About Me

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I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Daylight Savings

As I write this, it's Sunday morning, and one of my chores of this particular Sunday morning is that I just set the clocks back one hour. Sometime in the night we passed back into what we refer to as “Standard Time”.

I must admit that I'm one of the oddballs who look forward to the return to Standard Time (I say “oddballs” because I have never...EVER...run into anyone else to has admitted to me that they look forward to the same thing). I like the night. I like the dark. I like short days and long nights. I've said many, many times to friends and family: “By March, I'm ready for spring; by May, I'm ready for fall”. Here in America they have decided to push this glorious day into November because whiny people want more of Daylight Savings Time. They did this, really just to piss me off.

But that said, I don't, for the life of me, understand Daylight Savings Time. I can't fathom why pretty much the whole planet would go through the semi-annual inconvenience of changing the time that their clocks read.

I went out to the most accurate and reliable store of knowledge that the world has (wikipedia) to try to understand this curiosity. Why do we do this? If there is an advantage to having the clock in one place (ie: later in the day), then set it there and leave it there. Why change it back? I've heard that the point is for energy savings: how does that help to save energy? I've got way too many questions.

Wiki cleared up many of my questions, and if you're interested, I suggest reading that entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time)

Basically, the article tells me that studies have shown there there is NO advantage with respect to saving energy. It tells me that some fellow riding out in the countryside in merry ol' England couldn't understand why people would sleep through the glory that is morning. Let's move the clock, said he, so that people could enjoy more light at the end of the day!

This idea assumes that EVERYONE enjoys the day more than the night, and I assure you: this is not the case. But even if it was, the case, why set the clock back in the fall? Why not move the time, and leave it there? I still don't have the answer for this. Mostly, I think, because a good one doesn't exist.

Every spring we move the clocks ahead and everyone complains about “losing” an hour of sleep. Nurses who work the night shift actually end up working 11 hours and getting paid for 12. (assuming a 12 hour shift, of course). We all spend a few days adjusting to the new time.

Then, in the fall, we move the clocks back and rejoice at gaining an hour of sleep. Nurses (and other graveyard shift workers, I imagine) work 13 hours and get paid for 12. Many folks this time of year start complaining about how early night falls, which again is one of my favorite parts of the fall and winter. Night falls that much earlier because we just turned the clock back.

You get adjustment and complaining at both times. I prefer Standard Time, but what really drives me buggy is the fact that we go through this charade over and over and over. Twice a year, every year. I get to hear folks complain about losing sleep on one hand, and losing sunlight on the other.

My proposal: set the time and friggin' leave it there. No more adjustments, no more “gaining” or “losing” time or sleep. Pick one or the other. If the masses of the planet prefer to have more sunlight in the afternoon, set everyone's clock to what is today Daylight Savings Time, and call it Standard Time and leave it there. If they prefer Standard Time, set it there and leave it there.

It makes no sense whatever to run around changing clocks twice a year and forcing the population to change their schedules. The folks who complain about days getting shorter will continue to do so regardless. We have so many little things to worry about, why add another?

Set it, and leave it. Then, go look at my blog about Long Day / Short Day, and find out what I really think. :)

Long day / Short day...why complain about it?
Mark Twain is credited with saying, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it”.

This is the time of the year when things grow cold, nights get long, and the trees are the loveliest. Fall is my favorite time of the year, followed by winter, and then spring. I could do completely without summer. I consider the fact that I live where I live through the summer as a compromise with my wife, who very much likes the summer.

I know: I'm weird.

One of the things that I particularly look forward to is that the nights start to creep in earlier and earlier. I like the night (which is not to say that I like the night life...I'm an introvert). Night is relatively calm and peaceful for me. When we were just married, my wife was working the over-night, and I was unemployed for a year.

We both look back on those days fondly. On nights when she didn't work, we would be together, often with friends, start baking around 1:00 am, playing games through the night. Lovely time. On nights that she worked, I would stay up into the wee hours (like 4:00 am) playing video games or reading. I wanted to have some sleep left in me when she got home from work around 8:00 am. We would get to sleep together, and I would get up around 10:00 am, shop, clean, play, search for a job, cook, get her up around 4:30 pm and start the cycle all over again. The sweet life.

I have always been more comfortable at night.

Now, while I can't understand WHY so many people seem to have trouble with long nights, I can understand THAT people have trouble with long nights. I don't get the Seasonal Affected Disorder, but I know that some people have it. I have the same sorts of thoughts regarding folks who absolutely hate the cold. It's enough that I understand that these likes and dislike exist.

But here's what I don't understand: why is it that people remain where they are instead of going somewhere where they can be happy?

What I mean by this is pretty simple (in my pretty simple mind): if you don't like the cold, if the impending winter puts you into a panic, or fret, or fear...if you absolutely hate the idea of snow, why don't you move to where there's no cold or snow?

If you hate living where the sun sets early, move south, and towards the western edge of a time zone.

IF, on the other hand, you live where you don't like the climate, or where you are unhappy for half of the year because of short days, and you won't move, I don't want to hear it. If you're not willing to improve your circumstances, you don't have a right to complain about them.