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Why Daylight Saving Time Should Be Abolished

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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clocksIt’s that time of year in the U.S. when clocks “fall back” from Daylight Saving Time to standard time. What does that mean? Well, you get back the hour of sleep you lost last spring and you can look forward to a week or so of feeling discombobulated.

The railroads were the first to set the time in the 19th century, coordinating distant clocks so that trains could run on theoretically precise timetables (this cut down on crashes.). You can also thank railroads for time zones—geographic swaths of the globe set to the same hour.

But it was evening-time activists like entomologist George Vernon Hudson and golfer William Willett who can be blamed for Daylight Saving Time. Noting that a little extra well-lit time on a balmy evening would be nicer than in the morning when everybody’s asleep anyway, the two independently proposed shifting clocks forward for the spring and summer. Governments soon seized upon the idea as a way to cut down on energy use — more sunlight in the evening means less coal-burned to provide artificial alternatives.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to hold up too well. And changing back and forth to Daylight Saving Time twice a year seems to be bad for human health — from increased risk of heart attack to more mine accidents. Nevertheless, in 2007, the U.S. Congress saw fit to extend Daylight Saving Time‘s reign from earlier in spring to deeper into fall in 2007.

It would make more sense to either scrap Daylight Saving Time or turn it into standard time—in effect, make it permanent. But since when have we been sensible about time management?

Image: © iStockphoto.com / GarysFRP

David Biello About the Author: David Biello is the associate editor for environment and energy at Scientific American. Follow on Twitter @dbiello.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. lokio 6:26 pm 11/4/2011

    The world is becoming smaller and the problems with keeping time are becoming larger.

    We should get rid of timezones altogether, it should be the same time everywhere, and local government can define the standard workday as they see fit.

    We should also get rid of counting time in 12′s & 60′s. The day should be split into 1000 ‘beats’ (1.44 minutes each).

    These sorts of ideas get ridiculed whenever they get submitted to Slashdot, however these are mostly US citizens that never saw how easy it was to introduce the metric system, or the benefits that flowed thereafter.

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  2. 2. lokio 6:27 pm 11/4/2011

    Just as a case in point, it says I posted that 6:26 pm 11/4/2011 but it’s actually 9:27am on 05/11

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  3. 3. Phil99 6:45 pm 11/4/2011

    Bouncing back and fourth in time twice a year is just plain silliness! If given the choice, I would prefer to stay on permanent Daylight Savings Time…

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  4. 4. fyngyrz 6:58 pm 11/4/2011

    “Nevertheless, in 2007, the U.S. Congress saw fit to extend Daylight Saving Time‘s reign from earlier in spring to deeper into fall in 2007.”

    This is because congress is comprised of gold-plated idiots. Not only did they increase the social problems associated with screwing around with our sleep cycles, they also broke a ****load of alarm clocks and other hardware that had DST programming incorporated in their designs.

    I swear, every time I hear congress has done *anything*, I cringe. Do they drink from the fountain of stupid, or what?

    Please, people, vote against the incumbents. Wipe ‘em out of there. Keep doing it until we get a set of individuals who have at least SOME sort of clue.

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  5. 5. priddseren 7:16 pm 11/4/2011

    Daylight savings is ridiculous. Not sure how it is evil americans as the first poster implies who also thinks timezones should go and clocks. Sorry guy, europeans don’t actually know everything as the Celcius temperature scale proves. Farenheight was already base 10 and more granular, arbitrary decisions to declare the freezing and boiling point of water as the scale is just as stupid as daylight savings time. Timezones are useful because it is always the same time for everyone but the local area does affect how people designate time. So the timezones help when you want to be sure meetings are not scheduled when people are eating lunch in one part of the world and sleeping in another.

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  6. 6. Rock LeBateau 7:37 pm 11/4/2011

    In the UK in the 1970′s the government tried (as an experiment) to retain daylight saving time for the whole year. The result was a lot of happy people and over 400 lives (mostly children) saved on the roads because rush hour took place in daylight instead of the dark. There was of course a group against it: mostly scottish who complained it got dark earlier in Scotland so they didn’t get the benefits the rest of us did. Their views were taken up by a handful of unelected rich and powerful Scottish Lairds in the House of Lords and the move to go to Summer time all year round got talked out of Parliament. It’s still costing us 400 lives a year and every time it’s raised in public there’s this outcry from a tiny Rich and Powerful Scottish minority. My advice is go for Summertime every time and don’t let the rich bastards steal your daylight.

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  7. 7. tomtom 7:40 pm 11/4/2011

    I have to disagree with abolishing daylight savings time. Who could possibly like it getting dark an hour later especially when you work, you leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark. It always feels later than it really is. I have a problem listing to people saying it messes up there body. Really it’s just a number on the clock quit thinking about it so much.

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  8. 8. Wladik 7:44 pm 11/4/2011

    It seems to me that all arguments for or against the Daylight Saving Time are exagerated.

    Are those drawbacks and benefits greater than statistical error? I do not see much suffering of the people around me because of the one-hour shift of time.

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  9. 9. jafrates 7:50 pm 11/4/2011

    @lokio:
    Instead of 1000 beats, I have been working on an idea where the base unit of clock time is based on 100,000 units per day. Each unit would be 0.86s in length, which seems to correlate well with internal clocks as most people seem to count seconds a touch faster than actual seconds going by.

    Beyond this, there would be analogues to minutes of 100 units each and analogs to hours of 100 ‘minutes’ each, with 10 ‘hours’ per day. The idea would also change up the concept of the week to a base unit of 10. It just gets a little messy with the days of the year — not much that can be done about that, though.

    @priddseren:
    Timezones are just as arbitrary and don’t necessarily help keep people on any sort of time. From one end of a time zone to the other, sunsets and sunrises vary by an hour (depending on how far the borders are from the meridians that define the basic time zones), so while it’s still daylight for one business, it’s twilight or night for another a few hundred miles away.

    Ultimately, any beginning or ending point is arbitrary. Fahrenheit’s beginning point was the freezing point of brine, but he didn’t use base-10 for the rest of it. He deliberately calibrated the scale to have pure water freeze at 32 degrees and human body temperature at 96 degrees. This way, with 64 units between water freezing and body temperature, he could mark units on a scale by bisecting the scale a few times.

    That’s a lot more arbitrary than the freezing and boiling points of pure water at standard temperature and pressure.

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  10. 10. RabidMortal 7:59 pm 11/4/2011

    The fact that the duration of DST now out-paces “Standard” time by a factor of three, shouldn’t we at least stop calling it “standard”? And in any case, for where I live DST makes much more sense (without it, the June sun would be rising sometime around 4:30am…which is just plain silly given my latitude).

    And speaking from a safety sand point, I would wager a significant increase in traffic accidents around this time of year since, after the weekend I will shift from driving home in the light to driving home in the near-dark.

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  11. 11. RabidMortal 8:04 pm 11/4/2011

    …the major point being that one’s preference for DST vs standard will largely be a function of how well one’s allotted time zone suits one’s longitude…

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  12. 12. Broadnax 8:25 pm 11/4/2011

    I travel a lot among time zones, so changing times doesn’t seem so odd to me.

    Daylight savings time is good because it adapts to length of days. DST would mean darkness for most people in winter mornings. In summer, the sun is up earlier. Our workdays, unless we are farmers, do not adapt. We have roughly the same # of hours on each side of noon. When we plot the workday in the middle, we are wasting daylight, since most of us work in doors and the standard time gives us too little time in the am or pm to enjoy the light. DST moves and hour to the evening and hence gives us more practical time in the sun. We could move the other direction just as well, but most people can more easily stay up in the evenings than wake up earlier in the mornings.

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  13. 13. lokio 9:43 pm 11/4/2011

    I speak from a long and frustrating history of managing people and business systems in different timezones.
    Changing the local business day is much more sensible than changing the time. Screwing with the measuring system makes no sense. Imagine changing the zero point of any other scale according to season or location. Timezones/DS don’t even meet their goal of always having the sun overhead at 12:00, and it’s been a long time since people without watches catching trains on time was a serious issue.

    @jafrates
    Given that people will work with the most convenient units, I think we’re saying the same thing there. I would also point out that a 5 day week matches up a little better with a 365 day year. Is the idea of 10 days to try and keep some semblance of a month?

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  14. 14. alan6302 10:00 pm 11/4/2011

    I agree that solar time is out dated.

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  15. 15. reubenmackkinni 10:40 pm 11/4/2011

    I can’t believe all of you! Basically all you are doing with DST is starting work at 7:00 am instead of 8:00 am during the summer months. Why not just change your work schedule? In fact, it may promote more flex time and cause less traffic congestion. Why do you want to chase the sun? The sun varies much more than the 1 hour offset provided by DST. Will I ever live “Star Trek”?

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  16. 16. Ourania 10:54 pm 11/4/2011

    I hate Standard Time and wish we had Daylight Savings Time all the time. The way I am dealing with it is to stay on Daylight Savings Time all year around. During DST I keep my clocks with everyone else, but when ST comes around I still keep half of my clocks (the ones I see in the bedroom) on DST and the other clocks on ST so I am with the rest of the world during the day. Then at night I go according to the DST clocks to keep my sleep schedule the same all year ’round.

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  17. 17. northsouth 11:21 pm 11/4/2011

    I hate changing the clocks, split the difference. Make an one time adjustment of 30 minutes and keep it that way. No more switching back and forth.

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  18. 18. AE0rtiz 12:02 am 11/5/2011

    Lucky for us here in Arizona we don’t have daylight savings time. So HA HA!!

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  19. 19. Southern Fried Scientist 12:07 am 11/5/2011

    I’m guessing most of the commenters here don’t work at sea, where those hours, minutes, and seconds mean something not just about when your shift ends, but where you are in the world. Of course, no matter where that is, GMT is what matters.

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  20. 20. Bee 3:00 am 11/5/2011

    Maybe as a first step North America and Europe could agree on one day where to switch from summer to winter time or vice versa.

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  21. 21. JohnOstrowick 3:24 am 11/5/2011

    @Priddseren. How is Fahrenheit more rational? It’s based on the human body temperature. That’s far more arbitrary than water’s freezing/boiling points. Moreover, celcius/centrigrade is IUPAC – it’s used by scientists world-over. It makes far more sense. You’re just obviously accustomed to the old _British_ Imperial system that the USA can’t drop for whatever obscure reason. Same applies to Miles, Inches, Stone, and all these other silly old measurements. They’re impractical. The only imperial measure that makes *any* sense is the nautical mile, because it’s based on degrees longitude.

    Having lived in Scotland, I can see why DST is used there. They hardly see the sun. In winter it rises mid-morning and sets around 3pm, and that’s *with* DST in place. It’s terrible. You get about 6 hours of light. I agree with the above complaints by the English, however, that DST is less relevant for them. I’d support the proposal to merely shift summer and winter time by 30 minutes, and stabilise on that, and then legislate office and school hours differently during summer and winter. Simple, and no nonsense about doing time warps back and forth when the season “changes”.

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  22. 22. wpkelpfroth 9:26 am 11/5/2011

    I was listening to NPR CarTalk a couple of weeks ago when I heard the proposal for Daily Savings Time.
    Every day at 3:30 AM the clocks are set back 1 hour. This gives everyone who doesn’t work the graveyard shift a extra hour to sleep. Then, each day at 3:30 PM the clocks are shifted forward 1 hour so everyone gets to leave work an hour earlier. Everyone knows that nothing ever gets done after 3:30, anyway, so there would be no effect on productivity. What’s not to like about it?

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  23. 23. JamesDavis 9:59 am 11/5/2011

    I have always hated changing the clocks back and forth twice a year…leave it on DST. To prevent children from having to go to school in the dark, it is easier for the school to go up an hour in the winter than for everyone to change their clocks back an hour. Instead of catching the school bus at 7:00 AM in the winter; catch it at 8:00 AM. We can also close down schools all together and the children can attend school at home on the internet. If the University of Phoenix can do it, all schools can do it.

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  24. 24. Nagnostic 10:23 am 11/5/2011

    I propose we get rid of “time”.

    Think of the flood of human creative juices unleashed when “time” ceases to shackle us. Some people work better at night or on Sundays, so businesses should stay open 24-7 in order to maximize the chances that the employees who show up are showing up because they want to work. Of course, the notion of “24-7″ would disappear, as thre’d be no clocks or calendars.

    Procrastination would disappear, as there’d be no “time” to judge progress by.

    “Time” has always been a method by which the more powerful exploit the weak. This is reason enough to abolish “time”.

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  25. 25. dicklipke 10:30 am 11/5/2011

    It is ridicules to keep changing the time like this.
    Years ago it was decided to give the states a choice whether or not the citizens wanted to switch twice a year.Originally it was voted down and everyone wanted to keep EST year around.So the know it all,s wanted it back on the ballot until they got the vote they were looking for and one that suited their wishes.So now we are stuck with changing it twice a year.
    Why can’t they just leave it on DST and stop this God like power thinking they have to bid the Sun to rise and set at their command? It’s so childish and immature of them, and it’s also sad when you really think of it.

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  26. 26. vmfenimore 11:36 am 11/5/2011

    My husband loves daylight savings time because he likes it to stay light longer after he gets off of work. He also gets up at 5:20 am every morning even though he does not leave for work until about 7:00 and spends most of that time piddling around.

    I hate daylight savings time because it means many more mornings of the year when I have to get up in the dark. My circadian rhythm never adjusts. Whenever I have to get up while it is still dark outside it feels too early regardless of when I’ve gone to bed or how much sleep I’ve had.

    So I vote we dump daylight savings time (like Arizona has) and just use regular “real” time.

    And my husband would vote otherwise.

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  27. 27. Drezpics 1:11 pm 11/5/2011

    Arizona gets something right….. who would of thought?

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  28. 28. doug 1 5:05 pm 11/5/2011

    It’s been shown conclusively that people who leave work when there’s daylight are much more likely to go shopping and the correlation between daylight in the evening and shopping is why the commercial retailers who in turn buy advertising on media are framing the question and so the answer.

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  29. 29. the Gaul 5:31 pm 11/5/2011

    As the Southern Fried Scientist said, the two dimensional representation of the three dimensional globe produced the 360degree circle, broken into angles, degrees, hours, minutes and seconds. Metric measurement of time never had an opportunity to rise, given the political dominance of sailing [as a means of both commerce and defense] when the standards for time were established.

    Any change to a metric system [at which Americans have confusingly balked] would require bipartisan cooperation by the group pointed out in comment 4 as “gold-plated idiots.” Sorry to say, the idiots have sold all their gold-plating; now they’re just a bunch of solid tin morons.

    Which means – we get to keep our moronic system. Oh, joy!

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  30. 30. Chessic Sense 6:12 pm 11/5/2011

    C’mon, people. Quit with the “savings” thing. It’s “Daylight SAVING time”. There’s only one S in “Saving”! It’s a time that saves daylight for later in the day. It’s a time that’s daylight-saving, similar to a cost-cutting measure or a time-passing activity.

    And to the first commenter who suggests we do away with time zones, 1) local governments don’t have the power to dictate ‘the standard workday’, 2) We already have a global time, called “Greenwich Mean Time” or “Zulu time”, and 3) your plan gets rid of the whole point of timing the day in the first place- to know when it’s sunrise, midday, sunset, and midnight.

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  31. 31. unitycenter 5:42 am 11/6/2011

    I would like to move time ahead one hour in the autumn and then leave it there, never changing the time again.

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  32. 32. m 8:32 am 11/6/2011

    Time is neither good nor bad, no perfect solution exists and moving to a metric time for Earth is pointless.

    However as we move into space there needs to be a metric time for all travel and conversion factor to Earth time, mars time.

    People die all the time, more people die from eating and smoking while reading blogs (like this) than will ever die from daylight savings.

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  33. 33. karlt10 12:18 pm 11/6/2011

    Nobody has ‘lost’ or ‘got back’ an hour of sleep. You either slept the hour or you didn’t.

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  34. 34. pdxtran 12:54 pm 11/6/2011

    Two points:
    I can see the rationale for DST, because I have lived in Tokyo, which is on about the same latitude as San Francisco. Japan stays on Standard Time all year, which means that in middle of the summer, it’s full daylight at 5:00AM but it’s pitch dark by 8:00PM in a country where I once knew a Japanese student newly arrived in Oregon who was astonished to find full daylight at 8:00PM in August. Given a choice, I’d rather have my daylight after dinner than when I’m trying to get in those last hours of sleep.

    When I was a teenager, I used to look forward to the reversion to Standard Time, because what teenager doesn’t love an extra hour of sleep? But now, as an adult, I mostly notice that here in Minnesota, the switch to Standard Time means that it’s dark by 5:30PM. Ugh.

    Furthermore, the U.S. now has Daylight Saving for more of the year (mid March to early November) than it has Standard Time. In effect, DST is the new Standard Time, so traditional Standard Time should really be renamed Winter Time. Either that or scrap Standard Time altogether.

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  35. 35. EvolvingApe 1:23 pm 11/6/2011

    Oh, boy. I really wish someone would run on abolishing “standard” time. As long as they are not a drooling religious idiot, I’d campaign and vote for them.

    Heck, I’d even push DST by another hour: there are a lot more people up and about at 7pm that at 7am. In the summer, it would be light until for many it’s time for bed.

    It would cut down on energy consumption and on crime.

    Didn’t Russia just went on permanent DST?

    (And the Metric system is so far superior, it’s amazing to see anyone arguing against it. I thought Reagan had issued an order at the end of his term, to change the US to metric in the early 1990′s).

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  36. 36. Housq 2:02 pm 11/6/2011

    It is the hottest topic around the world now.

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  37. 37. jtrouch 5:16 pm 11/6/2011

    I hate daylight savings time. The extra hour of sunlight kills my crops! Oh yeah, in the same vein; we should probably change how latitude and longitude are segmented as well….eh? No point in keeping minutes and seconds there either.

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  38. 38. soxyfoxy 9:25 pm 11/6/2011

    First off, it’s “daylight saving time,” not “savings time.” Secondly, as much as I grumble about losing an hour of sleep in March, if we didn’t turn the clocks ahead it would be getting light at 3 a.m. in some parts of the Northern Hemisphere – talk about messing with your sleeping patterns. What irks me is that the government arbitrarily decided to change the start and end dates of DST. There is absolutely no good reason to start DST in early March, and not starting it until November means that kids are going to school in the dark for most of October – not safe either. They should have left the start and end dates where they were, in April and October.

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  39. 39. quizzical 10:57 pm 11/6/2011

    soxyfoxy, Amen! If they thought they had to create this irritation in the first place, why must they add fuel to the fire by expanding it?

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  40. 40. olderdog 2:28 am 11/7/2011

    My first memory of Daylight Saving Time was when it was called War Time, result of an FDR measure to save energy along with rationing. I was too young to remember much about it except that my dad liked it, As a steelworker, he rode his bike to work as much as he could, it was faster and cheaper than the trolley cars (trams) and the extra daylight made it easier.

    I worked many years in Washington and commuted several years to our country house. I was always at work before dawn anyway, but during the daylight saving months, a little luck would allow me to make the 75 mile commute and still have time to mow the fields for 3 or 4 hours, sometimes until after 9 p.m. I’d prefer it year around although I’m no longer so clock oriented. Geography makes a difference. It’s a huge change to go from our short day of very early January to the far shorter day of Paris where standard time ensures travel both to and from work will be in the dark. If I had a choice, I’d have daylight time. In Bodo or Narvik Norway, nothing will help when there’s barely enough daylight for lunch.

    There’s not much new about schemes to change time systems. The French as part of the same scientific rationalization that brought in the metric system instituted in 1793 a 10-hour day with 100 decimal minutes in each hour and 100 decimal seconds per minute. It was mandatory for only about two years and effectively died out completely by 1801. The Decimal calendar lasted longer with its 10 day weeks, three weeks to a month. The extra 5 or 6 days left in a year were taken at the end as holidays. The system wasn’t popular and was an obstacle to Napoleon’s reaching agreement with the Catholic Church. It was changed in part for that reason in 1805 and abolished in 1806. It was revived briefly in 1871. Decent Wikipedia entry.

    Pragmatism says effecting a new time system is very unlikely barring universal revolution, worldwide dictatorship — it’s hot just Congress, there’s just no agreement anywhere and regrettably, religion does enter the equation. Some continue to use the Julian calendar uncorrected. Few workers have the ability to charge their hours at will

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  41. 41. oldguy726 12:30 am 11/8/2011

    Daylight Savings time: A product of technocrats and city dwellers who think they can change nature by passing a law. Noon is when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky not when some idiot wants to proclaim it is noon. For those of us outside of urban nonsense who live closer to nature daylight savings time has always seemed *!?/%&#.

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  42. 42. al1432 2:41 pm 11/8/2011

    In Russia an hour was added in March 2011 for the last time, and clocks will not move back again in the fall.

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  43. 43. Meremark 2:34 am 11/9/2011

    The many opinions favoring DST surprises me. I oppose it, for traditional conservative simplicity: When a vertical pike shows its shortest shadow that is the definition of 12 o’clock noon. Anywhere, any season, the poorest peasant can know the time.

    Whoever prefers light or dark for going to work or arriving home, as a personal taste, then shift your work hours to suit yourself with the seasons. My agrarian farm life goes that way, the animals shift their circadian rhythms and times of tending them shift too, accordingly. Urban-density living (as I was in NYC for 10 years) is the ‘unnatural,’ really almost inhuman. Confine it there, work it out among yourselves whatever indoor subdeck galley-slave rowing assignments floats your boat; and leave alone Nature and natural ways and means in the great outdoors, where the Sun rules and the Moon rocks. Congress, I’m talking to you.

    Furthermore, for many years I have casually surveyed hundreds of people, like ‘Jay Walking’ (Leno), asking incidental strangers the very question: Would you keep or repeal DST? Time and timekeeping is an life-deep interest and expertise of mine.

    Sadly (for me), collected approximate results are regularly 30% keep DST, 20% repeal DST, 50% don’t know/ don’t care/ don’t understand the question. Astonishingly (for me), about 1-out-of-10 people asked (but skewed youthful), mistakenly ‘believe’ DST is ‘real’ time and Standard Time is the artifice. And half of them are shrilly argumentative about it.

    I started and often ‘use’ my DST survey question to tweak the nose (mocking) ardent political partisans, who press evangelism of their (whatever) Party dogma on me, as The True Life Principles They Believe. That’s when I pop the question: Should we keep or repeal DST? It requires them to think for themselves, since no political Party has a stated position in the question. Hence, half or more answer: don’t know / don’t care / don’t understand the question, when tasked to think individually.

    [Answer: Farmers live independently, self-sufficient, traditionally Republican (although a good many have recanted that affiliation ever since the GOP embraced the anti-abortion single-issue splinter group, c. 1977; life and death decisions, solomonic and stoic, are the moral imperatives of farming), and Country Cousin hates fussing with the clock thinking it can fool Mother Nature to 'save daylight.' City Cousin imagines his clock can make the rooster crow in the dark before sun-up. Yeah, well, make hay while the sun shines and so on; please, dear Lawmakers, stop making laws of Nature; step away from your stupid corruptions and buy a soul.]

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  44. 44. stanp 2:55 pm 11/10/2011

    I too cannot understand pathological adherence to US system of measures. Whenever the issue pops up i just ask something like that:
    – Which is larger: 7/16 or 40/64 ? One always needs to perform calculation before comapring the two.
    On the other hand, one can immediately see that 0.4375 is less than 0.625. Even more striking is the difficulty of those asked to say which is greater: 5/8 or 40/64?

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  45. 45. geodude 3:41 pm 11/10/2011

    Anyone poll those South of the equator? Supporters of “saving time” there would probably pefer reversing the switch.

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  46. 46. MDavid 3:46 pm 11/10/2011

    Why not get the best of both worlds? I propose every day at 1 am we go to standard time, and at 1 pm every day we go to daylight saving time. We will have an extra hour of sleep every night as well as an extra hour of daylight in the evening. And the afternoon at work will just fly by…..

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  47. 47. Snowshoe 3:46 pm 11/10/2011

    Adjoining states in the same time zone on the eastern seaboard of Australia have different rules – Queensland for example, has no Daylight Savings at all. This was a decision made by a corrupt politician named Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the 1970′s. The generally accepted reason was that the sun shines out Joh’s ass, and he’s not getting up an hour earlier for anyone.

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  48. 48. Steve D 5:11 pm 11/10/2011

    I have to snicker at the folks who think the metric system is more “rational.” We have the meter, based on an inaccurate measurement of the circumference of one arbitrary planet, and the second, based on the same planet’s rotation period, and base 10, based on the evolutionary accident that the species that dreamed this up has 10 fingers. This is more rational than defining a yard in terms of some king’s arm span, exactly how?

    Then we have the physical absurdity that frequency is measured in terms of 1/time. No other units, like cycles, just 1/time. In quantum mechanics, there are two versions of many constants differing by a factor of 2 pi. Which one is appropriate sorts out neatly if we add units like cycles or radians (2pi radians to a cycle) to frequency.

    Then we have the gibberish prefixes being applied to large and small powers. Someone years ago pointed out that after zepto-, the next logical prefixes were harpo-, chico- and groucho-, the other Marx brothers. And since this proposal predates yocto- by quite a few years, it has publication priority.

    Those who can, teach. Those who can’t, do.* And those who are utterly incapable of a productive career in science get onto nomenclature boards.

    *No, not a misprint. Just check all the crank ideas put out by “practical” people.

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  49. 49. DRHX 5:42 pm 11/10/2011

    US daylight saving time was started when I was young. I remember clearly that one reason was to help ensure the safety of children going to school. I consider this a reason that trumps all others and undermines the whiney complaints. Too bad the fall time was extended and thus for a few weeks, undermines this reasonable effort.

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  50. 50. colonelslime 6:15 pm 11/10/2011

    Ehh, considering humanity gets by on models created to simplify reality, I don’t see DST being a huge issue. We realistically need some method of time keeping that can be generalized across the world. Using the 24hr day lets us roughly estimate what the current relative time (as a function of time of day) will be in any region, based on our own experience. DST allows us to tweak the model for a gain in daylight hours (sort of). Not really a big deal, sort of arbitrary cultural choice, but not really any more odd then dividing the year into four seasons that don’t generalize across geography either. I liked the heart-attack link, though reading it, it seems based on data that more generally advises you to not mess with circadian rhythms. So, DST would just be one of many different social constructs it would apply to (i.e. the overnight shift, alarm clocks, etc.)

    @Steve D: Metric is more rational in that it pulls from concepts that are nearly universally applicable to human beings. While it is true that the meter is inaccurate based on its putative source, this doesn’t invalidate the idea that we should create a measurement system that can be relied upon to produce comparisons that are easy to understand. Earth is pretty much the one constant for human existence, and most of us have 10 fingers, so for the purpose of creating a measurement system that is easy to use and understand for humans, metric makes rational sense. If we ever meet an alien race of twelve tentacled jelly-fish who float through the atmosphere of a gas giant, I won’t be surprised or judgmental if they use a duodecimal system based on the circumference of their world.

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  51. 51. marwoe 8:01 pm 11/10/2011

    Why don’t we just flatten the earth?

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  52. 52. marwoe 8:09 pm 11/10/2011

    … it would even comply with our digital mode and times. Just make it as flat as the world map right infront of me above my desk and have it turnd around every twelve hours. What a wonderful no-time-zone-world could that be.
    There seems to be a human problem under it all: we are surrounded by spheres but we really are only able to coping with squares and straight lines (that’s why we are still working on the “perfect Pi”).

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  53. 53. Gord Davison 9:22 pm 11/10/2011

    Just use days as the standard unit for time. For smaller time units we would have milli-days, micro-days, nano-days and for larger time units we would have decadays, centadays, kilodays, and so on. The major stumbling block here would be the scientific definitions of other units which all have time in them usually in units of seconds, such as velocity and seconds squared as in acceleration. This would cause some difficulties as it would affect almost all of the physical units and constants as they all have time in them in one way or another.

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  54. 54. waplummer 9:46 pm 11/10/2011

    My beef is that It doesn’t save time. I am leading an effort to call it what it is, “Daylight Shifting Time”.

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  55. 55. alleey 7:34 am 11/11/2011

    Why can’t the office time be adjusted and not the clocks? Because of DST, it is no longer easy to validate time (in software or real world). Who can tell whether 1:00 AM, 6th Nov, 2011 at a given location was valid time?

    Heck, even an alarm clock would require special hardware or manual adjustments to ring at the “right” time.

    Once upon a time there was a King who stole a day from February – at least he made it standard – now we have governments stealing hours and minutes with no standardization.

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  56. 56. kiddo 8:40 am 11/11/2011

    going forward russia will live according to DTS virtually forever. the biggest problem with that is that we are now one more hour ahead of europe and the states which makes regular communication more of a pain.

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  57. 57. Johndur 10:14 am 11/11/2011

    Illinois or Chicago area tried keeping Daylight time but had to stop it because it was too dark when children were going to school and crossing guard could not be seen in time and the crossing without guard caused children to be hit by cars for often.

    Changing the start time of school has ripple effect on when one parent can leave for work.

    Maybe we no longer really need daylight savings time

    Johndur, Illinois

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  58. 58. DaveTholl 11:40 am 11/11/2011

    I agree with ‘lokio’, among many others. I vote for making DST standard and scrapping the time change, which I’ve always thought was a colossal waste of — you know!

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  59. 59. DaveTholl 11:43 am 11/11/2011

    P.S. Somebody else made the suggestion for universal time (no time zones), letting localities choose their own daily schedule. Right on!

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  60. 60. Quinn the Eskimo 1:43 am 11/14/2011

    Because it’s STUPID.

    It’s only reason to exist is to demonstrate that the Politicians have Lemmings in their Districts.

    Rebel now! While there’s still daylight time.

    .

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  61. 61. fsallai 8:58 pm 11/16/2011

    Let me join Phil99/lokio/Dave and many more and vote for staying on DST.
    Why stay?
    - changing harms our cycle
    - savings may originate in the post feudal/early industrial age but less relevant in the wired age (the live stock won’t change the clock to let the farmers sleep more); I would like to see the revised numbers, anyway
    Why DST?
    - those balmy summer nights are undeniable
    - the school schedule can (yes it can) accommodate the children with its hours even in winter
    - and if the trade off is letting the child go home when its brighter then the morning dark is excusable

    So, who do I send the proposal?

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  62. 62. darkmoonman 5:38 pm 01/16/2012

    DST serves no purpose other than to supply a twice-annual annoyance to the public and headache for Microsoft.

    For a real annoyance, try living in Arizona where DST isn’t observed by the state but is observed by the reservations.

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  63. 63. visualsong 12:03 am 03/13/2012

    Oh how I hate time change. The daylight savings saves nothing. It only annoys me to no end. The government just needs to leave things alone. It wasn’t for safety of children, it was for longer hours of daylight shopping. Who bought that? That it was for children’s safety? Government needed revenue.

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  64. 64. damcgin 10:54 pm 03/9/2013

    Changing the clock does not add any more daylight to any day, Nor does it make the night any different. Sun’s either shining on the fields or it isn’t… period.

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  65. 65. lodgers 2:10 pm 10/9/2013

    I always thought D.S. was idiotic. We are tied to the sun and our work and wasting time in the evening when we should be winding down to sleep is really stupid. We now have to wake up in the dark…Stressful as we are NOT NOCTURNAL creatures. It’s been proven to waste energy and Arizona found that out long ago. So we have to heat our home in the DARK morning when we have to wake up and waste energy to A/C in the evening so we can sleep better…It’s been proven we sleep better when it’s cold. Look into Indiana’s electricity records when they went from some counties with NO D.S. to all D.S.!

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  66. 66. lodgers 2:12 pm 10/9/2013

    I see some comments on child safety, so with D.S. we are sending our children to school when it’s COLD AND DARK…Yeah real safe!

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  67. 67. lodgers 2:17 pm 10/9/2013

    I see some comments on child safety, so with D.S. we are sending our children to school when it’s COLD AND DARK…Yeah real safe! Only government slobs like D.S. because they don’t have to got o work until late! Those who worry about sunrise at 0300 need to get a cranial-anal extraction operation, your so far north as to be insignificant.

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  68. 68. lencioni 7:36 pm 10/28/2013

    I agree that we should abolish daylight saving time. So I am campaigning to do that. Join me https://www.causes.com/campaigns/40479-abolish-daylight-saving-time

    Link to this

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