Dave McChesney (vespican) wrote,
Dave McChesney
vespican

Things That Irk Me 2

This weekend, early on Sunday morning, we'll adjust our clocks from 2 am back to 1 am as we transistion from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time.  (Well, we do that here in the US.  I understand the UK has already changed back, and I have no idea about the rest of the world.)  Right now it's dark at 6 pm.  Next week it'll be dark at 5 and it will be earlier each day until the Winter Solstice.

I've been aware of and have lived with Daylight Saving Time since I was a small lad.  I suppose the first memories are from when we lived in Sumner, Washington and Dad worked at or on McCord AFB.  Not only did he go to work and hour earlier in summer because the clocks had been advanced an hour, he got an additional hour of sunlight because his job started an hour earlier as well.  If he normally started at 8 am, during the summer he started at 7 am, so he and his fellow workers got two extra hours.

But do we really save daylight?  No!  We merely shift it around.  We start our day an hour earlier to match the changed setting of the clock.  The amount of daylight on any given day depends upon the time of year and our latitude, or how far north or south we are.  Along the northern part of the Continental US we get a pretty good variation between winter and summer, and the difference is more pronounced as we go north.

Last night's sunset, taken a bit after 6 pm.

Over the past few years, I've been thinking that "they" have it backwards.  We should be on Daylight Saving Time in the winter so we can have a least a smidgeon of it at the end of the day.  When I was working from 8 am to 4:30 pm, it would be dark, just starting to get light when I went to work, and by the time I got home it would be dark again.  I'd rather have gone to work int eh dark and had a little bit of light left when coming home in the late afternoon or early evening.

One reason for going off Daylight Saving in winter that I've heard is to prevent kids from going to school in the dark.  Reasonable I guess, but how about kids in the far north of Canada or in Alaska.  I went to first grade on Eielson AFB for a few months and I remember walking down our drive way to catch the bus in the dark, and I remember getting off the bus and walking home in the dark.  It really didn't matter if we were on Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time.  In the middle of winter there was only a few hours each day when the sun would be above the horizon.

Anyway, I think we make too big a deal out of this Daylight Savings thing.  We should pick one, Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time and stay on it. If we need to adjust hours to provide some benefit, that simply adjust the times we do things.  Start the job, open the business an hour earlier or an hour later and leave the clock alone.

Sorry if this kind of rambles.  It's one of those ideas I've had for a while but now that I sit to write it, my thoughts are a bit scrambled.
Dave
Tags: life in america, misc
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