Time Zones

Greetings from the University of Syracuse in the upstate New York. I just arrived here recently (August 11), and have began adjusting my psyche to the new environment. It really feels weird to cross several time zones. I flew out of Narita at about 3 PM, and witnessed dusk and darkness at 6 PM high up thousands of altitudes. When I was just about to sleep at 10 PM (supposedly), it suddenly became 11 AM as we cruised the Pacific and landed Detroit at 2 PM. It was like I was robbed of my night and felt more weird to have skipped morning. I arrived Syracuse at 6 PM like I never moved dates (left Manila on August 11 and arrived on the same day). Time zones are amazing. When the first-ever world time zone conference or the so-called International Prime Meridian Conference was held in 1884 in Washington DC, the aim was to harmonize the different local times of all countries which were just using the sun as the basis for setting the time (solar time). And since then, longitudes and latitudes, as well as the Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT), International Date Lines (IDL) and the Universal Time Coordination (UTC) have been used. Thanks to the transcontinental trains, especially those crossing the US and Canadian borders in the 1800s. With the trains crossing several countries, the mass confusion of what the exact local time was (since there were different local times) led to the need of coming up with a standard time for all. And so the trains became the mother of invention for time zones, and the Canadian railway engineer Sir Sandford Fleming (1827-1915) became the acknowledged Father of Standardized Time because he developed the system of worldwide time zones that have been used until now.

Its summer time now in Syracuse, sunny but its cold (already for me). And sunset is at 9 PM, whew! This is my first experience of a semblance white night! I also need to get myself familiar with US cents. They all look the same. And the giant pizzas and burgers here are not good for our health; I need to start jogging.

I'm attending my Hubert Humphrey - Fulbright Fellowship at the Maxwell School at the Syracuse University, touted as the No. 1 graduate school of public affairs and public administration in the whole of US for many years now (Harvard is only 2nd in rank). It's also nice to know that Maxwell School is the first to open the public administration program in the US in the late 1920s (it has the oldest and longest-running public affairs and public policy program blended with social science curriculum in the country). I'll be working on global corruption and integrity initiatives for a year, as part of my work with the Ehem Anticorruption Group. As a research university, Syracuse has a lot of interesting historical and pioneering accomplishments since its foundation in 1870 .

Welcome to the Orange City (and the orange carpet, not red carpet), the land of the great Orange Basketball Team (NCAA Divison), the Orange Football Team and the Orange Lacrosse Team. CUSE (Syracuse nick) is also home to the touching memorial of the 35 students who were among the fatalities in the terrorist bombing of Flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

I'll be staying around to live the Orange life until next year, and adhere to its wonderful philosophy: Suos cultores scientia coronat! Knowledge crowns those who seek her!