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Sometimes stupid wins: A "contractual obligation" piece (1 of 6)

This piece is for Diane, who challenged me to argue why Indiana (and, by extension, Arizona and a few counties in Ohio and Kentucky) should adopt Daylight Savings time. Thanks, Diane, I didn't realize you'd end up sticking me in the middle of a struggle that borders on the religious.

Anyway... Daylight Savings Time was first imposed in Germany during World War I, and England soon followed suit. The U.S. followed suit in 1918, lumping it into the same package that gave us the four time zones that straddle the contiguous 48 states. It went away, but was brought back for World War II and has continued ever since.

The basic idea was to try to adjust the clock to match the changing day/night cycle, much like Leap Years balance out the inconsiderate Earth's habit of not completing a year in exactly 365 days. By shifting the perceived time, it would "maximize" the daylight hours without having to shift daily scheduled events -- like work hours.

Naturally, there were opponents. People protested having to shift their internal clocks to adapt to external schedules, rather than vice versa. It was also seen as a move by "big government" to arbitrarily assert its power over even the most minute details of people's lives.

The argument still goes on today. As noted above, there are places in the U.S. that still refuse to adopt Daylight Savings time. Consequently, there are some places in Indiana that find themselves separated by two hours from their neighbors. And twice a year, Paul Harvey can be counted to call upon its dismantling on his radio program.

I happen to agree. It is a stupid idea. But, like so many other stupid ideas, its mere stupidity isn't enough to get it to go away. Daylight Savings Time has had too long to take root and implant itself in our culture. Nowadays VCRs and computers automagically adapt themselves to DST twice a year.

To the residents of Indiana, Arizona, and the aforementioned counties of Ohio and Kentucky: it's over. Give it up. You fought a good fight (hell, I'll even say you fought the right fight), but you lost. It's time to surrender to the inevitable. Sometimes stupid wins, and it's just easier and better to hang it up and save the energy for another fight.

Daylight Savings Time: it's stupid, it's pointless, it's annoying, and it's here to stay. Adapt and MoveOn, already.

J.


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Comments (41)

Instead of eliminating dayl... (Below threshold)
GZ:

Instead of eliminating daylight savings time, it should be extended and made permanent. It's ridiculous that Mr. Sun comes up while people are stumbling around their houses looking for the shaving cream, and goes down before those same people can get home after work.

So far as I can see, the sun should come up around 9:00 in the morning, year round, giving people maximum time to do outdoor/daylight things after the workday is done.

GZ

Nice idea, GZ, but it'll de... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Nice idea, GZ, but it'll destroy the idea of a 24 hour day. Among all the other chaos that would cause, Fox would have to find a new name for its hit Kiefer Sutherland show...

J.

Being from Arizona, I find ... (Below threshold)
dj:

Being from Arizona, I find the lack of our participation in DST annoying. Simply because twice a year I have to re-remember when all the teleconference meetings I attend for work occur. A humongous PITA is what it is. What makes it even crazier is when you throw in global telecon's, especially those in Australia, simply because their DST is reversed, yeah it's still 'Spring forward, Fall back', but the spring 'forward' occurs in October.

However, I still like the fact that we're GMT-7 all year long, I just think everyone else has it wrong with the 'spring forward, fall back'. It was great in the early years of incandescent lights, but it's a concept thats long since outgrown its usefulness.

I think we ought to make DS... (Below threshold)

I think we ought to make DST a daily thing, not just twice a year. For instance, we can just move the clock to 6:00 AM when it rises, to noon when the sun is directly overhead, then to 6:00 PM when it sets. If that means speeding up or slowing down the clock to match the sun, so be it. It guarantees everyone 8 hours sleep each night, although the hours may not all be the same length. But we just need to deal with it.

I lived in Indiana for a co... (Below threshold)
Mike:

I lived in Indiana for a couple of years (having lived the rest of my life on the east coast) and not changing the clocks had it pros and cons. It was nice to have prime time TV come on at 7 and the news at 10, it got me in bed earlier. Although, it would have been nice to have all that sunlight when I got home from work to enjoy the outdoors. In Michigan, during daylight savings, it doesn't get dark until 9:30 at night. That would leave plenty of time to get a full 18 holes of golf after work!

As a parent, all I have to ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

As a parent, all I have to say is that it is extremely difficult to adjust kids to the changes in the clock. When we Spring forward, the kids insist it can't be bedtime, since it is "light" outside, when we fall back, they get up way earlier than I would like.

Probably be easier for all of them, if the clocks didn't change twice a year.

It's a bit of a stretch to ... (Below threshold)
Carrick Talmadge:

It's a bit of a stretch to say that "Consequently, there are some places in Indiana that find themselves separated by two hours from their neighbors."

Actually there are three zones in Indiana. A Northwestern zone which follows CT and observes daylight savings time, a large middle chunk which follows EST (it doesn't observe daily savings time), and a chunk near the Kentucky border which follows ET and observes daily savings time. The largest difference you will get between any two neighbors, or any two Hoosiers in general, is just one hour.

The only difference is this experience, and that of somebody living near a "normal" time-zone boundary is that the difference in time between you and your neighbor shifts between zero and one hour during the year. (Yes, I agree that this is confusing.)

One of the legislation bill... (Below threshold)
Jack12:

One of the legislation bills being presented in the Maine Senate this year is a proposal to change its time zone to Atlantic Time, and to drop daylight savings time. (This would be the equivalent of being on EST daylight savings time all year round). So there is a possibility of Maine joining “Indiana, Arizona, and the aforementioned counties of Ohio and Kentucky”.

"Nowadays VCRs and computer... (Below threshold)

"Nowadays VCRs and computers automagically adapt themselves to DST twice a year."

Correct me if I'm wrong...but isn't that automatic change in time due to a signal transmitted from the National Observatory and broadcast-usually by local PBS stations-so that it's picked up by TV's, VCR's, DVD's, and clock radios? Computers have the change built in but I think I'm right about the others.

Also, I seem to recall another reason for DST...it would give rural schoolchildren more daylight and they wouldn't have to walk out to the bus in the dark.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME:<br /... (Below threshold)

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME:
Don't be a hick; get jiggy with it!

My VCR does the time change... (Below threshold)

My VCR does the time change whether it's connected to the cable or not, and the time signal doesn't seem to come through my local PBS affiliate anyway.

When I was in the Navy stat... (Below threshold)
craig mclaughlin:

When I was in the Navy stationed in McMurdo Station, Antarctica, we were on daylight savings time despite the fact that the sun shone 24/7.

How stupid is that?

When I first came to Americ... (Below threshold)
BR:

When I first came to America, I thought it was the cutest thing - man's power over time! When I matured, I loved making whoopee in that timeless moment (hour) when the clocks move back!

priceless and hopefully int... (Below threshold)
tee bee:

priceless and hopefully intentional: ...VCRs and computers automagically adapt themselves to DST twice a year. if only they would "automagically" tape the shows I miss - I have yet to successfully set the stupid thing.

DST: another great technology conceived during war time.

It seems there's a computer... (Below threshold)
BR:

It seems there's a computer component to this Daylight Savings Time thing that I didn't realize until a few days ago at this wizbang thread:

"Just for the record - in case any officials EVER investigate CBSgate - there's been a change, but probably not willful alteration, in computer clocks:

When I looked at CBS's original 9/8/04 docs on their site this morning, I noticed their 4 pdf creation dates had all changed to the 5PM hour, instead of the 6PM hour as it used to be. (I have screen snapshots from 9/24/04 which show them at 6 PM.) I also checked USA Today, Foxnews and Lukasiak's sites. Their fake docs pdf creation times have all changed to one hour earlier. I guess the computers must have retroactively changed them when Daylight Savings Time went to Standard Time on the last Sunday in October 04."

I promptly gave up on the a... (Below threshold)
Jay:

I promptly gave up on the automatic time setting on my TV and VCR. The DST is, I believe, built in, but the time in general can be set automagically if you have cable. And is supposed to be broadcast over the air as well, locally by channel 2, which is indeed PBS. That just plain doesn't work. It's up to me to set the time and then keep it reasonably accurate. Since I don't foresee having cable any time soon, this won't change. when we get a house we are more likely to go satellite than cable.

Hey, States' Rights. Need ... (Below threshold)
Jon:

Hey, States' Rights. Need I say more? Every state has the right to set the time as they please. Here in Indiana we haven't adopted a statewide rule. We let the counties decide whether or not to follow follow DST. As Carrick Talmadge pointed out, we have basically three big areas in the state and each one has a different opinion about what the time should be. You have the northwestern counties, who want to do whatever Chicago does---central time with DST. You have the counties along our southern border, the ohio river, which follow whatever Louisville does, Eastern time with DST. And you have the other 75% of counties in the middle, Eastern time all year long, no DST.

Daylight savings time is often called the "zombie" issue of Indiana politics. It's not exactly alive, but it won't really die either. It gets brought up year after year and it never gets adopted. Roughly half of Hoosiers support it, and the over half of us think the rest of the country is nuts. The main obstacle to passing it is that those who support it disagree on whether we should go to Central time or Eastern time. So, every couple years the supporters bring up the same arguments about how much more business it would bring to the state, blah, blah, blah. There's a big push to get it passed, and everybody says "this might be the year". Then the arguing starts about which time to adopt, and that's pretty much as far as it goes.

Personally, I think we should keep it just the way it is. I like to be contrary. Any of you ever notice that Indiana has its own timezone listing in Windows? That by itself is enough reason for me to say, "leave it alone". *chuckle*

"priceless and hopefully... (Below threshold)
Jon:

"priceless and hopefully intentional: ...VCRs and computers automagically adapt themselves to DST twice a year. if only they would "automagically" tape the shows I miss - I have yet to successfully set the stupid thing."

Try TiVo. It will automatically adapt to any time changes and record your shows when they are actually aired. As a matter of fact, it will also record your shows if they're on on a special night, if they're moved to a new day or time, or even if they're on for a special duration, say a two hour special. All without you having to lift a finger, or even be aware of the change. Get it. It is AWESOME. It will change the way you watch tv forever.

All old factories had thous... (Below threshold)
Tim Mazac:

All old factories had thousands of windows to let in the light. Henry Ford invented the swing-shift and it was a few decades before industrial architecture and florescent lighting caught up. Now it is mom and dad that would leave for work with their little ones standing on a dark road waiting on their school bus that keeps DST alive and not so stupid.

Thanks, Jon. I find your c... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Jon. I find your comment on the deadlock of Indiana government comforting. I grew up in Indiana, where prime time shifted, but the clocks did not. During the few years I lived outside of Indiana, I hated springing forward. Indiana has great global placement for Eastern standard time, imho. It's not dark in winter afternoons, and there's plenty of late-day summer sun. Why mess with perfection?

Perhaps the rest of the country, not blessed with perfect balance of seasonal sunshine, could fix their clocks by half an hour, halfway between daylight and standard.

Hey, I just noticed somethi... (Below threshold)
Jon:

Hey, I just noticed something. Jay Tea, I think you were supposed to argue why Indiana should NOT adopt Daylight Savings Time.

Well he sort of did that. ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Well he sort of did that. His conclusion was that we (those of us who use DST) should all drop it, so that would in effect be an argument for Indiana not adopting it.

DLST is just another way fo... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

DLST is just another way for big brother govt to control our lives. I hate it.

Nothing is sacred anymore when you can decide to change time itself to suit your needs. We are not god.

Now that we have DST longer... (Below threshold)

Now that we have DST longer than "standard" time (spring forward first Sunday in April, fall back LAST Sunday in October), the "standard" moniker is now a misnomer.

We are now on substandard time.

As someone who currently li... (Below threshold)

As someone who currently lives in Arizona, I'm vehemently opposed to our state joining in on Daylight Saving Time (as I recall, officially there's no "S" at the end of Saving). Sure, standardization would be nice... but summer days are hot enough around here without an extra waking hour of daylight - it just doesn't start cooling down until the sun sets.

You try getting home from work in 115 degree heat and having to wait until 9 PM for the sun to go down and it to get any cooler.

I can see at least some arg... (Below threshold)
Chris James:

I can see at least some arguments for adopting DST in states where it's currently by county, but please leave Arizona alone.

I've yet to encounter any "self adjusting" gadget that does not allow one to opt out of DST. However, there are sure plenty that don't self-adjust, and would require twice yearly resets in a DST area!

A far simpler solution is to merely standardize sunrises and sunsets, then there would be no need to adjust the clocks at all. :-)

I'm not to worried about AZ ever adopting DST; any attempt by the legislature to do so would result in an immediate challenge via ballot initiative, and I can't see it ever passing. Not having DST just doesn't cause us many proplems, and most Arizonans love that we don't have that nonsense...
BTW, I loved the tounge-in-cheek article..

As the libs are fond of say... (Below threshold)
KBiel:

As the libs are fond of saying: We need to go to the root cause of this!

DST seems necessary to some because of the tilt in the axis of the Earth. If we aligned the Earth's axis to be perpendicular to plane of its orbit, then all days would be the same length. The only variation would occur as one travelled North or South.

While we're at it, let's move the Earth fractionally closer to the sun to rid ourselves of that pesky leap year situation too.

Realizing that it's utterly... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Realizing that it's utterly useless for the place... but I don't think anyone else has mentioned Hawaii's lack of adjustment to DST as well...

Or have they changed since the 80s?

The exact same "sometimes s... (Below threshold)

The exact same "sometimes stupid wins" argument can be made for Windoze and the Qwerty keyboard. :P :P

Some years ago, during a de... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Some years ago, during a debate about DST on WJR radio in Detroit, most listening were amazed at a female caller who said: "We ought to go back, all this sunlight is killing my lawn. I have to water it far too much."

True story.

No way are we in Arizona go... (Below threshold)

No way are we in Arizona gonna fall for your commie plot. DST is just a way to destroy our purity of essence and sap our precious bodily fluids.

(Does YOUR state have giant billboards paid for by the John Birch Society?)

In the 1960's the JB... (Below threshold)
jack rudd:


In the 1960's the JBS had large billboards in upstate New York urging the U.S. to get out of the U.N. I thought they were nuts. However, it turned out that they were right all along.


Another Zonie here. He don... (Below threshold)

Another Zonie here. He don't need to save Daylight...we get more than enough.

Nope...still no DST in Hawa... (Below threshold)
ginabina:

Nope...still no DST in Hawaii, Jeff! Thanks for thinking of us...

Here we call it British Sum... (Below threshold)

Here we call it British Summer Time. I would have thought its history was pre-WWI. I always considered the change to be as an help to farmers. Incidentally I think in the UK, Scotland is considering either having SummerTime all year round or not at all.

I live in Arizona and I'm G... (Below threshold)
Lee:

I live in Arizona and I'm GLAD we don't have daylight savings time here. I don't have to deal with the hassle of it. The time is always the time all year round.

I don't know why Arizona would want to adopt daylight savings time just to be the same as the rest of the country. It sounds almost like the adolescent argument "But mom...everybody's doing it." That just isn't a good reason.

My understanding is that Oh... (Below threshold)
peg:

My understanding is that Ohio and Kentucky do observe DST. Perhaps the confusion is due to the few Indiana counties bordering Ohio and Kentucky that do not.

I agree that DST is a dumb ... (Below threshold)
'Bender:

I agree that DST is a dumb idea, but as a resident of Northwest Indiana, it is very confusing around here in the summer:

2 miles North (Michigan) EDT
20 miles West CDT (Chicago suburban county)
here in South Bend -- EST

As J. says -- "mere stupidity isn't enough to get it to go away."

yo JAY TEA, man why ain't y... (Below threshold)
AMELIA MARTINEZ:

yo JAY TEA, man why ain't ya chatting to me???
i thought you liked listening to people opinions to things, especially when it comes to religions.

JAY TEA; ... (Below threshold)
AMELIA MARTINEZ:


JAY TEA;
ITS NOT MY FAULT YOU WERE BORN INTO A
JEWISH OR CHRISTIAN, IT'S NOT TO LATE TO
CONVERT INTO A MUSLIM YOU KNOW. BELIEVE IN
THE MUSLIM FAITH, LEARN HOW TO PRAY IN
ARABIC AND OF COURSE BEFORE YOU DIE VISIT
THE HAJJ,MECCA, ONCE IN YOUR LIFE TIME'COZ
ALL THE BAD SINS YOU'VE COMMITTED IN YOUR
LIFE GOES AWAY. IT'S LIKE STARTING A FRESH
LIFE WITH NO REGRETS OR BAD SINS. YO JAY
TEA, MAN TAKE THIS ADVICE BEFORE ITS TOO
LATE.I KNOW THAT NOBODY CAN CONVICE ANOTHER
TO CONVERT INTO THE RIGHT RELIGION(ISLAM)
VIA THE INTERNET, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO
JUDGEMENT DAY; I CAN SAY THAT I TRIED
TO SHOW PEOPLE THE RIGHT RELIGION. SO NO I
WON'T HAVE NO REGRETS SITTING IN MY SOUL.

JAY TEA, I KNOW YOUR PROBABLY THINKING
HOW STUPID IS THIS GIRL, BUT I AM SO
SERIOUS. IN MY LIFETIME, I HAVE SEEN SO
MANY PEOPLE CONVERTING INTO MUSLIMS 'COZ
THEY NOT TOO BLIND TO SEE THAT 'ISLAM' IS
THE RIGHT PATH TO HEAVEN, DON'T YOU THINK
IT'S TOO SAD THAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU DON'T
SEE THAT TOO???? I WISH YOU WERE ONE OF
THE LUCKY ONES TOO, BUT YOU CAN BE A
MUSLIM TO IF YOU REALLY WAKE UP TO LIFE.

IF YOU WANT TO GET INTO HEAVEN, THEN I
SUGGEST YOU REALISE THAT LIFE IS A TEST TO
BE JUDGED ON WHEN JUDGEMENT DAY COMES.
THERE IS A GAP IN YOUR HEART AND THAT GAP
IS WAITING TO BE FILLED WITH THE MUSLIM
FAITH; ITS UP TO YOU IF YOU FILL IT.

IT'S YOUR LIFE, SO IT'S UP TO YOU....

FROM AMELIA

yo JAY TEA, why ain't ya ch... (Below threshold)
AMELIA MARTINEZ:

yo JAY TEA, why ain't ya chatting to me? what have i done to you or your 'religion'????? i have always chatted to you with respect to you and to your religion. we can't fall out over some shit disagreement, can we me 'mates'? 'coz i love beign mates with a man whose filled with wicket and untrue opinions.

I LOVE SPANISH AND KURDISH PEOPLE TO DEATH, JAY TEA 'COZ OF YOU I LOVE AMERICANS TOO now.

There is a funny and true secret to this message, i don't know if your clever to notice it, but you should give it a go.

from teenager amelia from london




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