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R for Data Science by Garrett Grolemund, Hadley Wickham

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Chapter 13. Dates and Times with lubridate

Introduction

This chapter will show you how to work with dates and times in R. At first glance, dates and times seem simple. You use them all the time in your regular life, and they don’t seem to cause much confusion. However, the more you learn about dates and times, the more complicated they seem to get. To warm up, try these three seemingly simple questions:

  • Does every year have 365 days?

  • Does every day have 24 hours?

  • Does every minute have 60 seconds?

I’m sure you know that not every year has 365 days, but do you know the full rule for determining if a year is a leap year? (It has three parts.) You might have remembered that many parts of the world use daylight saving time (DST), so that some days have 23 hours, and others have 25. You might not have known that some minutes have 61 seconds because every now and then leap seconds are added because the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down.

Dates and times are hard because they have to reconcile two physical phenomena (the rotation of the Earth and its orbit around the sun) with a whole raft of geopolitical phenomena including months, time zones, and DST. This chapter won’t teach you every last detail about dates and times, but it will give you a solid grounding of practical skills that will help you with common data analysis challenges.

Prerequisites

This chapter will focus on the lubridate package, which makes it easier to work with dates and times in R. lubridate

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