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#1 User is offline   MTP Reggie 

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 05:34 PM

100 years later, the madness of daylight saving time endures
Nov 3, 2018 11:45 AM EST
By Michael Downing, The Conversation
PBS

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One hundred years after Congress passed the first daylight saving legislation, more and more people are doubting the wisdom of changing the clocks.

In August, the EU Commission proposed ending the biannual practice. Last winter, lawmakers in Florida passed the "Sunshine Protection Act," which will make daylight saving a year-round reality in the Sunshine State. If approved by the federal government, this will effectively move Florida's residents one time zone to the east, aligning cities from Jacksonville to Miami with Nova Scotia rather than New York and Washington, D.C. The cost of rescheduling international and interstate business and commerce hasn't been calculated. Instead, relying on the same overly optimistic math that led the original proponents of daylight saving to predict vast energy savings, crisper farm products harvested before the morning dew dried and lessened eye strain for industrial workers, Florida legislators are lauding the benefits of putting "more sunshine in our lives."

It's absurd and fitting that a century later, opponents and supporters of daylight saving are still not sure exactly what it does. Despite its name, daylight saving has never saved anyone anything. But it has proven to be a fantastically effective driver of retail spending.

Making the trains run on time

For centuries people set their clocks and watches by looking up at the sun and estimating, which yielded wildly dissimilar results between (and often within) cities and towns. To railroad companies around the world, that wasn't acceptable. They needed synchronized, predictable station times for arrivals and departures, so they proposed splitting up the globe into 24 time zones. In 1883, the economic clout of the railroads allowed them to replace sun time with standard time with no legislative assistance and little public opposition. The clocks were calm for almost 30 years, apart from an annual debate in the British Parliament over whether to pass a Daylight Saving Act. While proponents argued that shoving clocks ahead during summer months would reduce energy consumption and encourage outdoor recreation, the opposition won out. Then, in 1916, Germany suddenly adopted the British idea in hopes of conserving energy for its war effort. Within a year, Great Britain followed suit. And despite fanatical opposition from the farm lobby, so would the United States.

From patriotic duty to money making scheme

A law requiring Americans to lose an hour was confounding enough. But Congress also tacked on the legal mandate for the four continental time zones. The patriotic rationale for daylight saving went like this: Shifting one hour of available light from the very early morning (when most Americans were asleep) would reduce the demand for domestic electrical power used to illuminate homes in the evening, which would spare more energy for the war effort.

On March 19, 1918, Woodrow Wilson signed the Calder Act requiring Americans to set their clocks to standard time; less than two weeks later, on March 31, they would be required to abandon standard time and push their clocks ahead by an hour for the nation's first experiment with daylight saving. It didn't go smoothly. In 1918, Easter Sunday fell on March 31, which led to a lot of latecomers to church services. Enraged rural and evangelical opponents thereafter blamed daylight saving for subverting sun time, or "God's time." Newspapers were deluged by letter writers complaining that daylight saving upset astronomical data and made almanacs useless, prevented Americans from enjoying the freshest early morning air, and even browned out lawns unaccustomed to so much daylight. Within a year, daylight saving was repealed. But like most weeds, the practice thrived by neglect.

In 1920, New York and dozens of other cities adopted their own metropolitan daylight saving policies. The Chamber of Commerce spurred along this movement on behalf of department store owners, who had noticed that later sunset times encouraged people to stop and shop on their way home from work. By 1965, 18 states observed daylight saving six months a year; some cities and towns in 18 other states observed daylight saving for four, five or six months a year; and 12 states stuck to standard time.

This wasn't exactly ideal. A 35-mile bus trip from Steubenville, Ohio, to Moundsville, West Virginia, passed through seven distinct local time zones. The U.S. Naval Observatory dubbed the world's greatest superpower "the world's worst timekeeper." So, in 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which mandated six months of standard time and six of daylight saving.

Great for golf but what about everyone else?

Why do we still do it?

Today we know that changing the clocks does influence our behavior. For example, later sunset times have dramatically increased participation in afterschool sports programs and attendance at professional sports events. In 1920, The Washington Post reported that golf ball sales in 1918 the first year of daylight saving increased by 20 percent.

And when Congress extended daylight saving from six to seven months in 1986, the golf industry estimated that extra month was worth as much as US$400 million in additional equipment sales and green fees. To this day, the Nielsen ratings for even the most popular television shows decline precipitously when we spring forward, because we go outside to enjoy the sunlight.

But the promised energy savings the presenting rationale for the policy have never materialized.

(snip)

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#2 User is offline   Natural Selection 

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 06:10 PM

While it sucks when we "Spring Forward", I must admit I enjoyed the "Fall back" today.
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#3 User is offline   MTP Reggie 

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 06:11 PM

View PostNatural Selection, on 04 November 2018 - 06:10 PM, said:

While it sucks when we "Spring Forward", I must admit I enjoyed the "Fall back" today.


Until the sun sets at 5 PM...
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#4 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 06:26 PM

I DESPISE "daylight savings time". What a freakin' bother, and for no good reason whatsoever.

Today I hafta go throughout the entire apt changing the time on every clock, the stove, the microwave, the DVD player, the tape decks, the watch, etc etc etc, only to have to do it all AGAIN six months from now, and for NO LOGICAL REASON WHATSOEVER.

:hairpull:
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#5 User is offline   Rock N' Roll Right Winger 

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 06:29 PM

View PostMTP Reggie, on 04 November 2018 - 06:11 PM, said:

Until the sun sets at 5 PM...

:exactly:

They say it's also for the school kids to not have to wait for the bus or walk to school in the dark?

Even with this they STILL have wait for the bus and walk to school in the dark!

Now all this means is that us adults who work the morning shift have to go to work in the dark and also get home for it to be dark an hour later if we don't work overtime. :bang:
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#6 User is offline   BerkeleyUnderground 

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 07:06 PM

I live on the West Coast but I listen to an internet radio station in AZ and there they don't do the daylight saving thing.
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#7 User is offline   USNRETWIFE 

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 07:19 PM

Just leave it one way or the other already! I prefer leaving it Daylight Saving Time as I like it light as late as possible in the afternoon/evening, but I would accept Standard Time. Like Monty, I hate having to change every clock in the house.
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#8 User is offline   searcher 

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 07:32 PM

View PostUSNRETWIFE, on 04 November 2018 - 07:19 PM, said:

Just leave it one way or the other already! I prefer leaving it Daylight Saving Time as I like it light as late as possible in the afternoon/evening, but I would accept Standard Time. Like Monty, I hate having to change every clock in the house.



:yeahthat:

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#9 User is online   LongKnife 

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 08:18 PM

Some inconvenience in changing a few clocks twice a year, but I don't think I'd go so far as to call it "madness". I do like the late sunsets during the summer.
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#10 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 11:51 PM

View PostLongKnife, on 04 November 2018 - 08:18 PM, said:

Some inconvenience in changing a few clocks twice a year, but I don't think I'd go so far as to call it "madness". I do like the late sunsets during the summer.


Fine, then leave it on that time permanently. Late sunsets every summer without screwing everything up twice a year.

<_<
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#11 User is offline   searcher 

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 12:11 AM

View PostMontyPython, on 04 November 2018 - 11:51 PM, said:

Fine, then leave it on that time permanently. Late sunsets every summer without screwing everything up twice a year.

<_<



I've always liked summertime time. I hate dark at 5 PM.
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#12 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 12:37 AM

View Postsearcher, on 05 November 2018 - 12:11 AM, said:

I've always liked summertime time. I hate dark at 5 PM.
Mark


The thing is, how late or early it gets dark or light at any given point during the year changes so slowly that it's never a "shock to the system" all by itself. Every day is pretty much exactly like the days before & after, except when Daylight Savings day suddenly interferes and screws everything up.

B)
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#13 User is offline   searcher 

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 01:57 AM

View PostMontyPython, on 05 November 2018 - 12:37 AM, said:

The thing is, how late or early it gets dark or light at any given point during the year changes so slowly that it's never a "shock to the system" all by itself. Every day is pretty much exactly like the days before & after, except when Daylight Savings day suddenly interferes and screws everything up.

B)



Exactly. At least the days will be getting longer in less than 2 months. Summer is coming. I may just survive. :biglaugh:

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#14 User is online   JerryL 

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 03:06 AM

View PostMontyPython, on 04 November 2018 - 11:51 PM, said:

Fine, then leave it on that time permanently. Late sunsets every summer without screwing everything up twice a year.

<_<

Try living someplace like England when they shift in the fall. Dark when you go to work, dark when you come home. Never really gets light anyway but who wants sunset at 4:30PM.

HATE, HATE, HATE falling back.
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#15 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 09:23 AM

View PostJerryL, on 05 November 2018 - 03:06 AM, said:

Try living someplace like England when they shift in the fall. Dark when you go to work, dark when you come home. Never really gets light anyway but who wants sunset at 4:30PM.

HATE, HATE, HATE falling back.


I'm pretty sure the latitude locations of Blaine WA and London England are only a couple degrees different. So they're probably very similarly affected. And I HATE it too!

:(

This post has been edited by MontyPython: 05 November 2018 - 09:25 AM

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#16 User is offline   Bubbajoebob 

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 12:08 PM

When I teach 1st semester astronomy I've had to tell students that changing the clocks doesn't actually make the day longer. We're just pretending it's a different time than it actually is.
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#17 User is offline   Ladybird 

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 01:13 PM

View PostNatural Selection, on 04 November 2018 - 06:10 PM, said:

While it sucks when we "Spring Forward", I must admit I enjoyed the "Fall back" today.

So did I. I woke up early, made chicken and rice for lunch, and got to work on time.
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#18 User is offline   Italian Biker 

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 09:06 PM

It only bothers me if I'm deer hunting the morning of the change. It I have to remember to get up at the new 4:00AM instead of the normal 5:00AM, which I did for the last two days. On a side note, I didn't save a ton of money on my car insurance, but I did shoot a deer today.
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#19 User is offline   Severian 

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 09:45 PM

View PostItalian Biker, on 05 November 2018 - 09:06 PM, said:

It only bothers me if I'm deer hunting the morning of the change. It I have to remember to get up at the new 4:00AM instead of the normal 5:00AM, which I did for the last two days. On a side note, I didn't save a ton of money on my car insurance, but I did shoot a deer today.

Yum, venison.
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#20 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 10:13 PM

Mmmm Yeah, Venison!

I used to have a neighbor who always kept me supplied with fresh venison steaks & sausage. Unfortunately he died last year. :( No more free venison. Naturally, since he was a good friend I miss him a lot more than the venison. But I won't pretend I don't miss the venison too.

:(
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