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Samoa and Tokelau Are Skipping December 30th

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the custom-week-crafting dept.

Businesses 140

ocean_soul writes "Starting January 1, 2012 Samoa and Tokelau will be in time zone +13 instead of -11. This means there will be no December 30, 2011 in these countries. The decision to switch time zone was based on the changing international business relations of Samoa. Samoa had adopted the -11 time zone to make business with the U.S. easier. However, currently Samoa's most important trading partners are Australia and New Zealand. By switching time zone the work-weeks and week-ends on Samoa and Tokelau will be synchronized with those in Australia and New Zealand."

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140 comments

SIgn of the "times" (2)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38540918)

DST changes in the USA caused times to be odd on certain devices such as VCRs to incorrectly make the change... what's Samoa's tech devices thinking for time zone updates or will everybody have to do a lot of twisting to their watch. For anybody with any interest in what goes on there this is a big tech story.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (4, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38540982)

No change in time. -11 = +13 mod 24.
The only change is the date.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (4, Funny)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541020)

But how does Thailand handle unixtime? It's already year 2555 there. That's way past 32-bit int.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541108)

But how does Thailand handle unixtime?

UNIX time is seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00 UTC minus the accumulated count of leap seconds. Thailand just counts it using days since whatever Thai date corresponds to the Gregorian date 1970-01-01.

It's already year 2555 there.

Yeah, and it's 5772 in Hebrew years, which roughly correspond to the time since Adam and Eve were created.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541492)

"UNIX time is seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00 UTC minus the accumulated count of leap seconds."

In other words, it's seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00 UT.

Not really, no. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541656)

No, actually it's not.

First, UT is a bit confusing. You have to specify which UT you mean: UTC, UT0, UT1, UT1R, etc...

All these, except UTC, are based on celestial movement. Which means they will vary due to natural causes. A slight wobble in Earths orbit or a little bit of tectonic shift will cause seconds to be shorter or longer. UTC is based on 'artificial' timing (atomic timekeeping) and as such has slightly different seconds than the other UT's.

So, no, UTC is not simply another UT without counting leap seconds.

Timekeeping is hard. Really hard.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541904)

It's TAI. Or GMT. Or Zulu time. Of all the things it possibly is, UTC is not one of them.

Linux systems can be configured to count leap seconds, but I've never seen one actually set up that way. I'd just as soon work in TAI most of the time and check the lookup tables myself if I need to adjust the time. At least that way I know I'm not accidentally deducting leap seconds twice or something. It's a huge pain in the ass to deal with just to know when the sun is exactly overhead.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38542300)

UT and UTC are not the same. It does turn out I remembered it wrong - UT is mean solar time, the successor of GMT, also known as Zulu time, and is kept by observing quasars. Since it's mean solar time, just like GMT, it doesn't have a constant number of seconds per year, and none of them are the basis for unix time.

UTC is TAI plus leap seconds (of both signs). It's an approximation of UT.

TAI is the one I meant.

Let me correct this (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38542278)

I apologize for sidetracking the discussion to the leap second issue. Let me try again: "seconds since the UNIX time epoch, counting any leap seconds as 0 instead of 1". This makes each midnight-to-midnight period 86400 seconds long. My point is that the UNIX time epoch is the same regardless of the local civil calendar's epoch.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541262)

The typical shortsightedness and pedantry I'd expect from someone with a UID like yours. He specifically mentioned VCRs and related electronics. All of them track and calculate the date. Do you not think this change in date will affect these things? Or did you just want a chance to write an equation with a modulus operation?

Go out and try to get fucked. Hit on 20 girls, and you'll get at least one out of the bar. The naked man technique works 2 out of 3 times. Write an equation for that, and you'll know how many girls you have to hit on to get fucked.

I'm going to go get fucked tonight after I'm done with this 8 to 5 shift. Responding like this to nerds like yourself is what I do during those 3 minute hourly breaks.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38542456)

He also mention DST, Timezones and watches which implies he was talking about time vs date. I know you are excited to have a girlfriend and want to tell everyone how you're getting laid tonight but try to act like it's not such an uncommon thing.

No the key change is the work-week. (3, Informative)

kale77in (703316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541782)

Their work-week is now in sync with Aust and NZ, rather than only having four days that coincide.

Re:No the key change is the work-week. (1, Informative)

kramulous (977841) | more than 2 years ago | (#38542958)

Three days, not four. Australia's Monday is Samoa's Sunday. Samoa's Friday is Australia's Saturday.

No longer. All days now align.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38543096)

Time includes date.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541050)

Going by your sig, I think you should get a bonus +1 Informative for your sheer dedication to posting on Slashdot alone...

Re:SIgn of the "times" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541142)

My guess is that their VCRs are still very excited about it being 12:00.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (1)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541144)

yup, worse than Y2K I would imagine. It is going to be a horror show from a tech/accounting POV, for those countries and for anyone globally that cares to ever know about or interact with them.

off hand, for Unix types, you'll have to know not only what timezone, but also the exact locality to get the calendar right. Does current time code even have the sufficient smarts currently to handle specific countries CHANGING their TZ on a particular date? I kinda doubt it...

Re:SIgn of the "times" (3, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541186)

This makes me wonder. Are people going to be paid/charged interest for a non-existing 12-30-11 there?

Re:SIgn of the "times" (3, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541504)

Yes. Apparently they're paying people who were scheduled to work on Dec. 30. I assume they'll charge interest too.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (4, Informative)

mj1856 (589031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541624)

Does current time code even have the sufficient smarts currently to handle specific countries CHANGING their TZ on a particular date?

Yes. Linux/Unix has a long history of tracking timezone changes for specific countries, states, provinces, etc. It's called the Olsen Timzone Database. It was recently taken over by IANA, and is hosted here http://www.iana.org/time-zones [iana.org]

They are discussing this specific issue here:
http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/tz/2011-December/008458.html [icann.org]

This makes me wonder. Are people going to be paid/charged interest for a non-existing 12-30-11 there?

It depends. I work for a time and attendance company as software developer, so I have some insight. Basically, this is handled just like a DST change, but for a much longer period.

Many timekeeping systems (hardware and software alike) just keep track of "local time". Some have the ability to keep a list of DST changes that need to be applied at specific times, and some use NTP or other protocols to sync their clocks and pickup timezone changes that way. While these systems handle "spring-forward" changes ok, they are usually flawed in the way they handle "fall-back". If someone clocks in or out DURING the fall-back period, there is no way to tell if they get an extra hour or not, because there is no recorded distinction between the two times that are both called the same thing. The good thing about DST is that the change usually happens in the middle of the night, which minimizes the number of manual corrections that have to be made.

The solution to all of this, of course, is recording time as UTC and converting it for proper display depending on context. Some systems out there caught on early, but really this idea is just now making its way into the market. This is where the timezone database is very valuable. Windows also has a timezone database (different than the Olsen DB), but Microsoft only pushes it out every few months (via windows update), so it is often behind in various parts of the world. Microsoft timezone info here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/dst2007 [technet.com]

Since Samoa and Tokelau are skipping a day, this is a "spring-forward" scenario - which is very easy to calculate. It is highly unlikely that they will have issues with paying an extra day (or charging an extra day's interest), as long as they consider the change like any other DST change. I would think that this is big news there, so anyone with custom code will probably be aware of the situation and make the correction.

Of course, if you have a bank account in another country, they are going to say a big "screw you" to your request to be charged one day's less interest just because your homeland is skipping a day. :)

Re:SIgn of the "times" (1)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541896)

Does current time code even have the sufficient smarts currently to handle specific countries CHANGING their TZ on a particular date?

Yes. Linux/Unix has a long history of tracking timezone changes for specific countries, states, provinces, etc. It's called the Olsen Timzone Database.

The solution to all of this, of course, is recording time as UTC and converting it for proper display depending on context.

Since Samoa and Tokelau are skipping a day, this is a "spring-forward" scenario - which is very easy to calculate.

ok, but the question is whether existing code in routine use (Unix: date(1), ctime(3), and similar functions in Windows), actually makes use of this database and regularly gets updates from this DB.

Sure the display from UTC is relatively easy, although is currently deploy code (OS's, applications, etc in common use), *already* set up to handle this? But going from dates to UTC is somewhat more tricky. What do commonly used OSs, apps, do about a user that is entering NONEXISTENT dates, like Dec 30, 2011 *in that locality* (but not necessarily in the locality of the user)? I guess dates are meaningless unless accompanied by the locality of the date.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (2)

mj1856 (589031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38542476)

What do commonly used OSs, apps, do about a user that is entering NONEXISTENT dates, like Dec 30, 2011 *in that locality* (but not necessarily in the locality of the user)? I guess dates are meaningless unless accompanied by the locality of the date.

Exactly. There are a whole slew of dates/times that simply do not exist in certain timezones. As an example, March 13, 2011 at 2:30 AM in Eastern Time (usa), which is smack in the middle of a "spring-forward" DST change. Say you use the TimeZoneInfo class in .Net Framework to convert from this non-existant time to UTC:

(c# code)
        var tz = TimeZoneInfo.FindSystemTimeZoneById("Eastern Standard Time");
        var localTime = new DateTime(2011, 3, 13, 2, 30, 0);
        var utcTime = TimeZoneInfo.ConvertTimeToUtc(localTime, tz);

You will get an ArgumentException with the message "The supplied DateTime represents an invalid time. For example, when the clock is adjusted forward, any time in the period that is skipped is invalid."

I'm assuming other languages/frameworks/os's do similar things, either throwing an exception, or returning null, NaN, or similar.

In regards to regular updates, Windows gets timezone updates from Microsoft via Windows Update. According to Wikipedia, Linux updates of the TZ database are different depending on distribution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tz_database#Maintenance [wikipedia.org]

Re:SIgn of the "times" (5, Funny)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541226)

If you go to north pole and keep running around the pole in same direction, crossing timezones, you can go infinitely back or forward in time!

Re:SIgn of the "times" (5, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541512)

Until you hit that darn international date line.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38542022)

Just jump over it.

Re:SIgn of the "times" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541360)

LostCluster as of 12/28/11 is being held in captivity involuntarily by Dr. David McGarry of Worcester State Hospital.

Tell us more about this?

Re:SIgn of the "times" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541496)

When the US changed it's daylight savings time to the new date my VCR was off for weeks because the cable system "Comcast" refused to send the correct pulse to change over. Never found the reason for it and don't care now a days since no longer use the VCR and now on FIOS.

Note my VCR was one of those auto date/time update off the cable system, which was the saleing point that you never had to set it in case of a power outage.

cable and sat DRV get the time form the data steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541528)

and you don't have to set it.

Your math does not calculate (2, Informative)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38540924)

If they change on January 1, then December 30 would already been passed at that point. So, that would mean it's already Dec 30 there right now and it cannot be Jan 1 yet according to any time zone. The math is fail.

Re:Your math does not calculate (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38540970)

I'm more confused about the fact that my calendar tells me there's a december 31st. Are they going to go "december 29th, december 31st, january 1st"?

Re:Your math does not calculate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541026)

Yes. Because they didn't want to lose the New Year's Eve parties. They have their priorities in order.

Re:Your math does not calculate (2, Funny)

InterestingFella (2537066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541080)

Bah, you westerners with your stupid one new year. I will celebrate western new year tomorrow, then in January I'll be in China when it's Chinese new year, and finally in April I will be in Thailand when it's Thai new year. Yay, three new year parties for me!

(and the Songkran will have country-wide free-for-all water fight, with insane amount of hot girls and ladyboys in wet t-shirts. Woohoo!)

Re:Your math does not calculate (2)

owlstead (636356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541046)

"This means there will be no December 30, 2011 in these countries." You've just shown that you can skip calendar dates, congratulations!

Re:Your math does not calculate (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541156)

But according to the summary they will do that starting january 1st, 2012. The day before that isn't/wasn't the 30th, it was the 31st.

Re:Your math does not calculate (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541332)

Not according to the article. Fortunately, they don't retrofit the dates in history, they have gone forward 3hours already + switching dates... Wikipedia tells me the same, as does the television journal at home (which I am currently listening to as I'm posting this). Summary is wrong (gosh, what a surprise).

Re:Your math does not calculate (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541372)

My post is wrong as well of course, it's not 3 hours ahead and - 1 day.... It was 21 hours later than Sydney, now it's 3 hours ahead according to the article.

Re:Your math does not calculate (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541256)

We showed that we can skip calendar dates, on several occasions. E.g. when the 'catholic' world switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1582-4. Then most of western Europe and the Americas in 1752-3. Eastern Europe in 1918, etc.

http://www.searchforancestors.com/utility/gregorian.html

Re:Your math does not calculate (4, Interesting)

Penguin (4919) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541522)

.. and cal even supports it:

$ cal 9 1752
September 1752
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

... however it's not that effective as locale is not taken into consideration. As your link mentions, "only" England+Scotland+colonies switched at that point.

Re:Your math does not calculate (1)

Convector (897502) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541062)

Yes, they're losing a day by effectively crossing the international dateline westward.

Re:Your math does not calculate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541604)

yes they are.

Re:Your math does not calculate (2)

catbutt (469582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38542240)

Probably because dec 31, 2011 is in lots of legal contracts. If you eliminate that date, you have a lot more chances for people to try to weasel their way out of contracts, and more work for courts.

Re:Your math does not calculate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38542078)

The math is fail.

Ironically, the english has failed as well.

But... (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#38540988)

No Friday? How can they properly get down, if not on Friday?

Re:But... (2)

eclectus (209883) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541192)

Yeah, they should have skipped a Monday. Or even a Wednesday

Re:But... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541378)

Or Thursdays, I never could get a hang of Thursdays.

This happened to me once (3, Funny)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541052)

This happened to me once. I crossed the International Date line on December 24. It was December 26 on the other side. It was the year without a Christmas.

Re:This happened to me once (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541168)

Go the other direction. I was on a ship where we were scheduled to have thanksgiving day twice. Seeing how the food was rather mediocre, we naturally assumed this meant we would get two thanksgiving dinners, which would have been wonderful. The ship then rescheduled the repeat day earlier (when you have 10 days between the two ports when you're making the idl crossing, you can schedule it whenever you want).

Re:This happened to me once (3, Informative)

archen (447353) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541428)

Marry someone from Canada and you can have Thanksgiving twice a year every year (or the other way if you are Canadian).

Re:This happened to me once (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38543032)

Great idea. I'd have to convince my current wife. And probably change religions.

Re:This happened to me once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541364)

I remember when I crossed the International Date line. I traveled back to the stone age.

I also became immortal. I am several hundred years old now.

Just call me Reeves.

Re:This happened to me once (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38542026)

I skipped over my wedding aniversary on my flight to Australia last year. Best anniversary so far!

Given wanting to do the flying on the weekend I won't be able to repeat that until 2016.

fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541102)

30 days has September,
April June and December???????

Re:fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541188)

You forgot November.

Re:fail (3, Informative)

TamCaP (900777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541314)

just count on your knuckles from left to right (both hands); each big knuckle - {31}, each small knuckle - [28-30]

Re:fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541366)

What about those of us with the normal number of knuckles?

Sorry, Timmy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541190)

No birthday for you this year. We've been told to skip it.

Fine idea (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541302)

I think Samoa has a terrific idea here. So, I've decided that I'm skipping 12/31/2011.

I'm still trying to decide whether I should skip 1/1/2012, too.

First Break in the Seven Day Week Cycle (3, Interesting)

dbkluck (731449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541324)

According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (admittedly with a "citation needed") the seven day week cycle has continued unbroken for almost two millenia, despite numerous readjustments in the date over the centuries. So although skipping even a whole bunch of dates is not unheard of (e.g., Thursday, October 4th, 1582 followed immediately by Friday, October 15th when the Gregorian calendar was adopted), this seems like the first time in a long time that the day after Thursday hasn't been Friday.

Re:First Break in the Seven Day Week Cycle (2)

NF6X (725054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541398)

Once I injured my back, and my doctor prescribed a collection of meds that caused Monday to be the day after Friday.

Re:First Break in the Seven Day Week Cycle (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541408)

You left out two words: "in Europe". Google "the day no Filipinos were born".

Re:First Break in the Seven Day Week Cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38541842)

Alaska had two Fridays in a row in 1867 due to changing the date line and adopting the Gregorian calendar.

Try "cal 9 1752" at a *nix command prompt (2)

knorthern knight (513660) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541328)

Good thing they didn't have VCRs back then.

Re:Try "cal 9 1752" at a *nix command prompt (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541646)

It explains why I only have part of "Jephtha" by Handel though.

Re:Try "cal 9 1752" at a *nix command prompt (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541742)

Damn those Samoans - don't mess with Pope Gregory! He's got friends in high places, you know.

Why does the summary say Jan 1? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541362)

TFA clearly says they're doing this on December 29, not January 1.

I know that the editors don't have time to fact-check the articles, but can't the submitter (who presumably read the article before he posted it) at least remember what he read long enough to summarize it kinda-sorta accurately?

Kill timezones already (0)

Firehed (942385) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541538)

Just another example of timezones being confusing and counterproductive. Switch the entire world to UTC (and kill am/pm since they'll no longer correspond to morning/night in half the world). Sure, it'll take some getting your head around working 16h-01h for what's currently an 8-5PT, but just the idea of eliminating "2pm your time or mine?" makes it worthwhile.

Re:Kill timezones already (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541936)

I'd think this would be a problem for military folks with ships and planes scattered in time zones? How do they handle this? They must also have date line problems? Do they shift duty times when moving?

Re:Kill timezones already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38542142)

Aviation is already in UTC already. They call it "zulu time". No biggie.

Re:Kill timezones already (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38542306)

I've lived on military bases as a family member, and on more than one occasion, asking a uniformed soldier/sailor/airman for the time would get you "1800 zulu" which is the current time in Greenwich, England. It's up to each person wherever they are to figure their relation to zulu time, and add or subtract from that to get your local time.

In essence, yes, they already do that. Posting anon since i've already modded in here.

Re:Kill timezones already (1)

hokeyru (749540) | more than 2 years ago | (#38543250)

I've worked on a ship. On US-flagged vessels, it is customary (probably even mandatory) to change the shifts when switching time zones. A one-hour change is normally broken into three 20-minute chunks, to distribute across the three watch shifts. There is a special board labeled 'advance clocks' or 'retard clocks' hung under the clock in the mess, so everyone is made aware.

During the month I spent on a ship in the arctic, crossing time zones every day, they stayed on a single zone. Of course, the sun never set, so it wasn't much of a problem.

Re:Kill timezones already (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541990)

I've suggested this several times and people are all like "waaaah! I don't WANT to have to eat lunch at 2 in the morning!" But if you're going to do that you don't want to use UTC, since it's adjusted for the rotation of the earth with leap seconds. You want to use nice pure TAI. Nothing there but vibrations of a cesium atom!

Even then you still have to worry about relativity and stuff, since the time for people on mountains or in space will differ from people on the equator. I forget if TAI adjusts for that or not...

Re:Kill timezones already (5, Insightful)

hankwang (413283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541996)

Switch the entire world to UTC (and kill am/pm since they'll no longer correspond to morning/night in half the world). ... just the idea of eliminating "2pm your time or mine?" makes it worthwhile.

That might be convenient for making appointments for telephone conferences, but it really sucks if you actually travel to such a timezone and need to schedule your daily program; then you will have to calculate the offset relative to your old place every time you wonder whether it is already lunch time, or whether the shops/offices are open. Not to mention that having the date and day of the week change in the middle of the day might also be rather inconvenient: what does "see you on Wednesday" mean?

And as for appointments: calendar applications already take care of calculating the time zones while scheduling meetings.

Why not wait for leap day? (5, Insightful)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | more than 2 years ago | (#38541848)

If they just waited two months until February, they could have just issued calendars that skipped leap day, and few people would have even noticed (until the work week suddenly became shorter).

And they'd get to say that they were "leaping" over leap day....

What if this trend continues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38542038)

and everyone moves their date around and now the US is constantly a day behind the rest of the world? What will we do?

Inquiring minds want to know (4, Funny)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38542210)

What will this do to the supply of Girl Scout Samoa cookies? (For the record, I hoarded Manila folders when the Marcos government fell.)
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