As promised, the island nations of Samoa and Tokelau will jump 24 hours into the future tonight, when the international date line is revised to facilitate Samoan trade with Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. (American Samoa will stay on Hawaii's side of the line.) When 18,600 Samoans and 1,500 Tokelauans go to bed tonight, it will be a Thursday. When they awake, it will be Saturday.

The change either "reflects a new business order" where China is king, or a flimsy excuse for Samoa to "edge ahead of Tonga as the place where 2012 begins." Quit cutting in line.* [NYTimes, Guardian]

* Kiribati unilaterally made itself the "most advanced" time zone in 2000, allowing it to ring in the millennium first. Tonga responded by adding Daylight Savings Time to its calendar, which pushed into Kiribati's UTC+14:00 time zone for a couple years. Starting tomorrow, Samoa will be in UTC+14:00 during Daylight Savings Time. Tokelau and Kiribati will remain "most advanced" during the rest of the year, but perhaps not for many years, since the latter is slowly sinking into the sea. This has officially been the most quantitative thinking I have done since high school calculus class.