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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Miscellaneous and References (11/12)
Section - Question 19.11: Why do Hebrew clocks run clockwise, not counter- clockwise?

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                                  Answer:
   
   Some do, but I wouldn't lose sleep over this question. FYI, the clock
   on the tower of the Prague Jewish Community Center uses Hebrew letters
   and runs counter-clockwise.
   
   Most clocks use Arabic numerals, another right-to-left language. The
   real question is why Roman numeral clocks don't go the other way.
   
   Note that the direction of the written language has nothing whatsoever
   to do with the way clocks run.
   
   The clock is a mechanical timepiece modeled on its predecessor, the
   sundial. North of the Tropic of Cancer, the sun affects the sundial in
   the following way:
     * Sun rises in the east: shadow falls in the west.
     * Sun, at noon, is south: shadow falls in the north.
     * Sun sets in the west: shadow falls in the east.
       
   The shadow moves in a W to N to E rotation, which is what we call
   "clockwise." When mechanical clocks were invented, this rotation was
   duplicated. Regardless of the direction of your written language, the
   clock hands move the wrong way half the time!
   
   South of the Tropic of Capricorn, a sundial moves counter-clockwise,
   and between the tropics, the motion of the shadow depends on the time
   of year. Had the clock been an invention of South American Indians or
   Southern Africans, "clockwise" would likely mean the opposite
   rotation.

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Miscellaneous and References (11/12)
Previous Document: Question 19.10: Who was the sixth Marx brother?
Next Document: Question 19.12: I'm not Jewish. How do I show my love for the Jewish people?

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM