Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Daylight Savings Time: One more new-fangled thing I'm agin'.

This is a couple of weeks late, but I've been busy and distracted.

Perhaps daylight savings time makes our lives easier, but according to the following study posted on the National Health Institute website, daylight savings time can also be a cruel April fools joke. As we all lose an hour of sleep when our clocks spring ahead each daylight savings time, fatal traffic accidents increase dramatically leading to a deadly spring break.

Oh dear, this nonsense again. California wants year-round daylight savings time, so that evil power-plant building can be avoided for a few more years. Somehow, the California Energy Commission fails to mention that this was tried in 1973 -- and promptly repealed. You see, when you get up an hour ahead of the sun in winter, it's very dark for a long time, especially in the northern part of the country. And as children stumble around in the dark on their way to school, they get killed in increasing numbers in traffic accidents. So tell me, how much kindergarten blood is it worth to you, to accomodate the superstitions of those who think electricity is a bad idea?

Dammit. I was so glad that at least Indiana hadn't given in to this insanity, but as of last year, it caved in and inflicted DST on its residents. Now only Hawaii and parts of Arizona are holding out.

OK, this I have to admit gave me a warm fuzzy feeling: In September 1999, Palestinians living on West Bank were on Daylight Saving Time while the Israeli government had already switched back to Standard Time. When terrorists smuggled in time bombs, they exploded one hour early, killing three plotters instead of two busloads of people.

Case, an economist, said government studies refute the idea that daylight-saving time results in energy savings, which he called a myth.

Congress's logic was simple. If there's an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, people will turn on fewer lights. The Transportation Department once did a study saying daylight savings reduced America's use of oil by 100,000 barrels a day.

But Ryan Kellogg and Hendrik Wolff, who are working on their doctorates in economics, say the reduced need for light in the evening will likely be negated by the increased need in the early morning.

The folks in Washington apparently hadn't considered this. The daylight savings shift was a three-paragraph item in a 550-page energy bill in 2005. And that study from the Transportation Department? It's more than 30 years old.

For most people, getting an extra hour to sleep when Daylight Savings time ends October 29 is a sweeter treat than Halloween candy. Studies suggest this extra sleep yields a more significant benefit: a 7 percent decrease in automobile accidents immediately following the fall time change, according to one. Unfortunately, this study shows an 8 percent increase in automobile accidents the Monday after Daylight Savings resumes in the spring, when we lose an hour of sleep.

I’ll give you an example of just how sleep-deprived we are as a society. Every year in the Spring, we shift to daylight savings time, and on that day the nation loses an hour’s worth of sleep, and because God’s a good researcher, in the Fall we have a control group, so everybody gets an opportunity for an extra hour’s worth of sleep. Now we looked at traffic statistics in Canada for a couple of years on the day immediately following the shift to daylight savings time in the Spring and in the Fall, and what we found is in the Spring when you lose that hour’s worth of sleep, there’s a jump up in traffic accidents by 7%, and in the Fall when you get the extra hour’s worth of sleep, there’s a decrease by 7%. We are so chronically sleep-deprived as a society that a single hour’s worth of sleep gained or lost will shift the likelihood of accidents by 7% in either direction. That’s scary.
I wish to point out here that God did not inflict DST on His creatures. We must hold Him responsible for such things as tornadoes and bubonic plague, but DST we did to ourselves.

This isn’t the 1940s: and homes and businesses keep their lights and heat on throughout the day, regardless of the time displayed on the clock.

It might actually be a good thing to go on DST permanently. I wouldn't mind. But this switching back and forth is Not Okay.

And a drive-in commercial opposing DST:

Finally, this brilliant defense of DST:

Is DST WORTH IT? Boy, Let me tell you a story about the place I come from.

I live in Indiana (a midwestern US state). Up until last year, we'd never done DST before at all (with a few exceptions in towns whose economies were linked to cities across the border in other, DST-observing states).

Before we had DST, it was HELL. All year, it got dark at like 2:00pm. There was no Little League Baseball, no football (american or otherwise) for the kids. Most of our youth joined gangs, who roamed the incessant darkness in large, heavily fortified bad-mpg SUVs, kicking puppies and beating up old ladies just for fun. There was no Christmas and no birthdays, and if we saw the Easter bunny we ATE HIM.

Though many people had the misconception that we were "America's Breadbasket", in fact the darkness prevented us from raising any sort of sustenance crops and most of us resorted to cannibalism to survive. Most Hoosiers (that's what we're called, it means "land of eternal darkness" in a Native American tongue) eventually starved to death, which was viewed as a welcome respite from the hellish, unstoppable night. Dogs and cats, living together, you get the picture.

Then, we elected a new Governor who brought us into the light (literally). With the introduction of DST, and the seemingly random (almost whimsical, really) distribution of our Counties between two time zones, our lives were changed forever. Now, it's light outside pretty much twenty-four-fucking-seven. Our kids are all on at least six sports teams and never shoot each other anymore. They call you "sir" or "ma'am" (these words were not used before, as it was difficult to discern gender in the darkness), shine your shoes for you, and present you with ice-cold lemonade from stands with amusingly misspelled signs. We discovered oil everywhere, we grow more crops than the world could ever possibly use (which has ended hunger globally) and we're all filthy, stinking RICH. All the women have big perky boobs, all the men are RIPPED, and everybody has an IQ of at least 160.

Yes Sir, I don't know what we'd do if it weren't for good ol' DST. I have to assume that with the new DST-extending rule from our good friends in the US Congress, we'll probably just evolve to a higher state of being and shed these silly, out-dated husks to become super-intelligent beings composed of pure energy.

1 comment:

Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

I am glad to see another person willing to oppose the Utilitarian and Unnatural Scheme of "Daylight Savings". In my home state of Queensland, every summer we have the same debate about this horrific scheme despite it's unsuitablity to large sections of the state. But the more populous south-eastern region wishes to copy the Southern States and impose it on the rest of us. In case you are interested there is a site (http://www.nodaylightsavingqld.com/news.htm) detailing some opposition to this Dreadful System.