Who’s Up? Global Interpersonal Temporal Accessibility

  • Andrew S. Harvey
  • Paul A. Macnab
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


A petroleum executive sitting at her desk in Houston knows when a satellite phone call might find her chief geologist hard at work in Uzbekistan, but this is nothing new. Since the end of the World War II, many a British veteran has maintained scheduled weekly contact with ham radio comrades half-a-day away in Australasia. And long before the Tokyo Stock Exchange operated on a 24-hour cycle, brokers in New York City knew when to reach colleagues at the office in Japan; if they weren’t certain, all they had to do was glance up at one of the half dozen or so clocks mounted on the wall. Even new initiates to the World Wide Web learn quickly that file transfers can be expedited by downloading from sites in countries where most of the population lies dormant. Computer-mediated communication across time zones surely must reach its zenith in emergency tele-medicine: interactive specialists in Toronto, Paris, and Auckland confer while viewing digital injuries sent from backpack transmitters by doctors on the ground in war-torn Bosnia. Fine and well, but when might a Japanese child log on in the classroom to chat with a virtual pen-pal in Canada? Chances are, never. Even in the near future of affordable webcams, speech recognition, and simultaneous translation, it will be impossible for students in Halifax to converse with sister-city pupils in Hakodate. Why? When Japanese students start school at 9 o’clock in the morning, it is 10 o’clock at night on Canada’s east coast. Simply put, one city or the other is always going to be asleep.


Social Space General Social Survey Time Zone Social Circle Coupling Constraint 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew S. Harvey
    • 1
  • Paul A. Macnab
    • 2
  1. 1.Time Use Research Program, Department of EconomicsHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of GeographySaint Mary’s UniversityHalifaxCanada

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