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Why is app/Mage.php parsing local.xml for timezone information?

Why is app/Mage.php parsing local.xml for timezone information?

I'm currently working with an installation of Community.  It's a toss up whether some extensions use the PHP timezone or the Magento settings.  It seems the orders are using the settings in the Admin panel configuration.  So we have three timezones to juggle when considering time sensitive operations.


I was working with the Revolution Advanced Slider extension which uses the Magento time setting that is parsed from app/etc/local.xml via app/Mage.php.  Well it's never going to find that setting there because the documentation tells you to put the local settings in app/etc/config.xml.  In fact, even if you copy the general settings over to local.xml, they still won't work with the current local.xml parser.


There's are a plethora of bad hacks provided when searching Google on the issue -- all of which eventually will be overwritten during the next upgrade.


Is anyone aware of any new documentation on this that may shed some light on this?


This is an example of my app/etc/local.xml locale settings: