. People from New Zealand can (and do) visit it at the same time as people from England, on the other side of the world. Last night I was talking to people from Germany, USA, and New Zealand in the Smoky Drinky Bar. Ordinary bars draw their clientele from a small geographic area, maybe less than a mile around them, maybe with only a few thousand people in it. But a smoky drinky bar’s clientele can come from anywhere in a world in which 7 billion people live.

If the problem right now is to just get a smoky-drinky bar off the ground for long enough for it to be regarded as having “taken off”, the problem thereafter is likely to be what to do when the attendance exceeds 12 people, the maximum number of seats available in the current Smoky Drinky Bar.

But the highest attendance so far has only been eight people. So we’ve yet to see what happens when it reaches its maximum altitude.

I was thinking this morning that if the Smoky Drinky bar has any location, it’s at the North or South Pole of the Earth. And its clientele is drawn successively from successive geographic longitudes as the Earth spins, with the direction of the succession always moving westwards. So if the first east coast (UTC-5) American customers start entering the bar at 0 hours UT (Universal Time, also known as GMT) the last Americans will start arriving at UTC-10.

And then the Russians will start arriving, and remain present (in gradually mounting numbers) for the next 11 hours, because Russia has 11 time zones, running from UTC+2 to UTC+12.

And then the Europeans at UTC+0 and UTC+1 will show up.

There seem to be two gaps in the time zones, the Atlantic ocean gap between UTC-1 and UTC-4, and a Pacific ocean gap between UTC-10 and UTC+12.

Americans go to bed when Russians get up. Perhaps this was (and still is) the cause of the Cold War, because they seldom get to meet each other:

Cory Doctorow, scifi author and BoingBoing co-founder, once wrote a scifi novel called Eastern Standard Tribe (available free). It was fun read but what I enjoyed most was his idea that people would belong to a “tribe” based on their time zone. In Doctorow’s world, your loyalties lie not with the country of your birth but with the people who are up when you are. (includes world time zone map)

The Pacific ocean time zones are the world’s “night”, because when the the Sun is over the Pacific between UTC-10 and UTC-12, more or less everyone in the world is asleep. And 12 hours later, at “noon”, the world takes a short siesta.

Peak time zone populations are UTC+8 (China), UTC+6 (India) and UTC+1 (Europe).

I’m thinking that I may adapt my orbital simulation model, which has a spherical spinning Earth map, to find out how many people might be likely to visit the Smoky Drinky Bar at any one time, by using the above populations, and the assumption that most people want to meet up and talk in bars in the evenings after work. I might also be able to find the dominant language at any one time.

I could also find out how English waxes and wanes over every 24 hours, using information like this:

About a third of Russians (30 percent) speak English to one degree or another: 20 percent can read and translate using a dictionary, 7 percent are familiar with colloquial language, and 3 percent are fluent speakers, according to Romir research holding.3 Dec 2015

or use a List of countries by English-speaking population.

I might then be able to find how many people are needed to keep the Smoky Drinky Bar busy all day, and only closing during the Pacific Night.

Spinning Earth in my model, shows the Pacific Night when the Sun viewpoint is above the Pacific ocean at 0:02 and 0:17 seconds in:

About Frank Davis

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7 Responses to The Pacific Night

  1. garyk30 says:

    Perhaps you could provide free snacks as well as free drinks. 😛😛😛😛

  2. garyk30 says:

    If Junican drops by today, wish him ‘Happy Birthday!!!’.

  3. Smoking Lamp says:

    There is a nice article over at Spiked about the smoking ban and pubs. It’s called “HOW THE SMOKING BAN KILLED OFF THE LOCAL BOOZER”

    It is written by Rob Lyons who also wrote the new Forest report “Road to Ruin? The Impact of the Smoking Ban on Pubs and Personal Choice”

    Of course there is a growing cadre of antismoker weighing in to claim that the smoking thing was the best thing government has done in the last 50 years, etc…

    • beobrigitte says:

      Tobacco control&friends insist that it was the cheap supermarket alcohol that did it.

      I’m a smoker and I KNOW WHY I stopped going to the local pub(s)!

      I do feel for the landlords, surely they still miss us smokers. But within a week or so I’ve become quite a regular at the smokydrinkybar. (oh-ey, Frank, throw in some crisps, peanuts all the time is boring!!)

      Of course there is a growing cadre of antismoker weighing in to claim that the smoking thing was the best thing government has done in the last 50 years, etc…
      I wouldn’t expect anything else from them.
      However, they’ve still got some explaining to do.
      The baby boomer generation, now in their 50s to 70s, should stop thinking about putting their feet up when they retire – and maybe not retire at all for the sake of their health, according to the government’s chief medical officer.
      Hang on!!!
      Some 42% of 50-64 year-olds have at least one health condition and 24% have more than one. Staying active through appropriate work – heavy physical work such as building may not be advisable – or volunteering will help. Social engagement is also very important for mental health.
      It gets even better:
      The report, Baby Boomers: Fit for the Future, will also look at the sex lives of older people and the need to keep their weight under control, in order to avoid debilitating illnesses when they reach old age.
      Soooooo, the baby-boomers are still alive despite the smoking booming in their youths too?? And they are advised to work for much longer to keep “healthy”?
      Fit for the Future, will also look at the sex lives of older people and the need to keep their weight under control…
      Erm… can we have some privacy? At least to the point where our lives are being fitted into the routine of any Hell’s Rest Home nicely named “Dove Heaven”?
      FACT is, we are still here.

  4. Clicky says:

  5. beobrigitte says:

    Americans go to bed when Russians get up. Perhaps this was (and still is) the cause of the Cold War, because they seldom get to meet each other…
    It’s the same with the English and the Australians/New Zealanders. It’s actually quite funny when it’s pitch black outside whilst talking to people who just start their working day/have breakfast at the smokydrinkybar.

    Will dive right back in when my phone is charged!

  6. Rose says:

    The Guardian has been rather brave.

    Smoking ban 10 years on: share your memories and experience.
    27th June 2017

    “A decade since smoking bans came into force in the UK we would like to hear from readers on how the ban has affected them”

    1. Please tell us about your memories of the smoking ban in 2007
    (How did the ban affect your life at the time? Were you in favour of the ban?”

    2. What impact has the ban had on you in the years that have passed since?
    (Please describe in as much detail as possible)

    3. How do you feel about the ban now, in 2017?
    (Does the ban go far enough and could the government/industry do more?)

    1. I walked away from the pub a week before the ban. I won’t participate in my own public humiliation nor appear to be obeying a law I utterly despise.

    2. Social isolation and a burning resentment that never quite leaves me.

    3. See above.

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