Monday, November 2, 2015


Time to change
Foolish time change


WHAT ONCE MAY HAVE HAD a purpose now is just a pain in the posterior.

Twice a year we - most countries I visit - play "Change the clock" from "Summer time" or "Daylight Savings Time" to "Standard" or perhaps "Winter" time.

Spring ahead (lose an hour's sleep) and Fall behind (gain an hour's sleep).

It might have made sense in the 1800s, but I have my doubts.

Nothing new under the sun

According to the History of Daylight Saving Time - DST web site, Although DST has only been used for about 100 years, the idea was conceived many years before. Ancient civilizations are known to have engaged in a practice similar to modern DST where they would adjust their daily schedules to the Sun's schedule. For example, the Roman water clocks used different scales for different months of the year.

It makes sense to adjust…daily schedules to accommodate daylight hours.

Farmers and wives famously work from sun up to sun down; the farmers during planting and harvest seasons, the wives year 'round.

During the war years - which never seem to cease - the excuse was to work during daylight hours to save electricity (or oil before that).

It would seem easier to adjust our schedules - as do farmers and wives - to accommodate the sun than to play silly games adjusting clocks. (Fortunately, most clocks on computers and mobile phones adjust sans our manual intervention.) Analog clocks and watches are relatively simple to adjust; digital time pieces are another matter since most require stepping through 23 hours to shift to "standard" time. One would think that with all the sophistication of digital watches and clocks that users would be able to "go back" one hour in the fall (autumn) as easily as they go forward in the spring. Not so.

The traditional of some religions ignore the clock and adjust their time of prayers according to the number of daylight hours in a day. Both Judaism and its daughter religion Islam - along with some other faiths - set prayer times according to the sun's rising and setting. Both Judaism and Islam divide 12-hour days (hours from sun up to sun down) into hours of 60 minutes "more or less - more during longer days and less during shorter days.

It may be inconvenient to set work hours to coincide with the sun's angle, it seems that a business could easily adjust its hours to accommodate the sun's position if daylight is a requirement of the job.

Instead of sending children to school at, say, 7 a.m. in semi-darkness, send them at 7:30 or 8 a.m., knowing that there is a chance they will return in semi-darkness or even after dark. As the old Fram commercial went: "Pay me now or pay me later."

If countries that insist on playing games with the clock want to save energy, let them implement other forms of energy production - solar, wind, water. That needs to e done in any event as oil and gas are non-renewable resources.

Meanwhile, for those of us who are shackled to the clock, let us adjust our schedules to the sun rather than playing games with the clock.


Relevant web sites:

History of Daylight Saving Time - DST

8 Things You May Not Know About Daylight Saving Time

Faith in the Neighborhood - What a difference a "day" makes

Annual Prayer Time Table - Daylight Saving Time Enabled

No comments: