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    Re: Midnight
    From: Jared Sherman
    Date: 2002 Feb 20, 03:59 -0500

    NIST, arguably the US government's official word on time, posts a FAQ making 
    it clear that noon and midnight are dividers and that any use of AM and PM 
    with them is simply incorrect and unacceptable according to NIST's standards.
    
    This matches my memory (no copy at hand) of the Chicago Manual of Style, 
    NYTimes, AP, and other sources for editors and writers.
    
    Of course "the" legal definition in the US may be set elsewhere by our friends 
    in Congress, just as  "DR" is defined and taught one way by the Navy and 
    another way by the rest of the world. (In Mixter's Primer of Navigation he 
    specifically comments on what was recently discussed here, that the Navy 
    specifies "DR" by course and speed only, and "EP" to include offsets to that 
    position, while the rest of the world commonly uses DR and EP both to mean 
    the best possible estimate, all factors included.)
    
    NIST also points out that the Julian date begins at noon--not midnight. And 
    older calenders (i.e. traditional Hebrew) start the new day at sunset, not 
    midnight.
    
    While the many "we's" can each interpret midnight and noon as differently as 
    they can chose where to start counting the new day, the use of noon and 
    midnight still is a landmine unless one is using them within one tight group 
    who share a jargon, or as NIST suggests, simply as dividers in the middle of 
    the day/night and not belonging to either of them. When the ball drops on the 
    Times Tower to mark midnight, that's simultaneously both the end of the old 
    year and the start of the new one--midnight belongs to both sides of the 
    night.
    
    
    

       
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