Galaxy of Thoughts

Mental journies shuttling between utopia, dystopia and bordering paranoia.

13 Oct 2023

Messy affair of DATEing

Dates are always a messy affair

My apologies if you thought I would be talking about dates, yes definitely I will be talking about dates but not that type of date you thinking but the actual dates.

Do you love dates, personally I do but they can be a mouthful of headaches if you understand what I mean. So here goes my dating scenes.

Planning for dates

You cannot talk about date without specifying time. They are kind of intertwined somehow. In fact there is even an ISO Standard 1860 specifically for this here, we should all follow this when dating and timing. Actual format YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS or 2023-10-15 00:19:43.825418.

When planning dates the details are really important.

Preparing for dates

I would advocate using lubridate r package for easier understanding and manipulation of dates rather. I find it easier than base R but to each their own. Your date is your date and we cannot be all on the same date.

Functions within dates

Function Description
now() Returns date and time right now, at this instance
today() Returns the date today
parse_date_time Returns date from list of text you can specify the ordering e.g. ymd, dmy, mdy where y (year), m (month) and d (day)

Manipulating your date

You can always apply mathematical parameters when dealing with dates mainly +, -. Adding and subtracting days to come up with future or past dates.

With this we need to understand two principles:

  1. period :- Human time value e.g. months, days, years, hours. R respective codes days, hours, dweeks.
  2. duration :- Time value based in seconds calculating like a stop watch time for 86400 secs. Doesn’t adhere to leap years, day light saving and all. R respective codes ddays, dhours, dweeks addition of prefix d.

When adhering to date rules i.e leap years we can use %m+% to add days and %m-% for subtracting.


first_corona_case_date = parse_date_time("12 January 2020", orders = "dmy" ,tz = "")

## [1] "2020-01-12 EAT"

The first case of corona (COVID-19) was reported on 2020-01-12 and 3 months down we first the a million case.

million_corona_case_date = first_corona_case_date + months(3)

## [1] "2020-04-12 EAT"

The first million case reported was 2020-04-12

How do we sort long distance dating

You planned for the date but your partner is in a different timezone how do you align the time. Now the particulars of your date apart from time has an extra component of timezone.

Assuming you are based in Tokyo and your partner is abased in Nariobi . First when using R we need to pick the list of city time zone OlsonNames e.g. Africa/Abidjan for Tokyo name is Africa/Nairobi and Nairobi is Asia/Tokyo

When Nairobi partner says the call is happening 8PM the parner in Tokyo has to use the with_tz() function in R to calculate the time.

Nariobi_time <- force_tz(as_datetime("2023-09-01 20:00:00"), tz = "Africa/Nairobi")
## [1] "2023-09-01 20:00:00 EAT"
Tokyo_time <- with_tz(Nariobi_time, tzone = "Asia/Tokyo")
## [1] "2023-09-02 02:00:00 JST"

The date continues next time | When we schedule the next date hope I wasn’t a boring partner.