It happened again – last night, the population was forced to turn the clocks one hour forward, in the middle of the night. So, everyone had to get up at 2:00 in the night, turn the clocks to 3:00 and try to go to sleep again, knowing they’ll have one hour less sleep that night. Just kidding.
Most of the clocks in my house are radio controlled, so the amount of work to adjust time is not what it used to be. Still, there are a lot of clocks that need to be tuned manually: car dashboard, car radio, PDA, mobile phones, Fax, stove, microwave, plus a LOT of extra ones I haven’t even discovered yet. Even the automatic ones need to be controlled if they’re not radio based, i.e. computers (were they switched on when it happened? Was the time server available?), radios (did they get the RDS signal they need to adjust?).
Regarding mobile phones, I really can’t understand why this is necessary. I mean, these things are constantly connected to a network that NEEDS exact time to bill me, so why can’t they just send time zone pkus date & time each time I reconnect to a base station, or at least make it available there?
But back to the topic of this post: why do we even do that in the first place? There are different official stories to this, depending on where you live, but most agree that the idea was to save on electricity in the longer daylight hour. So, let’s look at the economics: supposedly everyone taking part uses one hour less of electricity, right? Wrong. This leaves out all the people that now get up in the dark, which may also be quite a lot. Plus the children who go to bed later (“daddy – it’s not even dark yet!”).
I can’t see any enhanced productivity, either. *My* best hours are early in the morning, in the evening I’m usually worn out by the day. So *I* would rather have a sunny early start, instead of driving to work in the dark for one more month. Fuel won’t be saved, either, because everybody needs to get to work regardless of the amount of daylight.
Let’s take a quick look at the costs of DST: millions of people and machines need to be adjusted to the time. Mechanisms to support DST must be integrated into software, hardware and minds. Then there’s the huge amount of people who get it wrong at one of the two days in the year, missing trains, flights and such. Animals are also told to not cope very well with the change, i.e. cows giving less milk. Timetables of trains, flights and other means of transport have to be adjusted, workers shifts as well – worldwide! In the fall, you can see trains standing still on the tracks for an hour to wait for the time shift!
So, I bet this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of movements trying to end daylight savings time. Count me in.
Anyway – have a nice 23-hour sunday!