Respectful Insolence

Today is the Monday after Daylight Saving Time started. I always hate this day. Getting to work on time is always that much more difficult, and I always feel a bit run down for the few days afterward until my body adjusts. This time of year also predictably produces idiotic screeds about Daylight Saving Time, for instance, this one by someone named Chip Wood entitled Who’s The Idiot Who Foisted Daylight Saving Time On Us? While I can sympathize with the sentiment, the actual rant is a heapin’ helpin’ of burning stupid:

It all began back in the dark days of the Great Depression, I’m told. The idea was that moving clocks forward in the spring and back in the fall would give farmers one more hour of daylight each day. All of the money they’d save not having to burn kerosene or use electricity for that extra hour would save so much money the depression would soon be over.

Sure it would.

Truth is, all of the New Deal schemes Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his cronies could think of (some of which were modeled very closely on the economic practices of their buddies in Soviet Russia) didn’t do a thing to end the depression. What did bring that ghastly period of massive unemployment to an end was America’s entry into World War II. It got our factories roaring again–but at a terrible price.

With that depression long since gone and farmers having dwindled to a tiny fraction of our population, why then do we still have daylight saving time inflicted on us?


This is, of course, completely wrong. DST was not invented as a New Deal scheme, nor was it ever promised to end the Depression. It was actually first implemented by Germany during World War I as a means of saving coal. England and the other allies followed suit not long after. Finally, in the U.S. Daylight Saving Time was first implemented in 1918, again, as a wartime measure to save energy. Before that, it had been conceived by entomologist George Vernon Hudson in 1895 and prominent English builder and outdoorsman William Willett in 1905, but was never implemented; neither of them could quite persuade Parliament to pass the necessary legislation. You’d think that ol’ Chip would know how to use Wikipedia or even just Google, but apparently he such a simple task as searching for “Daylight Saving Time” in either was beyond his not-so-mighty intellect.

Even more amusingly, contrary to Wood’s little rant Daylight Saving Time was never implemented during the Great Depression. In fact, DST was so unpopular in the U.S. in 1918 that it was not implemented again until World War II, when it was proposed as–you guessed it!–a measure to save energy during wartime. In fact, the U.S. remained on DST for nearly all of World War II, from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945, over three and a half continuous years.

Thus endeth the history lesson. I always feel a bit better, even with my DST-induced fatigue, laying the cluestick on an idiot like Chip Wood.

Comments

  1. #1 Narad
    March 14, 2011

    I defer to Grandpa Jones in all things DST.

  2. #2 Dianne
    March 14, 2011

    DST makes more sense in northern Europe where the difference between the length of the day in summer and winter is serious. In the US, especially in the more southern parts of the US, it seems like a random change. I’m also not sure where the calculation between energy saved from fewer light bulbs, etc, used versus more mistakes and injuries/deaths from lower attentiveness due to fatigue stands. In short, in the US, is DST still a good idea? If so, is it a good idea at all latitudes? I’d go into it more but my brain’s too fuzzy to make a decent argument right now.

  3. #3 jre
    March 14, 2011

    All true. However, it should be noted that Chip Wood is saved from getting a zero on this effort by his correct use of the phrase “Daylight Saving Time.” He gets only a point or two, granted — but credit where it’s due.

  4. #4 Todd W.
    March 14, 2011

    @Dianne

    Personally, I don’t see much value in DST. When I lived in Japan, I got to experience what it would be like without DST (was at approx. same latitude), and liked it a lot more. Then again, I enjoy being able to go out at night and see stars, the moon and look for metorites without cutting into my sleep time.

    Interesting side fact, there are a couple states that do not do DST. Instead, they just switch time zones.

  5. #5 lilady
    March 14, 2011

    The Wood Chip/Chip Wood is the geopolitical editor of the Personal Liberty Digest blog. This guy is so anti-government (Libertarian) that his rants are blind to the facts surrounding such as issues as Daylight Saving Time and the United States involvement in World War II.

    The Personal Liberty Digest blog is a repository of alternative medicine advice and is “ultra-conservative” in its viewpoint.

    Most of the world (70 %) plugs into Daylight Saving Time; some exceptions in the United States are Arizona and Hawaii and, parts of Mexico and one Canadian province.

  6. #6 wintermute
    March 14, 2011

    According to Brian Dunning (and after his recent fails, I’m not sure how much to trust his research), it’s all about the restaurants, bars and Hallowe’en candy.

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4172

  7. #7 Eric Lund
    March 14, 2011

    @Dianne: Brasilia, at latitude 15 degrees south, observes Daylight Savings Time during austral summer (however, most of the Amazon basin to the north does not). Iceland, which straddles the Arctic Circle, remains on standard time (which for them is GMT) throughout the year. It mainly comes down to perceived national/regional convenience. Yes, it’s not much of a benefit in the tropics, but it’s not much of a benefit at Arctic latitudes, either (for the opposite reason).

    @lilady: I’m not sure where you get that 70% figure from. Outside of the former Soviet Union, Asia (including China and India as well as Japan) generally does not observe DST. I haven’t checked, but I suspect most equatorial countries in Africa and South America also do not. And DST is generally ignored in international waters.

  8. #8 Calli Arcale
    March 14, 2011

    Living in Minnesota, I like Daylight Savings Time. I like it so much that I wish we had it all year. (I despise the biannual transitions from standard to daylight time.) If we had it in the winter, then I’d stand a chance of actually seeing the Daystar on weekdays in December. In the summer, I like it mostly for the fact that it prevents the Sun rising at an ungodly early hour. Granted, I realize I’m a wimp compared to those who live much further north, but I will complain anyway! :-D

    Incidentally, I wonder if the “benefits” of DST (if any) vary by longitude. If the theory behind DST is sound, then the benefits should vary based on how close you are to one end of a time zone.

  9. #9 Electric Landlady
    March 14, 2011

    I miss having sunlight in the morning, and I am always very thrown by the change. But I do kind of like the extra hour in the evenings. (Kind of. Once I’m used to it.)

  10. #10 Jeremy
    March 14, 2011

    I’ve heard the “farmers” interpretation of DST many times before. I’m always amazed that people regurgitate it without noticing the fundamental flaw. Why would DST have any benefit for farmers at all? As far as I can tell, neither wheat, nor corn, nor cows care a whit what time the clock says it is.

  11. #11 triskelethecat
    March 14, 2011

    @Calli Arcale: I really don’t like DST because growing up, at the far west end of the Eastern time zone, sunrise was later and the sunset was 10 pm or so, which made fireworks very late at night. It works OK here in NJ, because sunrise occurs at a more decent hour (about 5:05 am in midsummer), and sunset is about 9 pm. But on either end of a timezone, as far as I am concerned, it doesn’t really work.

    However, I knew more than the clueless writer. Anyone who reads literature about WWI or WWII knows that DST was a product of wars, not the Depression. IIRC, the farmers hate(d?) it because it messed/messes milking time/transport times up (don’t know if this still holds true as when I read about it with train schedules).

  12. #12 Pablo
    March 14, 2011

    Dawn aka triskelethecat

    I currently hate DST for exactly the reason you mention: the 4th of July. As you mention, it doesn’t get dark enough to do fireworks until nearly 11 pm, which means they go on until after midnight. I’m sorry, but some people have to work. Moreover, some folks also have kids too young to watch fireworks (without being scared by them) and who need to be sleeping at 11 pm. Of course, my state is not just on the western edge of the time zone, but is actually physically located west of the real time zone (based on longitude), so it is really late. Add in the fact that there are no laws against any fireworks of any sort, so it turns into a free-for-all.

    Add in to that the fact that the dogs refuse to go outside before bedtime (although they don’t care when the fireworks are, they still hate them) and I really don’t like the 4th of July.

  13. #14 RobNYNY1957
    March 14, 2011

    I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin in the 1950′s and 1960′s, and I can tell you for a certainty that DST had nothing to do with the rhythms of farm life. The cows need to be milked exactly when then need to be milked, and their udders don’t shift to a new schedule when the clock is changed.

  14. #15 JohnV
    March 14, 2011

    On a related note, my fish also don’t adjust right away to the time change and at 7 am when I woke up they were pretty uninterested in being fed an hour early.

  15. #16 Militant Agnostic
    March 14, 2011

    @ 9,10 & 13
    Historically DST has been opposed by farmers. DST did not come into effect in Alberta until the urban population became large enough to overwhelm the disproportionate rural domination of the provincial legislature. Canada’s most agrarian province (Saskatchewan) still does on use DST. I was talking to someone in France today – they have DST, but switch later than North America does.

    I think a total ignorance of history is a basic requirement for a far right libertarian. I find it hilarious that the wingnut states all FDR’s Keynesian stimuli failed to end the great depression and then turns around gives the Government spending caused by WW2 credit for ending the depression. Mind you, this fits in with the general right wing trope that all government spending is bad except for military spending.

  16. #17 M
    March 14, 2011

    I’d still rather have the extra hour in the morning, at least until the days are long enough that I’m not getting to work (let alone waking up) in the dark.

  17. #18 drksky
    March 14, 2011

    Being an amateur astronomer, I loathe DST, especially living in temperate Illinois where the weather is only tolerable for astronomy from March through November (I’m a wimp when it comes to cold).

    Before Sunday, we were able to get out under the stars do some imaging and be home in bed before midnight. Now, it’s 8pm before even being able to align a mount and in July, it’s 11pm before any useful imaging can be done. So, because of DST, I have to resign myself to doing astronomy only on the weekends because of work.

    I would not shed one tear if it went away.

  18. #19 Ana Observer
    March 14, 2011

    The funny thing about the farmer trope is that even some farmers believe it. I was told by a retired farmer in his 80s that DST was implemented after the invention of the rural school bus, to save farm kids from being at risk of being hit by vehicles in the dark hours of the winter morning while they waited on the roadside for the bus to take them to school. He himself was a kid in 1918, and was told that by his dad. He was mighty surprised when I showed him the trufax.

  19. #20 D. C. Sessions
    March 14, 2011

    Interesting side fact, there are a couple states that do not do DST.

    Arizona and Hawai’i. Hawai’i because the “have to stay on the same time relative to Wall Street” argument causes too many broken ribs and respiratory arrests. Arizona because the absolute obscentity-ing last thing we need around here in the summer is to wait even longer between getting home and when it cools down enough to go outside — worse yet, at the expense of spending the only decent time of day (early morning) at work.

    However, given that the State has decided to save money by turning the Government over to the State mental hospital, I’m not about to bet on AZ continuing to do something sane.

    Instead, they just switch time zones.

    Nope. Y’all do, maybe (it’s amazing how many people don’t change meeting announcements to “EDT” from “EST”) but we’re just plain “MST” 365 days a year, even if “PDT” happens to also occupy GMT-7 with us.

    Interestingly, Indiana used to be a third state which (partly) didn’t switch around. That stopped a few years ago, and gave a nice little experiment (with a control in the part of Indiana that was already playing with its clocks) on the various claims for the wonders of Summer Time. Turns out that net power consumption increased, as did a number of adverse medical metrics and scholastic performance, especially in high school.

  20. #21 Todd W.
    March 14, 2011

    @D.C. Sessions

    Thanks for the clarifications. It was part of Indiana that I think I was thinking of. I had thought that the part that didn’t want to participate in DST temporarily switched from Central to Eastern time, but didn’t fiddle with their clocks.

  21. #22 MeanDean
    March 14, 2011

    DST was being discussed on a different board (techcomedy.com); this quote was attributed to a Navajo friend of the original poster:

    “Only white people … would think that you can cut off the bottom six inches of a blanket, sew it to the top, and end up with a longer blanket.”

  22. #23 Vicki
    March 14, 2011

    Nice quote, but unless it’s changed in the last couple of years, the Navajo reservation is the only part of Arizona that uses daylight saving time.

  23. #24 Pablo
    March 14, 2011

    Interestingly, Indiana used to be a third state which (partly) didn’t switch around. That stopped a few years ago, and gave a nice little experiment (with a control in the part of Indiana that was already playing with its clocks) on the various claims for the wonders of Summer Time. Turns out that net power consumption increased, as did a number of adverse medical metrics and scholastic performance, especially in high school.

    What would have happened if all of the state had gone Central time zone instead of in the eastern? Right now, the areas around Chic and Lousville (right) are central, and everyone else is eastern.

    It was passed on the grounds that “every county can make it’s own choice” but as soon as Indianapolis went Eastern, everyone had no choice but to follow suit, unless you were close enough to someone else.

  24. #25 lilady
    March 14, 2011

    I mis-posted; I meant to post 70 countries go on Daylight Saving Time…not 70 %.

    I seem to recall one year…maybe in the 1970s during a gasoline shortage crisis…that we didn’t “fall back” to Standard Time in the United States.

    @ MeanDean…Clever quote attributed to a Navajo Indian.

  25. #26 Old Rockin' Dave
    March 14, 2011

    lilady, year-round daylight savings was imposed in early 1974 due to the Arab oil embargo. It was continued for a full year, but was unpopular because children were going to school in the dark.
    During World War II, the British set the clocks ahead one hour year-round for the duration and went on “British Double Summer Time” with clocks set ahead two hours instead of one, which was considered to be another sacrifice for the war effort. When after the war the UK set the clocks to GMT +1 as the standard time, there were more auto accidents in the mornings but this was offset by a much larger decrease in accidents in the evenings, but this experiment was later abandoned.

  26. #27 lilady
    March 14, 2011

    Old Rockin’Dave: We knew we could count on you for this bit of trivia; thanks.

    I do recall parents of school children being quite upset as their children were leaving the house in the dark for the trek to school or waiting on dark roads for their school buses.

    Has anyone viewed the “comments” section devoted to Wood Chip’s article on the “The Personal Liberty Digest” blog; I have and they are “very interesting.”

  27. #28 S. Hill
    March 14, 2011

    Not many people really like DST; it makes no sense in terms of saving energy anymore. The only benefit is that it’s not dark when the nine-to-fiver gets home from work. Seems like a major inconvenience for little benefit. Why don’t we abolish it? Is it just the excuse of “We’ve always done it…”? What will it take to do away with it?

  28. #29 Old Ari
    March 14, 2011

    I hate “Summer time”, along with all the things mentioned, most of my clocks, timers etc., are electronic, and can’t be turned back, I have to turn them forward 23 hrs. What I says is, “If you want to get up an hour early, do so, don’t bother me to do the same”.

  29. #30 HWR
    March 14, 2011

    Farmers near my home town (population about 300) hated DST because we lived about 100 miles from their major market city. They couldn’t get their livestock loaded any earlier – dawn doesn’t watch the clock – and when they got to the city the markets were closed, whereas they would have been open on standard time.

  30. #31 MosesZD
    March 14, 2011

    My god, that site, starting with the author, is a bunch of thoughtless whack-jobs…

  31. #32 Daniel J. Andrews
    March 14, 2011

    Fortunately DST doesn’t affect me overly much. I need to be up before sunrise anyway so my clock is the sun (spring to summer).

    I found another place that skips DST. Pickle Lake, Ontario–pretty much the northernmost Ontario community that can be reached by paved road. I also seem to recall a place in Saskatchewan that was out of sync with the rest of the province-that is, it *was* on DST while the rest of the province wasn’t (that was back in 1995 or so when I first traveled through).

    btw, I thought you (Orac) were going to write a post about the negative side effects of a sudden hour sleep difference in the general population.

  32. #33 Mike
    March 14, 2011

    While I do find the adjustment annoying, I do rather like the nudge of daylight it brings in driving home from work. On Friday, it was dark as I drove home at 6:30pm. Tonight it will be before sunset.

  33. #34 John R.
    March 14, 2011

    Living as a high school student in Northern Illinois, I actually kinda like Daylight Savings Time for, really, two reasons. One: it’s not dark by 5:30 in the afternoon anymore which is a really nice change considering all the Spring sports at school start around this time, so they have more time to practice without the constraints of sunset (and it’s simply more pleasant to be outside when the sun is higher in the sky). As well, the changing of the clocks really doesn’t bother me besides for the fact that I feel really tired after the first day, since I am then able to quickly adjust.
    However, I do find it rather interesting though that in all cases in American history, Daylight Savings Time was implemented as a way of conserving energy. While I understand its purpose in the context of World War I and World War II, I am puzzled as to why it has been kept since World War II. I’m quite sure the USA hasn’t been locked in a struggle to find adequate power sources for its people and industry (well at least until recently possibly) in all the years since 1945. This begs the question, why has DST stuck and why didn’t people protest for it to be taken away after World War II like they did after World War I.
    As for me, I have surmised that Daylight Savings Time must just have become a relatively unexamined part of our culture a long time ago to the point where it was simply expected each year like Groundhog Day or the mysterious Leap Years. Although, I had never considered that for Americans that live closer to the equator that DST really must seem like a useless thing, since there isn’t a noticeable need for it in the first place, for me, as I stated in the reasons I previously gave, when Daylight Savings Time rolls around each Spring, I welcome it with a little grin, knowing that warmer and brighter days are on the way.

  34. #35 Zombie
    March 14, 2011

    Let’s just put the whole rock on UTC time, clocks are arbitrary conventions anyway.

  35. #36 Jeff Keogh
    March 14, 2011

    Can I believe my eyes? Are people *still* bitching about DST?

    What year is this? 1951 or 2001?

  36. #37 Jeff Keogh
    March 14, 2011

    D’oh.

    For 2001, read 2011.

    Gah, what’s a decade here or there?

  37. #38 Narad
    March 15, 2011

    Let’s just put the whole rock on UTC time, clocks are arbitrary conventions anyway.

    I’d expect at least a swipe at the leap second to go along with such an assertion.

  38. #39 24fps
    March 15, 2011

    I’m from Saskatchewan – we’ve been on DST, geographically speaking, since 1966. We just don’t shift back to standard time. The days are so short in the dead of winter and so long at the height of summer that I’m not sure it would make a significant difference, anyway.

    Of course, it was T.C. Douglas, the pinko who brought socialized medicine to Canada, who led the provincial government that put this in place, so it must be evil.
    ;-)

  39. #40 anonymous
    March 15, 2011

    Zombie, Narad – good ideas, but not enough. Metric time is what we need.

  40. #41 Giliell
    March 15, 2011

    Studies seem to indicate that DST does not in fact save energy.
    And as a mother I hate it, every time you turn the clock forward or backward. Kids usually have a pretty stable night-day rythm. Now the world decides that the their usual bedtime is not their usual bedtime anymore and that the time they used to get up is an hour early/late.

  41. #42 DLC
    March 15, 2011

    I remember back in the days of the 73 old embargo, there was an order went round for double daylight saving time ?
    Am I alone in remembering this ? I was a kid then, and what really struck me was walking the 1/4 mile or so to the school bus stop (we lived at the end of a narrow dead end street)
    in total darkness for some months.
    Oh, and can we please put to bed the bullshit that the US economic recovery didn’t start until WW2 came along ?
    It’s popular to believe so, but it’s also a myth.
    Economic recovery started in 1932 and kept going, with only a slump in jobs for one year, right up until the USA entered the War in 1941.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression_in_the_United_States

  42. #43 Wow
    March 15, 2011

    “I’ve heard the “farmers” interpretation of DST many times before. I’m always amazed that people regurgitate it without noticing the fundamental flaw.”

    In the UK at least, one of the biggest pushers for DST in the war was the farm lobby. Of course, the actual farmers and farmhands ignored the change and got up when they had to do milk the cows, etc. This may be why this meme is still going.

    The current big push for DST is now big business. UK businesses want CET because EST wouldn’t work, so they want to have the same Outlook appointment calendar as their business partners in the EU.

    They also don’t want flexitime because it’s harder to manage when your workforce isn’t punching in the clock at the same time. Homeworking is bad for the same reason.

    Funny to my mind, though, is that business are so damn adamant about DST which changes the clocks by 1 or 2 hours at a time predictable but changeable between countries, but keep moaning about leap seconds which modify the time globally but at a less predictable event.

    Mind you, these businesses in the UK want DST permanently. I’d ask: why not change from 9-5 to 8-4 in that case?

  43. #44 Denice Walter
    March 15, 2011

    @ DLC : “It’s popular to believe so, but it’s also a myth”.

    I know. However, among certain factions it is holy writ, like “trickle down” economics. During the darkest days of the Great Recession ( Fall’08- Spring ’09), there were also those who blasted governmental intervention of any sort while we were spiraling around the drain.

    Some like their myths about money, some about nutrients and chi, * Chacun a son goute*!

  44. #45 Anglachel the Common Sense Pagan
    March 15, 2011

    I have long since given up on the general population to ever get any of their historical facts right! With most people getting their history from movies that slice, dice and recreate history, sometimes so badly mutilating it that I want nothing more than to b*&ch slap the screen writers, there is really not going to be very many who can use historical references and use them correctly. It’s fustrating to me, being the huge history buff that I am, to listen to it.

    There’s my little rant, lol! I never really thought about DST really, other than it throws me off routine, and to an Aspie, that is NEVER a good thing! The day after DST is sure to have at least one meltdown! Other than that, it doesn’t really affect me all that much. That being said, I never really saw the purpose of it after the war. But with things going the way they have been lately, perhaps we will need that to help conserve energy, with prices everywhere sky rocketing!

  45. #46 OurSally
    March 15, 2011

    I asked some of my neighbours who are farmers, and they can reprogramme their cows. They have to because of the milk collection lorry, and getting up in time for the school bus. They milk them 10 minutes earlier or later, every day till they have caught up.

  46. #47 renee
    March 15, 2011

    I agree that it’s tough on the kids (although the harder switch in my house is the Fall Back, when they get up at 5am for a week.) But here in Maine we appreciate being on EDT, as it basically puts us on Atlantic Standard Time, which is where we should be year round.

  47. #48 Calli Arcale
    March 15, 2011

    To those complaining about the leap seconds, these actually make quite a bit more sense than DST. They adjust clocks to cope with the fact that the Earth’s rotation is not as constant as we’d all like to think. (Likewise, the extra day in February every four years copes with the fact that Earth’s orbital period is not conveniently resonant with our days. Could be worse; imagine trying to work out a useful calendar on Mercury, where, when conditions are right, the Sun can actually rise twice in one day!)

  48. #49 Calli Arcale
    March 15, 2011

    One more factoid from the local space geek….

    If you think adjusting to DST is tough, imagine working on one of the MER teams. While the Spirit team is able to take a bit of a break until the thing phones home again (if it ever does), the Opportunity team is still hard at work, and in order to maximize use of this plucky rover, they don’t work in Pacific Time. They work in Mars Time, and specifically the time at the longitude of their vehicle. They don’t live in Mars Time, and events are recorded in UTC based on when they are received on Earth, but they have to work on Mars time to make the best use of the daylight hours when the rover has enough power to talk to them. Since a Martian sol is slightly longer than an Earth day, this means their workshift moves by about half an hour every day. (Or more; this is further complicated by the relative orbital motion of Earth and Mars, which affects the lightspeed transit time required for communications — the distance can vary from 55 million km to over 400 million.)

    So while you struggle to adjust to DST, spare a thought for the MER mission teams at JPL. ;-)

  49. #50 Wow
    March 15, 2011

    “To those complaining about the leap seconds, these actually make quite a bit more sense than DST.”

    Not really. All you did was explain their complaint but it isn’t actually any more sensible, just more “science”-ey.

  50. #51 Narad
    March 15, 2011

    Hey, I’m not complaining about the leap second–keeping civil time and mean solar time aligned is a Good Thing.

  51. #52 DRK
    March 15, 2011

    “…Hawai’i (is not on DST because)because the “have to stay on the same time relative to Wall Street” argument causes too many broken ribs and respiratory arrests”.

    Well. No.

    More likely because the difference between sunsets and sunrises in the winter and and the summer, at that latitude, is less than an hour and a half. In 2010 on June 22, sunrise was at 6:04 AM, sunset at 7:13 PM; on December 22, sunrise was at 7:05 AM, sunset was at 5:55 PM. I think Calli is right, and DST is more useful the further you get from the equator. Still and all, when I lived in Hawaii, I did not miss DST one bit. And when I moved to Illinois and we “sprang forward”, I remembered how much I hated DST.

  52. #53 CanadianChick
    March 15, 2011

    I think DST is truly silly. I don’t find it difficult to adjust, mostclocks in my life auto-adjust, it’s not really a personal issue. I just think it’s silly. I think the underlying logic is invalid today, and there are so many problems associated with it that it seems tocause more harm than good. Places without it seem to cope just fine.

  53. #54 nm
    March 15, 2011

    I live very close to the eastern end of a time zone, and I love DST. I like actually being able to see my yard when I get home from work, being able to pick some veggies from my garden or grill a burger for dinner without a flashlight, not having the sun and birds wake me up before 5:00 am, all that. I wish we were on DST year-round.

  54. #55 feralboy12
    March 15, 2011

    Just wait a couple of years. By then, it will all be Obama’s fault.

  55. #56 KoryO
    March 16, 2011

    The only thing DST is good for is to remind me to change out the batteries on my smoke detector. Other than that….it’s just another stupid thing that screws up the lives of thousands so one person can see stars early in the morning or BBQ when they get home at 7 pm.

    Not. Effing. Worth. It.

  56. #57 Wow
    March 16, 2011

    “I wish we were on DST year-round.”

    Get to work at 8 then and come home at 4. Midday is then at the middle of your day.

    Simples.

  57. #58 Wow
    March 16, 2011

    “Hey, I’m not complaining about the leap second–keeping civil time and mean solar time aligned is a Good Thing.”

    Aye, sorry, misinterpreted your post.

    PS on “I think Calli is right, and DST is more useful the further you get from the equator.”

    The problem is when you get above the Arctic Circle, for example, there’s no amount of Daylight Saving you can manage that will get you sunlight in midwinter.

    Scotland won’t manage to see daylight outside working hours unless you shift the clocks by 3 hours and that’s not even 60N.

    So it’s only really useful for 20-40 North and South. Maybe 20-50.

  58. #59 Calli Arcale
    March 16, 2011

    Yeah, DST is only useful within a very narrow range of latitudes — and frankly, is probably only helpful (if it’s actually helpful at all) at certain *longitudes* within a time zone to boot. (After all, most people aren’t really aligned with the local solar time at all; somewhere within their time zone, there’s a spot where it works out, but most of them are either a little early or a little late. But time zones make more sense than some sort of sliding scale based on longitude, because you’d never keep things synchronized otherwise.)

    I’m at 45 degrees. It seems to be mildly helpful here (though honestly not really enough to justify the jetlag). But get to 60 or so, and it’s just a case of being annoyed by the sun at a slightly different ungodly early hour, and above the Arctic Circle it’s completely academic.

    Truthfully? I don’t care that much whether we’re on daylight or regular time; I’d rather it was *consistent* more than anything else. As far as me wanting to see the Daystar after work in the winter, that’s more just a case of worktime bellyaching than anything else. ;-) No policy should be set based on it, and I was just moaning for hopefully comic effect.

    BTW, Wow, I actually do get to work around 8 and leave around 4. This only places midday in the middle of your day if you happen to live in the middle of your time zone; luckily for me, I do! But in midwinter, day lasts about 8 hours and 45 minutes, and my twenty-minute (each way) commute consumes the 45 minutes remaining outside of the work hours — the sun is down by the time I collect my eldest from her after-school program. Wintertime DST would give me some daylight on at least one end of my workday. I’d shift my work hours (in fact I used to get in at 6 AM), but with two small children, my hours are more dictated by their school and activity schedules than anything else at present. But again, I’m more bellyaching than seriously promoting year-round DST. ;-)

  59. #60 Pablo
    March 16, 2011

    Just wait a couple of years. By then, it will all be Obama’s fault.

    Actually, I blame GWBush, and it is illustrated by the CanadianChick’s comment above:

    mostclocks in my life auto-adjust

    We, too, have a couple of clocks that auto-adjust. For example, the DVD player and the clock in our bedroom.

    The problem is, they adjust on the wrong day!

    Recall that a couple of years ago, Bush had the great idea to expand DSL, starting earlier and ending later. So now, all my pre-programmed auto-adjusting clocks adjust on the old days, and not at the right time. So that means that I just set my bedroom clock ahead an hour, but in a couple of weeks, it will change on us again, and we will have to set it back.

    The biggest problem now is that we don’t know when that day is anymore, so we wake up in the morning and the clock says 6:30, and my son is in bed yelling to get up, and we are saying, no, it’s not time to get up yet. But he’s awake. Then when we get up, we see that the other clocks all say 7:30 and then realize that we’ve been punked by Bush and our bedroom clock again.

  60. #61 rob
    March 16, 2011

    DST is dumb. you don’t save any day light. there is still the same number of hours of day light. observing daylight saving time is like trying to be taller by cutting your head off and standing on it.

  61. #62 Medicien Man
    March 16, 2011

    Sounds halfaway reasonable to me. FDR did screw the country pretty bad. Woodrow Wilson and FDR did take a nation of sovereign individuals and turn it into a nation of whiny pathetic secular oppressives known as socialists. They both screwed this country up so bad that the damage is almost irreversible. We would be better off today is karl marx had never been such an ass and the world elite would not have followed his utopian fantasies that led to mass genocide and tyranny on a mass scale. The world would have been better off if someone had just shoved marx’s lazy fascist ass off a cliff – say the grand canyon? The FDR and Wison would have not heard of marx’s way of governming an dimplemented it here. Marxist commies have been incrementaly taking this country over for the last 100 years. No reason wy we cannot just ignore them and take our country back. Then again, when the good lord comes back again, He will wipe out socialism for good and we will have an entire planet free from marxism, gayism, abortion, fraud, extortion, government tyranny, etc. It will be like the “progressives” never made any “progress” at all. Everything you have worked for will be destroyed in the bloink of an eye never to return again. No wonder will will all be rejoicing.

  62. #63 Rincewind'smuse
    March 16, 2011

    Sounds halfaway reasonable to me…..Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Medicine Man

    Poe. Gotta be. Nobody this side of Whirled Nut Daily is this damned stupid.

  63. #64 Paul Murray
    March 16, 2011

    Just set zero-oclock to sunrise, wherever you happen to be. Automatic daylight savings for everyone, and no jarring transitions to worry about. Have to work something out for people above the arctic circle, but apart from them it would work great.

  64. #65 Paul Murray
    March 16, 2011

    Oh – as for computer time, time should be a 64-bit quantity: number of nanoseconds since the Big Bang. I think there’s enough precision in 64 bits for that.

    Sorted.

  65. #66 Narad
    March 17, 2011

    Just set zero-oclock to sunrise, wherever you happen to be. Automatic daylight savings for everyone, and no jarring transitions to worry about.

    Oh – as for computer time, time should be a 64-bit quantity: number of nanoseconds since the Big Bang.

    Like clowns out of a Volkswagen.

  66. #67 Wow
    March 17, 2011

    It’s been figured that for accidents (road accidents) to decline, you want the day to start in winter with the sun up for a while so that any icy conditions on the road have been removed by the sunlight.

    This would actually BE a daylight saving time, just that you’d have LST (local sidereal time) most of the year, and shift clocks back on Winter to let the sun come up whilst you’re still asleep.

    You’d have more dark evenings, but icy roads take a while to form.

  67. #68 Pablo
    March 17, 2011

    It’s been figured that for accidents (road accidents) to decline, you want the day to start in winter with the sun up for a while so that any icy conditions on the road have been removed by the sunlight.

    I live in the midwest. The sun doesn’t shine in the winter.

  68. #69 Todd W.
    March 17, 2011

    @Pablo

    I live in the midwest. The sun doesn’t shine in the winter.

    No kidding. If we changed clocks to allow the sun to mitigate icy roads, those of us in northern latitudes would be setting the clocks several hours ahead, rather than an hour back, in winter.

  69. #70 triskelethecat
    March 17, 2011

    @Pablo and Todd W: I beg to differ with you. Why, I can clearly recall many, many beautiful, sunny winter days. OK, the temperatures were in the single digits, but the sun WAS shining (Why yes, I grew up in Michigan, why do you ask?)

  70. #71 Todd W.
    March 17, 2011

    @MI Dawn (aka triskelethecat)

    I was referring mainly to the mornings. Sun rises a bit late, so in order for the sun to have a chance to reduce ice in any degree, we’d need to set the clocks way ahead. That might also reduce the effects of glare, since the sun would be higher up by the time people start heading to work. Maybe not such a bad idea.

    Then again, it would put the homeward commute well into darkness. Double-edged sword.

  71. #72 Calli Arcale
    March 17, 2011

    Plus, considering how @#$@# cold it gets here (and this winter has been especially cold), I’m not convinced it would really make that much of a difference for much of the winter. Yeah, it’ll make it sublimate a little faster, but when it’s -5 and you’ve got an inch thick snowpack on the road, even after the plow’s been by, it’s not really going to make much difference.

  72. #73 Todd W.
    March 17, 2011

    @Calli Arcale

    I remember those days. Taking a blow dryer or torch to the door that’s frozen shut. Making sure the jumper cables are near to hand. Not quite as bad since I moved toward the moderating influence of the ocean.

  73. #74 Pablo
    March 17, 2011

    I actually deleted, for brevity, a comment about how “except when it is exceptionally cold,” which I then had to go on and clarify (where it became unbrief).

    Single digits, Dawn? I think more of those bright, sunny days walking to physics class in college, where the temp was -20F…

  74. #75 triskelethecat
    March 17, 2011

    @Pablo: I have blissfully forgotten those zero and below days of walking to classes in Ann Arbor…but yeah.

    @Todd: it’s been a LONG time since I spent a Michigan winter (have to admit, VA and NJ are much better in that regard, although they don’t know how to handle snow and certainly can’t drive in it) but, as Calli said, IIRC, the sun made no impression on the ice on those cold days. On the other hand, it DID look pretty, glittering in the sunshine at noon…

    Dawn

  75. #76 Chris
    March 17, 2011

    Rincewind’smuse:

    Poe. Gotta be. Nobody this side of Whirled Nut Daily is this damned stupid.

    Actually Medicien Man/Dr. Smart/Doctor Smart/I.M. Smart/Televisionless Conservative/(at least another silly ‘nym) is really that stupid, or seriously suffering from some kind of dementia. I don’t know whether to laugh at him, or just pity his poor family.

  76. #77 Medicien Man
    March 17, 2011

    actually my family is worse than I am. You all have met my brother Doctor Smart.

    Chris, stop stalking us!