Daylight saving?

October 31 2020

Why? Why? Why? We have all asked the question, why do we turn the clocks back in the fall and ahead one hour in the spring? And depending where you lived the answer could have got could vary for a number of different reasons most of which were not really the true reason.

One example was what I learned as a kid … the time changed so that all the people that worked in offices and factories could enjoy more of the warm summer weather.

Now that was obvious was not the actual reason, it quite possibly could be an enjoyed side effect but is certainly not the reason.

I remember a local radio announcer saying it was done for the farmers, to give them more time to work in the fields … as if farmers ever really used clocks to decide when to go what to do, as most were up before sunrise and worked to sunset. No a calendar is more important time indicator to a farmer than most clocks.

So where did Daylight Savings Time come from? Any why?

George Hudson (a British born New Zealander) first proposed the idea of daylight saving in 1895. The German Empire and Austria-Hungary organized the first nationwide implementation starting on April 30, 1916. Many countries have used it at various times since then, particularly since the 1970 energy crisis DST (Daylight Savings Time) is generally not observed near the equator, where sunrise and sunset times do not vary enough to justify it. Some countries observe it only in some regions; for example, parts of Australia observe it, while other parts do not. Only a minority of the world’s population uses DST; Asia and Africa generally do not observe it.

DST clock shifts sometimes complicate timekeeping and can disrupt travel, billing, record keeping, medical devices, heavy equipment, and sleep patterns. Computer software often adjusts clocks automatically, but policy changes by various jurisdictions of DST dates and timings may be confusing.

Industrialized societies usually follow a clock-based schedule for daily activities that do not change throughout the course of the year. The time of day that individuals begin and end work or school, and the coordination of mass transit, for example, usually remain constant year-round. In contrast, an agricultural society’s daily routines for work and personal conduct are more likely governed by the length of daylight hours and by solar time, which change seasonally because of the Earth’s axial tilt. North and south of the tropics daylight lasts longer in summer and shorter in winter, with the effect becoming greater the further one moves away from the tropics.

By synchronously resetting all clocks in a region to one hour ahead of standard time, individuals who follow such a year-round schedule will wake an hour earlier than they would have otherwise; they will begin and complete daily work routines an hour earlier, and they will have available to them an extra hour of daylight after their workday activities. However, they will have one less hour of daylight at the start of each day, making the policy less practical during winter.

While the times of sunrise and sunset change at roughly equal rates as the seasons change, proponents of daylight saving time argue that most people prefer a greater increase in daylight hours after the typical “nine to five” workday. Supporters have also argued that DST decreases energy consumption by reducing the need for lighting and heating, but the actual effect on overall energy use is heavily disputed.

The manipulation of time at higher latitudes (for example Alaska) has little impact on daily life, because the length of day and night changes more extremely throughout the seasons (in comparison to other latitudes), and thus sunrise and sunset times are significantly out of phase with standard working hours regardless of manipulations of the clock. DST is also of little use for locations near the equator, because these regions see only a small variation in daylight in the course of the year. The effect also varies according to how far east or west the location is within its time zone, with locations farther east inside the time zone benefiting more from DST than locations farther west in the same time zone.

So Daylight Savings Time love it or hate it, is something we have been enduring for our lifetimes, gaining an hour, losing an hour, changing the clocks on all those electronic devices, at least our smart devices and computers automatically adjust the time.

I know as a traveler, time zones themselves add a special complexity when planning, I have often told about wintering in Quartzsite Arizona and playing golf in Blyth California only 20 kilometres away but was in a different time zone. Then add Daylight Savings Time and knowing that not every state (Arizona) or province will participate in DST, its even too much for my laptop to keep up with. At least my smartphone keeps up with the correct time in the areas we are traveling through … so I’m thinking the next great invention needs to be “Smart clocks”, we have atomic clocks that adjust themselves keep the correct time … I’m old enough to remember the VCR players and resetting those clocks … like seriously.

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