Monday, October 27, 2014

What's An Hour, Anyway?

by Patricia Bradley

In one week, my life will return to order. I will get back that hour I lost last March. Yes. November 2nd  we will fall back to normal Standard Time.

Unfortunately, not everyone will be happy with this transition. In fact, I think I am in the minority. Most people prefer Daylight Savings Time, DST for future reference, because it gets dark later. But my question is, what can you do at 6 o’clock in the evening in the dead of winter anyway?

I really need to get up by 5 each morning—early morning is my best writing time, but it’s so hard to get up when it’s still dark outside. As I pondered this post, I wondered who first came up with the idea of DST.

Well, it turns out Benjamin Franklin way back in 1784  published an essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” where he suggested that people get out of bed earlier in the morning to make use of the morning sunlight. In that way, they could cut costs on candles.

Jump forward 121 years to William Willett, a British builder, who proposed that clocks be set ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April and then resetting them again to normal time on each of the four Sundays in September. However, farmers opposed the bill and Willett died without seeing his idea come to fruition.

But by 1916, Germany implemented DST on April 30 by having clocks turn forward an hour. This was to save fuel which in turn would help the war effort. See, I told you it was a bad idea.

In February of 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created “War Time” during World War II. DST was year-round.  I guess I should be glad he didn’t set them ahead 2 hours like Britain did.

Then in 1966 Congress implemented the Uniform Time Act that stated DST would begin on the last Sunday in April and continue until the last Sunday in October. However, this bill also allowed states to choose whether to be exempt from DST. Hawaii and most of Arizona are DST free! Alas, I live in Mississippi.

The date has been changed again, from October to Sunday, November 2. so on that date this year, it will suddenly be 1 a.m. and I will get to sleep in an extra hour…at least until March 8, 2015 at 2 a.m.


How about you? How do you feel about DST?




20 comments:

  1. I really don't care what time we're on; what I mind is changing times at all. I live in Indiana, where for something like 30 years, we just went on our merry way. We didn't oversleep in spring or have to prop our eyes open in fall because the time never changed. I have been complaining pretty well nonstop ever since we jumped on the time change train again (I still think there are on 24 hours in a day, regardless of politics), so thanks for the opportunity to do it in writing, Pat! :-) Good post.

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    1. I'm so glad to see I'm not alone in this! Thanks Liz.

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  2. I AM in Arizona LOL. We never change, which is good although one of our automatic clocks changes and we have to change it back. Then, there's the hassle of calling family and having to remember "Are they one hour later or two. My parents, luved em, never got the hang of it all, and used to call me at 6 a.m. on Sunday mornings, wanting to wake me up at 8 a.m.

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    1. I have trouble deciding which way to go when calling someone in Eastern time. Are they an hour ahead or an hour behind? I'm dyslexic that way. lol

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  3. I, too, like Pam, live in Arizona and suffer from the same calls at ungodly hours from people who don’t understand it’s 5:00 am here when it’s 8:00 am in New Jersey. Having a dog in the time change zone was a problem. We always fed Yukon at 5:00 pm, and she could never understand why she had to wait an extra hour for her food when the clocks changed.

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    1. I have farmer friend who milked cows...needless to say, the cows never understood, so my friend would have to get up at 3 instead of 4.

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  4. Okay, I'm the third Arizonan checking in, and have the same problems with us not changing and others doing so. Mostly the problem is me not my family. I have one daughter and family in Michigan and the other in Seattle. So all summer the one in Seattle is the same time as me and the one in Michigan 3 hours ahead. Then they change and I seem to have a devil of a time remember which did what. I do have to say when I lived elsewhere and worked I liked not having to go to work and come home in the dark. So I liked DST.

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    1. Yeah, I can see that...but I still don't like DST. :-)

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  5. Oh, Patricia....this is a subject that I often rant about. I think DST is so silly and when I try to state my case people try to give me a history lesson to tell me why it's necessary (it's not) or to convince me that we get an "extra hour" in the fall that we "lose" in the spring (we don't). Because Liz said it perfectly---there are 24 hours in a day no matter what time it is!! You don't GET any more time. And your question is great, too--what difference does it make what time it is if it's 5 or 6 in the middle of winter when it's dark out? LOL! (See? Sorry. Rant.)

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    1. Thanks Carol. I agree it's not necessary. And if we stayed on regular time, the little kids in my neighborhood wouldn't have to catch the bus in the dark because it comes at 6:45. It's dark-thirty in October at 6:45 during DST.

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  6. Hi, Patricia. Like Liz, I don't really care, either. The only issue I have is that the dog has to go out at 6:30 and for whatever reason, won't go in the yard. So I walk her at that hour and have been doing it with a flashlight for about a month. On our route is a tree-covered stop where the kids wait for the school bus. I worry about them, but at least there are six or seven of them. I'll be happy to walk in daylight next week, but then our nighttime walk will have to be earlier. If that's my biggest problem, I'm a lucky woman. Good post. My husband hates DST and would be very vocal on it if he were blogging.

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    1. I like you husband! Yeah, I realize it'd be nice if all my problems were this small.
      :-)

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    2. No criticism of you intended. Just happy I don't have to deal with anything more serious.

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  7. I hate that we lose an hour, especially since I get up by 4:30 a.m. M-F! Next Monday is going to be tough on me...crikey, I'm blogging that day!

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    1. Oh, but Melinda, you won't be losing. You'll be getting it back. When the clock goes off Monday morning it would actually be 5:30 if it were still DST--you get to sleep an hour longer.

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  8. Love this background on DST, Patricia! I'm a night owl, but I'm often up earlier for my other job. I'm going to be thinking of you next week! ;)

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    1. Thank you Cerella. I need it with 2 books due at the same time and copy edits this week on another. But it will be easier to get up and get to it. lol

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  9. I have children and I grew up in Buffalo, NY. When the clocks were not set back, kids had to go to school in the dark and come home in the dark. I like the switch. I feel like I get more done. Even in the winter when it gets darker sooner, the clock tells me it's only 8:00 not 9:00 o'clock. I gained an hour.

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    1. Amen, Shirley!! I don't know why I feel like I get so much more done, but I do.

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    2. Another Arizona chiming in. Thanks for reminding me. It helps to know when you are dealing with the rest of the world. smile

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