Daylight Slavings Time

3 Nov
Sundials Don't Do Daylight Savings Time

Sundials Don't Do Daylight Savings Time!

Why do we have Daylight Savings Time?  I’m never happy to see it start and I’m ever so happy to see it end.

It’s a left-over from WWI and WWII shortages and Arizona is our only state intelligent enough to forgo its illusory benefits.  We don’t get much right here in the state of Florida, but at least we are considering abolishing DST.

DST wasn’t the standard until 1966 and the passing of the Uniform Time Act.

The effect of this law was to simplify the official pattern of where and when DST is applied within the U.S.  Previously, each state worked out its own scheme for the dates of beginning and ending DST, and in some cases, which parts of the state should use it.

As originally written, states that observe DST were required to begin it at 02:00 local time on the last Sunday in April and to end it at 02:00 local time on the last Sunday in October. The law was later amended in 1986 to move the uniform start date for DST to the first Sunday in April (effective 1987). The latest amendment extends DST by four or five weeks by moving the uniform start date for DST to the second Sunday in March and the end date to the first Sunday in November (effective 2007). The law does not require that all states observe DST. Individual states may exempt themselves from DST and observe standard time year-round by passing a state law (provided certain guidelines are met).

So, who benefits from DST?  Let’s take a look at who lobbied for the DST extensions.

  • In the mid-1980s, Clorox and 7-Eleven provided the primary funding for the Daylight Saving Time Coalition behind the 1987 extension, and both Idaho senators voted for it on the basis of fast-food restaurants selling more French fries made from Idaho potatoes!  in 1984 Fortune magazine estimated that a seven-week extension of DST would yield an additional $30 million for 7-Eleven stores, and the National Golf Foundation estimated the extension would increase golf industry revenues $200 million to $300 million.
  • In 2005, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores successfully lobbied for the 2007 extension.

Adding daylight to afternoons only benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours.

Who doesn’t benefit from DST?

  • Agriculture (which IMO is much more important than 7-Eleven’s profits and golfing!) and other occupations tied to the sun.  For instance, grain harvesting is best done after dew evaporates, so when field hands arrive and leave earlier in summer their labor is less valuable.
  • School children on their way to school.  Every year in Florida we have at least three children die in the week after DST begins because they are forced to wait for a bus or walk to school in the dark and early dawn, and are hit by drivers who fail to see them (see natural sleep patterns below).
  • Heart attack victims.  Heart attacks are significantly more common the first three weekdays after the spring transition.
  • Natural sleep patterns.  Clock shifts disrupt sleep and reduce its efficiency.  Effects on seasonal adaptation of the circadian rhythm can be severe and last for weeks.

A law and a practice that exists only to serve big money and the rich, and which has been called Daylight Slaving Time, doesn’t seem to me to be in the best interests of the majority of people in the United States, and yet it still exists.  If you want more time to play golf in the afternoon before it gets dark, then get your ass up earlier and leave work earlier.  If you can afford to play golf, you also have a flexible work schedule.  Don’t force the rest of us up in the dark with you; we’ll get up in the dark if it suits us and/or our employers.  All this mucking about setting clocks back and forth is a pain in the ass and the only enjoyable thing about it is when it stops.


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