As we prepare for our semi-annual ritual of changing our clocks I am reminded of a story I read many years ago on how we almost lost WWII because of a critical shortage of llama dung. Supplies of llama dung were severely curtailed by submarine activity and the army actually started lama farms to meet the demand. It turns out the mil-spec (military specification) for leather required the leather to be treated with llama dung because it had a calming effect on horses! Point being engineers just assumed the mil-spec was valid and never questioned it.
I get the feeling that the same kind of thing may be happening with DST. Originally DST was a way to maximize the amount of available day light during “normal” working or waking hours. When it was first instituted in the US during WWI it was year round and again year round in WWII for energy conservation. It’s an interesting argument considering any war production activity, particularly in WWII, was a 24/7 operation. Over the years DST has been justified by a variety of arguments including voter turnout and profits for radio stations.
The general assumption is DST is a benefit, but 45% of people poled by Rasmussen in 2009 felt DST was not worth it. Only 40% supported DST. The people of Arizona elected not to adapt DST as did Hawaii and the territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. Hawaii and the territories have a good justification, being so close the equator there is little effect.
No matter which side of the argument you are on I think most feel as I do. Having to change time screws up your internal clock for a while, and changing digital clocks, which are in everything, is an exercise in frustration. Each has its own unique way of being set. This is not to mention the major effort needed by satellite and cable TV broadcasters, cell phone and Wi-Fi providers, and others to create software changes so we have the correct time. It’s a big expense.
In a previous article I talked about how your location has more of an effect on when the sun rises and sets than DST. The sun does not rise at the same time for everyone within a time zone. Want more sunlight during the summer, move to Alaska.
In my humble opinion I think DST has outlived its usefulness. Most businesses now have extended hours, many companies have flexible hours, and we have good artificial lighting. Energy savings have not been conclusively proven. I think the cost of changing the clocks twice a year may cost more than we realize.
My solution: Advance all standard time zones thirty minutes (12 noon becomes 12:30 pm) and forget about DST and changing clocks. OK, you only get thirty more minutes of day light in the evening rather than an hour, but I think most people will find it easier to adjust their day rather than change time twice a year.
If you have an interest in DST and want to catch up on all of the craziness I suggest you read Seize the Daylight by David Prerau.
What’s you opinion? I would like to hear from you. Comment here or email me.
Wishing you clear skies