Thursday, July 17, 2008

Daylight Savings Time - They Have It Exactly Ass Backwards

This illogical, poorly reasoned pustule of a subject has been festering within me for a long time (you're already scared to read anymore, aitcha?).

The final straw came when my friend Satyavati incredulously pasted a post from some Arkansas chucklehead who said the following:

Daylight exacerbates warning (sic)

You may have noticed that March of this year was particularly hot. As a matter of fact, I understand that it was the hottest March since the beginning of the last century. All of the trees were fully leafed out and legions of bugs and snakes were crawling around during a time in Arkansas when, on a normal year, we might see a snowflake or two. This should come as no surprise to any reasonable person. As you know, Daylight Saving Time started almost a month early this year. You would think that members of Congress would have considered the warming effect that an extra hour of daylight would have on our climate. Or did they ? Perhaps this is another plot by a liberal Congress to make us believe that global warming is a real threat. Perhaps next time there should be serious studies performed before Congress passes laws with such far-reaching effects. CONNIE M. MESKIMEN / Hot Springs

I was as stunned by the sheer idiocy of these comments as Satyavati was.

Ms. Meskimen's "reasoning" is ridiculous.

We all know the number of daylight hours vs. nighttime hours doesn't change because of the way we set our clocks. It is governed by earth's orbit around the sun and the tilt of earth's axis.

No legislation can change that.


I have long contended that the economic justifications for daylight savings time are completely bogus and the result is exactly the opposite of what was intended.

Stick with me here.

The original justification for "extending" the daylight hours by moving the clock forward an hour was to save energy costs.

"In general, energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting our homes is directly connected to when we go to bed and when we get up. Bedtime for most of us is late evening through the year. When we go to bed, we turn off the lights and TV.

In the average home, 25 percent of all the electricity we use is for lighting and small appliances, such as TVs, VCRs and stereos. A good percentage of energy consumed by lighting and appliances occurs in the evening when families are home. By moving the clock ahead one hour, we can cut the amount of electricity we consume each day.

Studies done in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that we trim the entire country's electricity usage by about one percent EACH DAY with Daylight Saving Time.

Daylight Saving Time "makes" the sun "set" one hour later and therefore reduces the period between sunset and bedtime by one hour. This means that less electricity would be used for lighting and appliances late in the day. We may use a bit more electricity in the morning because it is darker when we rise, but that is usually offset by the energy savings in the evening.

We also use less electricity because we are home fewer hours during the "longer" days of spring and summer. Most people plan outdoor activities in the extra daylight hours. When we are not at home, we don't turn on the appliances and lights. A poll done by the U.S. Department of Transportation indicated that Americans liked Daylight Saving Time because "there is more light in the evenings / can do more in the evenings."

Bull. Fucking. Shit.

This line of reasoning assumes that the majority of Americans think "OH, I'm off work and it's as bright as a fucking laser shining directly in my eyes! It's hotter than a goddamned white dwarf star! It's as humid as Satan's crotch in a pair of leather pants! I don't want to go home and relax after a torturous day of taking un-lubed dick up the ass for some else's enrichment! I'm not anxious to brush and gargle the taste of corporate cock out of my mouth, have a couple of drinks and watch some mindless HDTV. Let me get out there and engage in activities with large crowds of closely packed, smelly, sweaty people I don't know and DO STUFF! It's summer! Yippee!"

That's ridiculous.

That's just stupid!

For people like me, that means that I am hunkered down at home with the AC cranked to the max, lights on, watching TV all evening until it cools down enough to go outside and do something without sweating like a whore in church! Under the fascist daylight savings time regime, that's around 9:30pm!

If it started getting dark and cooling off an hour earlier, at 8:30 like a hypothetical, non-existent, god intended, I would be shutting that stuff off and getting out of the house an hour earlier.

So instead of sheltering from the heat at maximum AC for 4 hours after work, I'd only be doing it for 3 hours.

THAT would save energy and money!

I think they have it exactly backwards.

In the winter, on regular time, it's getting dark by 5:30pm. You are barely home from work and it's night time. That's depressing.

They should move the clocks forward in the winter! That would help equalize the drastic difference between summer and winter.

Instead of a four hour differential (5:30/9:30) between the onset of darkness between the seasons, there would only be a two hour differential (6:30/8:30).

Doesn't that make more sense than adding emphasis to the cold, dark depression of winter and the endless, blazing heat and humidity of summer?

Seriously, people.

Isn't reducing holiday season suicides in the dead of winter more important than giving pop-collared douche bags more time to ogle tits-gone-wild at the party cove during the summer?

Christ, I just re-read that last sentence. Of course it isn't! Duh! What the fuck was I thinking?

Never mind.

Who wants beads? WOO HOO! FREE BIRD! FREE BIRD!


Leigh Ann said...

Hooray! You're the only person I've ever heard say it.

I hate daylight savings time and have since I was a kid. They didn't have it in Mexico and I marveled that people could get along without it, and enjoyed reality time much better.

I wonder if there's any anti-daylight savings time activism going on. If not, we should get the ball rolling.

Leigh Ann said...

Oh! Check this out! Skip to 2:00

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Personally I think it should always be DST. I get up at four in the morning and I have worked enough 12 hour shifts to know about that 'dark to dark' thing. To me anything that makes it brighter more of the hours that I'm awake is a good thing.

I'm kind of extra-sensitive to this sort of stuff anyway... I always get a little depressed after the solstice because it means days are getting shorter.

But this chick has really blown me away with this.

I almost want to write her a letter and tell her that it really IS a liberal plot. Just to see what kind of letter she'd write to the paper about it.

crseum said...

This is one of those posts where I just really hope it was meant in fun. But then I get scared that people will take my posts and scorn me thinking I was serious about stuff. Stupid congressional controlled sunshine....

tec said...

I am in complete agreement. I've always thought that DST was an archaic institution. Sure, 60 years ago when there weren't any TVs or AC it made sense (sorta), but the logic behind continuing to use it is clearly faulty.

Leigh Ann said...

@Satyavati devi dasi: I don't believe in "Liberal Plots", it's all corporo-fascist to me. And I've sworn off writing letters to the editor because I dislike their "creative editing."

I prefer to build websites like the one I'm working on now

Keep It

I feel this is more effective as far as spreading the word goes.

There's even a compromise on there that is Satyavati devi dasi-friendly, although I have my doubts about the scheme.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I don't know.. this seems like an enormously huge deal over changing a clock.

I'm a bit clock-obsessed and in our house we have at least one clock in every room except our guest bathroom (don't want them to feel they have to rush or anything).

At least half of these clocks are set at least five minutes fast and some are more ahead than that.

The only actual 'legit' clocks are the ones on my laptop (2).

Time is relative. I just like it to stay bright for as many of the hours I have to be awake as possible.

I appreciate your enthusiasm and your devotion to your cause and I wish you all the best with it but honestly I can come up with a few more crucial issues to invest myself in right now.

It's all relative. It flies when you're having fun, drags at work and can never be refunded or exchanged. I have better things to waste it on.

Xavier Onassis said...

satyavati - my girlfriend sets her clocks 10 minutes ahead and I have never understood that.

If I did that, as soon as the alarm went off, my very first thought would be "It's 10 minutes fast...I have another 10 minutes."

What, exactly, is the point of that? I don't get it.

But I do find it strange and ironic that I came home last night, got settled in, checked my google reader and read your post first.

Never got around to reading any other posts, or doing anything else, because I spent the rest of the evening, literally, right up until bedtime, crafting the post on daylight savings time.

I'm sure there is a cautionary tale lodged in there somewhere.

Leigh Ann said...

Well, the more I think about it, the more I think XO is right... it should be the exact opposite of the way it is now. Fall forward and spring back.

I just can't think of a catchy domain name to go along with the concept.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I keep them set ahead because I forget they're set ahead and so I go racing blindly around the house to get out on time only to realize I not only don't have to drive 70 on windy back roads, I have time to stop and get a cup of coffee.

What drives me nuts is my husband, who gets up with his alarm at 6 and resets the clock to 615 every single day. Just set it to 615 if that's when you want to get up.

And what's so strange and ironic about coming home and having your whole evening consumed with thoughts of me that completely obliterate your ability to do or think about anything else?

Geez, I've always put that down under 'extra qualifications' on my resume.

DLC said...

Spring back, fall forward