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Monday, March 12, 2007

Daylight saving time

Who decided we need more Daylight saving time?

According to
Wikipedia, the idea of Daylight saving time began in 1905 with Englishman William Willett, and he published a proposal for it in 1907 (evidently Benjamin Franklin raised the idea as early as 1784).

"Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shortage as Autumn approaches; and everyone has given utterance to regret that the clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used." -- William Willett "The Waste of Daylight" 1907

"DST was first enacted by a national government by Germany during World War I...On March 19, 1918, the U.S. Congress established DST from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October." This was unpopular and was repealed in 1919. (Wikipedia)

Of course, we all understand (don't we?) that no daylight is actually saved, the amount of daylight being governed by the God-created sun rather than our watches. So the running back & forth of clocks and watches doesn't really save "daylight". Does it actually save energy? I don't know. I am simple enough to know that the "time change" associated with DST will increase the use of electricity in the morning and reduce its use in the evening. If the reduction of energy use in the evening reduction in greater than the increase of energy use in the morning, then a savings could occur. According to United States DOT, such a savings does occur -- about 1% each day.

"I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves." -- Robertson Davies, "The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks" 1947

To me, Daylight saving time seems to be a government-imposed lifestyle change for all its citizens.

8 comments:

clinch64 said...

I do not see how the average household's energy bill will be any lower as a result of daylight savings time. Furthermore, its been proven that such changes disrupt the natural rhythms.

If the truth were known, economics would probably be the chief reason. If there is more daylight, the individual is more likely to spend money. Old greenback wins out again.

Neil

amity said...

I like it. Like driving to work early in daylight in winter, like having longer light in the evenings in summer. And I have heard it does save a lot of energy.

R. L. Vaughn said...

As far as likes and dislikes, I have some of both. Moving DST up this early causes not only driving to work in the dark, but starting work in the dark as well. The upside includes extra gardening, mowing (yuk), etc. time after work in the evenings in summer.

As far as the principle is concerned, I don't like it. It's almost like Congress passing a law that everyone must get up an hour earlier between the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November -- because "Congress knows best".

BTW, DST doesn't affect the "winter light" unless they decide to extend it even further!

clinch64 said...

Robert, i agree with you about what Congress can do. It seems they are now in the business of trying to legislate nature, so to speak. I think part of our country's dilemma is the fact that we seem to go against nature so much. Is Congress now in the business of playing God? I wonder what's next.

I was just pondering if there could be a legitimate way for a person not to change their clocks when the switch occured and still be able to normally carry about with their daily routine? In a way, it would sort of be the equivalent of someone living in one time zone and working in another, which quite a few people do in certain parts of the country. Just a thought to entertain.

Neil

R. L. Vaughn said...

I want to note that I overlooked the fact that the "new" DST has encroached on winter time, the March 11th date coming about a week and a half before the official coming of spring.

Anonymous said...

There is not a balance between the start of DST and the end of DST. In the Spring the daylight and night times are equal around 21March; and in the Fall the daylight and night times are equal around 21 September. Therefore, in order to be equal for the "saving" of daylight should start the same number of days before 21 March and should end the same number of days after 21 September. But then who am I to take oppositon to the wisdom of Congress. Also, old Ben Franklin did not originate the idea, he got it from the French who were using DST in order to squeeze more productive time in the factories (remember in the late 1700's there was no electricity or any other convenient and cheap artificial lighting; and workers were not restricted to 8 hours of work per day, nor were there prohibitions against working "children" in factories. Hoyt D. F. Sparks

amity said...

An old lady one said she didn't like daylight savings time, she preferred "God's time." Well of course being more sophisticated than that lady, we know time measurement is a human invention anyway. Unless we want to follow the rough rhythm provided by the sun and fall back on sundials, we are going to have to institute time zones and official time keeping.

We are going to have to have some systematization of time systems if we expect the trains to run on time anyway. We need something to set our watch by. That means someone is going to have to make some rules! Not congress's job? Who then?

clinch64 said...

In reference to Mr. Sparks posting, I am sure most of the people who worked in those factories were so tired at the end of the day that they could care less which time zone or plan they were under.