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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Daylight Saving Time - clocked by the change

That twice annual curse of confusion and annoyance is upon us. Allegedly invented by a New Zealander so he had more daylight to go bug hunting after his day's work (or was it so Scottish farmers could milk their dairy cows in daylight during WW1?), nobody can seem to agree on why we do it, what the benefits are, or why we can't just chuck the whole thing as a stupid inconvenience.

I have to go to work for 8am today, so I set an alarm on my phone for 5:15am, thinking this would be 6:15am after I adjusted for DST, giving me an hour and a half to shower, dress, eat, remember which way is up, and generally get ready and decent to leave the house.

Alas, alack, in this modern world of "convenience" my phone, bless its electronic heart, reset itself for DST, so I got up an hour earlier than intended. At least that's better than discovering than I got up an hour late, but I know I'll be tired before my shift ends at 5pm. Our two cats were no help at all, being delighted as usual to see a human moving at any time in the morning they insisted it really was time to get up and feed and entertain them.

Since not all clocks are self-adjusting, so we still have to go round checking every device that includes a clock, resetting some (the microwave), ignoring others (the stove!?!). By the second Sunday in November when the clocks go back, I'll have forgotten which devices are "smart" and which aren't, and no doubt I will be late to work as a result.

To add to the fun, not all of the United States observe DST (Arizona and Hawaii don't, and some counties in Indiana, which itself straddles two time zones), and the date on which the clocks change changed in 2007, so current experiment to try to save electricity will probably all change once I've got used to it.

In the USA the current dates of change are the 2nd Sunday in March, and the 1st Sunday in November. In the UK it's the last Sunday of March and the last Sunday in October, so my Skype video calls to my parents in the UK will be messed up for a while. The UK is forced to observe whatever the European Union decides, until it decides otherwise.

I accept that having longer hours of evening daylight in the Summer helps to save electricity, but how does setting the clock back for the Winter do the same? Why can't we just stay with the advanced hour forever?

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