World Time Calculator, or “Dial-a-Time”

Randall Munroe's world time dial (

Here’s one of the funniest ways to tell world time that I have ever seen. I call it “Dial-a-Time,” although that’s not the official name for it. (The official name is “”.)

First of all, with this graphic you have to get used to the fact that you are looking at the world from Antarctica on upward, er, north. In the Northern Hemisphere, at least, we usually look south from the North Pole. Then you realize that the country/continent names are the same color in the text as they are on the map. Cool, huh? Bet he did it on purpose. Then look at the time scales. (My favorite is “Rude to Call,” 10 pm to 8 am.)

Cut out the circles, spike the middle, and stick the dial by the phone. You’ll never call Kamchatka before breakfast time again.

Randall Munroe, the creator of this and other mad comic ventures into science, has his own blog at (well, DUH), “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” Here’s how he describes himself:

“I’m just this guy, you know? I’m a CNU graduate with a degree in physics. Before starting xkcd, I worked on robots at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. As of June 2007 I live in Massachusetts. In my spare time I climb things, open strange doors, and go to goth clubs dressed as a frat guy so I can stand around and look terribly uncomfortable. At frat parties I do the same thing, but the other way around.”

Randall Munroe's September book tour ( comic artist has a book coming out from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 2: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. You can pre-order it at IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Also available in English English and in German. Randall is pretty excited to be going on a national book tour from Tuesday, September 2 to Sunday, September 14 to the places featured on this map. For specifics, go to his Blag Page! (I want him to stop in Chicago, but he insists on going only coast-to-coast.)

Randall’s favorite astronomical entity is the Pleiades. I say that with some pride, because it seems that we’re related. The Pleiades shine out of the constellation Taurus, which is my own astrological sign.

The Pleiades, in the constellation Taurus (NASA/ESA/Aura/Caltech, public domain)

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