Saturday, March 13, 2010

Why spring forward - or fall back?

Our semi-annual madness begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 14.

At that hour, the crazy get up to change their clocks one hour forward, to make sure they make it to Sunday service on time. The rest of us do it on Saturday evening, or Sunday afternoon, after we missed Sunday service.

The question remains: Why in the hell do we do this ridiculous time shifting twice a year?

Some credit/blame Benjamin Franklin, who noted how much candle power was lost during spring and summer. Yo, Ben, candles today are blamed for a sizable number of home fires each year.

We can actually look to, what else, war for this waste of time.

Yes, more energy could be saved, and more work achieved during World War I, if we shifted time. Apparently, Europeans had the same idea.

By WWII, daylight saving time was considered the status quo. By 1966, it was the law of the land, except in Hawaii, Arizona and parts of Indiana. The dates then were the last Sunday of April to the last Sunday in October. By 2005, those dates became the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday in November. Indiana caved in to national consensus in 2005.

For some background info check out this piece from U.S. News and World Report.

At one time, farmers were blamed for this fiasco. Then, it was New York retailers who wanted more shoppers to stop by stores on their way home from work.

As for saving energy, daylight saving time is a bust. You can read this piece for some information on the supposed savings on energy.

What hasn't been calculated is how much time and productivity is lost due to people changing their clocks or forgetting to, costing yet more time and productivity. Yes, atomic clocks render this discussion moot, but these clocks have not been universally adopted, if at all.

But is all this fuss worth the disruption to our collective circadian rhythm? Absolutely not.

Let's just split the difference and call it a day or a year. Let's move the clocks ahead just one-half hour this Sunday and we'll be good for the fall and for years after. Please.

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