Daylight Savings Time


Last night, we had to “spring forward”, setting our clocks forward in our semi-annual fiddle-with-the-clocks routine.  I’m tired this morning, as my body clock doesn’t reset as easily as the one on the wall.  Most of the folks at work are tired too, and bemoaning the time change.

Arizona is one of the more enlightened states and doesn’t bother with Daylight Savings Time (DST).  It’s the strangest thing; life goes on and there are no dire consequences.  Here in California, we play around with time twice every year, much to everybody’s annoyance.

So, one has to wonder… why on earth do we do this?  It’s quite absurd when you get right down to it.  There has always been a fair amount of controversy on this subject.  Here’s an interesting site which lets you dig into all the gory details.

Here’s my take on it (I bet you aren’t surprised I have an opinion on this, are you?):  Let’s not bother.

Some claim that changing the clocks saves energy, decreases traffic accidents (though pedestrians are more likely to be killed by cars in the month following the time change than at other times), more daylight so kids trick-or-treating will be safer (kids simply wait until it’s dark – no change there), and decreases violent crimes.  All this by changing some digits on a clock.  It’s amazing what power that little device has, isn’t it?

Here’s an interesting proposition: What if we don’t fiddle with the clocks, but instead, we have school start one our earlier (or one hour later) depending on the time of year.  Businesses could do that too, if they felt their employees would benefit.  You’d get all the claimed advantages, without having to fiddle with the clocks.  Businesses and individuals who do not benefit could simply elect not to change their schedules.  If some did, and some didn’t, then rush hour would be less obnoxious as there would be multiple benefits; fewer cars on the road, and Edison would be happy because power demand would be spread out (they are always trying to get people to do this), to name just two.  Bingo! Everybody wins.

You see, clocks provide us a measurement of time.  We don’t alter other measurements seasonally or when convenient, so why do we monkey with time measurement?  Rulers always give the same measurement of length.  Scales always give the same measurement of weight.  Speedometers always give the same measurement of speed.  It’s a good thing that these are consistent, and you can imagine the chaos that would be created if they were not.  Yet we feel it’s quite fine to fiddle around with the clocks.  This makes no sense to me.

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