Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Clocks also function Anticlockwise - Bolivia

As the earth turns on its axis, the sun appears to move across our sky.The shadows cast by the sun move in a clockwise (hence the definition of clockwise) direction for objects in the northern hemisphere. If the same clock is used in southern hemisphere (Eg.Australia),the shadows cast by the sun move in a anti clockwise direction. 

Circular motion can occur in two possible directions. A clockwise (typically abbreviated as CW) motion is one that proceeds in the same direction as a clock's hands: from the top to the right, then down and then to the left, and back up to the top. The opposite sense of rotation or revolution is (in North American English) counterclockwise (CCW), or (in Commonwealth English) anticlockwise (ACW). In a mathematical sense, a circle defined parametrically in a positive Cartesian plane by the equations x = cos t and y = sin t is traced counterclockwise as t increases in value.

Before clocks were commonplace, the terms "sunwise" and "deasil", "deiseil" and even "deocil" from the Scottish Gaelic language and from the same root as the Latin "dexter" ("right") were used for clockwise. "Widdershins" or "withershins" (from Middle Low German "weddersinnes", "opposite course") was used for counterclockwise.

The terms clockwise and counterclockwise can only be applied to a rotational motion once a side of the rotational plane is specified, from which the rotation is observed. For example, the daily rotation of the Earth is counterclockwise when viewed from above the North Pole, and clockwise when viewed from above the South Pole.

Clocks traditionally follow this sense of rotation because of the clock's predecessor: the sundial. Clocks with hands were first built in the Northern Hemisphere (see main article), and they were made to work like sundials. In order for a horizontal sundial to work (in the Northern Hemisphere), it must be placed looking southward. Then, when the Sun moves in the sky (east to south to west), the shadow cast on the opposite side of the sundial moves with the same sense of rotation (west to north to east). This is why hours were drawn in sundials in that manner, and why modern clocks have their numbers set in the same way. Note, however, that on a vertical sundial (such as those placed on the walls of buildings), the shadow moves in the opposite direction, and some clocks were constructed to mimic this. The best-known surviving example is the astronomical clock in the M√ľnster Cathedral, whose hands move counterclockwise.

Occasionally, clocks whose hands revolve counterclockwise are nowadays sold as a novelty. Historically, some Jewish clocks were built that way, for example in some synagogue towers in Europe. This was done in accordance with the right-to-left reading direction of the Hebrew language. Bolivia, under the regime of Evo Morales, shifted to counterclockwise clocks in 2014, to promote indigenous values.

The clock on the facade of the building housing the Bolivian congress in La Paz has been reversed.

Its hands turn left and the numbers have been inverted to go from one to 12 anti-clockwise.

Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca dubbed it the "clock of the south".

He said the change had been made to get Bolivians to treasure their heritage and show them that they could question established norms and think creatively.

Creative approach

"Who says that the clock always has to turn one way? Why do we always have to obey? Why can't we be creative?", he asked at a news conference on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca says he has been wearing a "clock of the south" wristwatch for a while

"We don't have to complicate matters, we just have to be conscious that we live in the south, not in the north," Mr Choquehuanca added.

He also told reporters that Bolivia had presented foreign delegations attending the recent G77 summit in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz with left-turning desk clocks.

The clock given to the delegations is shaped like the map of Bolivia and includes a disputed territory which is currently located in Chile but which Bolivia claims as its own.

'Bad idea'

Asked if Bolivia's left-wing government would try to extend the use of the reversed clocks, Mr Choquehuanca said that they should not be imposed on anyone.

"If you want to buy a clock of the south, do so, but if you want to continue using a clock of the north, you can continue doing so," he said.

The new clock received a mixed reaction from La Paz's residents.

Shoe shiner Franz Galarza, who works in Murillo Square where the legislative building stands, told Efe news agency that the new clock was "a bad idea".

"If they want to send out the message that the country is heading in another direction, then they'll have to make that clear, because all the people who are walking past Murillo Square say they thought it was an error, a mistake."

Under President Evo Morales, an indigenous Aymara, Bolivia has passed a number of measures aimed at boosting its indigenous heritage.

The country has, for example, adopted the whipala, a rainbow-coloured indigenous flag, which is now flown alongside the traditional red, yellow and green banner used since the 19th Century.



The clock in Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, decorated by Paolo Uccello, travels anti-clockwise.