Source: Quartz



Allison Schrager:

Daylight saving time in the US ends Nov. 3, part of the an annual ritual where Americans (who don’t live in Arizona or Hawaii) and residents of 78 other countries including Canada (but not Saskatchewan), most of Europe, Australia and New Zealand turn their clocks back one hour. It’s a controversial practice that became the official standard in America in 1966 and adjusted throughout the 1970s with the intent of conserving energy.. The fall time change feels particularly hard because we lose another hour of evening daylight, just as the days grow shorter. It also creates confusion because countries that observe daylight saving change their clocks on different days.

It would seem to be more efficient to do away with the practice altogether. The actual energy savings are minimal, if they exist at all. Frequent and uncoordinated time changes cause confusion, undermining economic efficiency. There’s evidence that regularly changing sleep cycles, associated with daylight saving, lowers productivity and increases heart attacks. Being out of sync with European time changes was projected to cost the airline industry $147 million a year in travel disruptions. But I propose we not only end Daylight Saving, but also take it one step further.

Category: Digital Media

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

20 Responses to “Time to Retire Daylight Savings”

  1. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    But… but… but… but…

    If we do away with daylight savings time, how would we know when it is time to change the batteries in our smoke detectors?

    So far I’ve not seen any analysis of eliminating daylight savings time that looks at the increased injury rate due to malfunctioning or non-working smoke detectors.

  2. Bridget says:

    China is all in one time zone.

    • ByteMe says:

      And Russia has 10. Your point being…?

      • Bridget says:

        Dearie me, looking for a fight, are we?

        No agenda here. The map suggests that the author thinks we should have two time zones. I helpfully contributed the tidbit that China has only one. For, you know, the further edification of those who are interested.

  3. Jojo says:

    It is not clear that you have to click through the source link at the top of the page to read the remainder of this article.

    That being said, I agree 100%. And I think paring the four time zones down to two is also an excellent idea!

  4. Whammer says:

    In San Francisco/Silicon Valley, doing this would mean that sunrise wouldn’t be until 9 AM or later from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s day. That leaves a whole bunch of kids trying to get to school (start time roughly 8 AM in general) in the dark, at the very same time that the morning commute is happening.

    I think we can agree that would be bad. In fact, there was a brief experiment with keeping DST in 1973/74, and it was abandoned for this very reason.

    East Coast bias ;-)

  5. ByteMe says:

    Sunrise this morning in Portland, ME was at 6:19. Sunrise in Chicago (on the eastern edge of central time) was an hour and 6 minutes later. Having only two time zones for a land mass that’s 3000 miles wide is nutty.

  6. Lyle says:

    Nothing like continuing an argument that has run for nearly 100 years. Recall that before 1883 time was set based upon the local longitude, which determined the mean noon. Then the railroads adopted standard time because until you had rapid transport it was not a problem that clocks in different cities were set to different times. Daylight saving time originated in Europe during WWI and came to the US in 1918, and was repealed after the war. Then from then on it was a local option until 1942 when it was adpoted year round from 1942 to 1945. From 1945 until 1966 it was back to local option, and in 1966 DST was adopted nationwide, as well as ending local option on time zones, due to the push again from the transportation industry, as the local option was confusing. So the controversy rages although the arguments against have changed from when the dew gets off the grass and when the cows need to be milked.
    Anyway if one travels at all by air 1 hour time changes are nothing. The effect is less than staying up to watch a late show.

  7. JohnT says:

    I shouldn’t jump in here, but the devil makes me do it.

    Years ago I worked on a mainframe office system. One task was to internationalize date and time. It was a simple appealing idea. Email originating in Japan, dated by the year of accession of the Emperor, should appear to its Arab recipient in Riyahd in Islamic date. And so on, around the world.

    Well, it turns out that few things are more political throughout history than date and time, and that includes Daylight Savings Time. We hit upon “scientific time” used by astronomers, for the internal representation of date and time, and local tables to translate to the preferred representation.

    Very well and good. But then the next technical problem was historical date and time. Albania, for example, had one date and time under Nazi Occupation, and yet another before, and another after.

    One of the worst for time was the United States. The “standard” before the 20th Century was so-called “local time.” 12 noon was when the sun was highest overhead. Naturally, there would be time differences from on town, say Corsicana, TX and Odessa TX. This may not have been a problem before the railroads. But with railroads, it played hell with printing schedules. Does anybody remember train schedules? Probably not. Well the train schedule for one town would not agree with the same train schedule for another. Consequently, the railroads fought a political battle for standard time. That was the start of our four time zones. When I say political battle, I mean it. No damned railroad barons were going to interfere with God’s own time. There was even one politician (sorry I don’t remember his name) who ran for Senator (I think it was Maine) on the platform of protecting God’s Time.

    I hope you don’t think I’m kidding.

    So, our technical group hit upon Astrology Tables. Reconciling date and time across politics and history is a gritty task faced by astrologers. They have the odd belief that exact time and date are needed to determine the positions of the stars at a client’s birth, whether Albanian or Russian or British. So they publish tables correlating dates and times internationally. Except for the US, for which they ask you to consult your local tables. They are too numerous, apparently.

    The politics of daylight savings time were originally pro-labor. DST was supposed to give the wage earner more daylight time with his family. I think this was originally French, who liked the extra hour of evening daylight so much that they never went back to standard time. Instead, they introduced a second hour called Summer Time in addition to the old daylight time which now became Winter Time.

    I can’t prove this but I suspect the heart of American opposition to DST was anti-labor. DST seemed like a good idea because it was quite popular in Europe, so it was enacted here. My impression was that they thought it would be a simple act that would please the public. I no longer recall the timeframe, but I think it was during FDR’s administration. Instead of favor, it provided opposition leaders with baloney propaganda. Pity the poor farmer’s cows! Etc.

  8. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    For 4 decades we’ve been saving daylight, but no one can say what we’re going to do with the reserves. I say it’s time for an audit.

    Full disclosure: I have 4 days, 3 hours and 47 minutes of daylight hidden in my mattress (it’s the good shit, too: Mr. Blue Sky).

  9. pollyanna says:

    I agree with economist Schrager’s piece on ending DST and consolidating U.S. time zones.

    I propose to go even farther and have only 1 time zone across the 2800 mile-wide continental U.S.–much like China does across its 3800 mile width.

    By the way, Schrager follows up her piece with some Q&A here:

    (I find the website layout for that Quartz site to be very annoying and unfriendly to readers. I hope I don’t have to read much more from that site.)

    • bear_in_mind says:

      RE: Quartz website — I almost NEVER can get the site to load, regardless of Windows, Mac, iOS and various revisions of each operating system. Whatever whiz-bang programming they’ve adopted, they’re shutting-out a plethora of potential viewers. Who knows, maybe that’s their objective.

  10. Eric Blood Axe says:

    I am opposed too. What I hate most is changing all my clocks. Tomorrow I will have to change quite a few, by running them forward 23 hours, and correcting for date etc. It may have been a good idea a hundred years ago,when oil lamps and candles were common, but now it hangs on by apathy.

  11. willid3 says:

    well i am use to time changes but can see the idea of having stopped doing that (so which do you pick, day light savings or standard time?} hving some value. then there is the collapsing 2 into 4. do you split the difference between east/central, and mountain/pacfic? so each gets offset by 1/2 hour? and then what do you do with Hawaii? its 2 hours different from pacific? then you will have more folks doing stuff in the dark (which was the entire purpose for havingtime zones too begin with)

  12. Iamthe50percent says:

    It is ridiculous! Nothing is saved. It’s like the morons I work for changing all the shifts to one hour earlier so we can do an hour’s extra work. I kid you not. And, yes, we end the shift an hour early also. Another stupidity is that they cut the work force so severely to “save money” that we now regularly work six days a week to get the work done (at 52 hours pay, time and a half on the sixth day). And another managerial bonus is born!

  13. mpetrosian says:

    You can mark the smoke detector change on your paper calendar, MS Outlook, about 100 different apps. You can tell Siri to remind you if you’re really lazy. Stop it.

  14. Clif Brown says:

    Getting rid of daylight savings time makes sense, but I don’t know about dividing the CONUS into only two time zones. Doing that would put the sun about 30 degrees higher in the sky at the same time of day at the west end of one time zone ( e.g. in the Great Plains) compared to the east end of the same time zone (e.g. NYC). That’s a big shift, twice as much as daylight savings time incurs at any given location now, and it would be permanent.

  15. maddog2020 says:

    I vote to keep it – out here on the far edge of EST, we’d have sunrise in June @ 3:48 AM without it.

  16. bear_in_mind says:

    I say scrap DST post haste! It’s a no-brainer. And personally, it disturbs my circadian rhythm twice every damned year, and for what?

    As for time zones, I don’t think moving to two zones makes sense. Even though we no longer need it for coordinating train schedules, there are tons of benefits to keeping routine activities during discrete chunks of the 24-hour day/night cycle. And as ‘maddog2020′ suggests, there may be certain areas where ADDING another time zone might make sense.

  17. Fritz3 says:

    I agree that we should stop doing time changes twice a year, but I would propose getting rid of standard time and keep daylight savings time as the “new” standard time. Right now, the US observes daylight savings time for 8 out of the 12 months of the year, so it really is, de facto, “standard time” in the US. Rather than ditch daylight savings time, we should just settle on it permanently. But most importantly, I think it’s time to get rid of changing the clock twice a year. It’s the time *changes* that are disruptive, not the nominal clock time. Having said that, I also think that having only two time zones for the continental US would be too disruptive. There should be some local relationship between the nominal clock time you go to work and the nominal clock time everyone else in the country goes to work, and the position of the sun in the sky.