The Curious Need for DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME

by on November 5, 2017

in consumer

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is quite the mystery to me so I tried looking it up but even when the information is one place like Wikipedia, it can be a convoluted collective of information.

I saw let’s just move it ONE LAST TIME by half-an-hour and leave it be!

But as it is, Congress has to approve any change we want to make to this system. So we change our clocks one hour this way or that, depending on the month. But what’s the reasoning for it? Depending on what you see or focus on, it was started in regards to

  • -Energy use,
  • -Economic effects,
  • -Public safety,
  • -Health.

Yes, those four items are some of the quoted reasons for DST. But various studies tend to claim minor advantages or conflicting results/advantages to any of these issues. As far as I can tell any pattern or behavior that existed on one end of the day will be shifted to the other. Or what light you shift to morning, you lose in the evening. Heck, for some reason, some studies have suggested that fuel consumption goes up because of DST.

Of course modifying the time that the sun rises or sets has no advantage on farming, since as I’ve discovered or seen, farming can occur 24 hours a day, day or night.

Then back in 2007 when the U.S. made changes to DST, that forced a lot of companies to have to spend money to comply with the change, the biggest impact being on e-mail and calendar software.

You can read source after source of countries that stopped adhering to the DST time changes, or have changed and gone back, or continue to use this system of time keeping.

But behind the scenes, there’s an interesting complexity going on.

MS Windows tracks system real-time in local time. This complicates compatibility with multi operating systems on systems because the clock can be set to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), and then the computer has to double-adjust the clock when users boot into the other Windows versions, including their rescue boot disks.

Then there’s the thing with the NTFS file system used by the latest versions of Windows where it stores files with a time stampe based on UTC, but adjusts the time to display the time to what we expect, the local time. But removable devices still use the FAT file system which only stores files, per the local time. So when you copy a file to removable media, the time stamp of that file will be set to the local time, then depending on when you access this file, the timestamp between the original and copy will be different. Similar complexities occur with compression processes or other archiving software.

You would think in this day and age, there would be improved processes to track such a seemingly simple thing as file timestamps.

Heck, just the other year, California had put a bill to the voters, but voters were confused. They did not like changing time shifts, but they liked the longer daylight when it came to their kids little league games. Or some people suggested that longer light hours in the afternoon allows people to go hiking, kayaking and take short camping trips. (No, really, they said that. I know, I know.)

Critics even quoted how if we made a permanent change, we would still have to shift our watches and other gear when we go to Oregon or Nevada. They quietly neglected to mention how you have to muck with your watches when you travel through different parts of Arizona and somehow manage to survive that terrible traveling travesty!

Then you have folks who say that going to the voters about am issue that is beyond the state’s authority is a waste of time and money because asking Congress to address this issue is not high on its to-do list. They’re busier with more important things and hence, we’re only “crowding the ballot.”

The Congress intervention is noted because even if we did vote in a permanent time change, states can’t adopt changes without federal authorization. The U.S. Uniform Time Act of 1966 only allows states two options: Standard Time all year or “springing forward” for about eight months, starting in March.

Personally, since there are so many arguments for and against time changes by one hour, then make one last change, by thirty minutes, and let it be done.

But as it stands, it seems that such a simple thing as stopping these DST changes can be pretty complicated muffling the voice of the people. Or it’s as complicated as we make it.

Sources for further reading:

mercurynews

wikipedia

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