The Stolen Hour!
Good Morning and Happy Diwali!
It is 7.00 a.m. of Nov 03 here in California while you in India must have already done the Diwali-puja. We still have a long day ahead, actually longer than usual. Due to Daylight Saving Time setting the clock back earlier at 2.00 a.m., we have 25-hour Diwali day today. Interesting, isn't it?
Daylight Saving Time is one of the West’s great mysteries, like who really killed JFK. It was one of the things I assumed I would never understand. But thanks to widespread knowledge gathered from Google, the mystery is more or less solved for me, and may be for you also if you don't mind my breaking it to you here.
Daylight Saving Time dates back to the good ole’ days when we did everything based on when we had sunlight. Just as sunflowers turn their heads to catch every sunbeam, so too we discovered a simple way to get more from the sun when Benjamin Franklin suggested we all get up earlier to save money on candles. It was a major blow to all the unhappy, unhealthy, and unwise people who love to snooze - early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise!
The practice wasn’t formally implemented until World War I, when countries at war started setting their clocks back to save on coal. Daylight Saving was repealed during peacetime, and then revived again during World War II. More than 70 countries currently practice Daylight Saving Time, because they think it saves money on electricity (in the U.S., Arizona and Hawaii have opted out).
Daylight Saving Time is the practice of advancing clocks during the lighter months so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less. Typically clocks are adjusted toward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in autumn. Although an early goal of DST was to reduce evening use of electricity for lighting, modern cooling and heating usage pattern differ greatly and research about how DST currently effects energy use is contrary. Studies show that Daylight Saving Time actually results in a one percent overall increase in residential electricity. And that it messes with sleeping patterns. Oh, and also it may cause heart attacks, according to the American Journal of Cardiology. So it’s no surprise that more and more countries are reevaluating whether to hold on to this relic from the past.
DST complicates time keeping and can disrupt meetings, travel and sleep patterns. By resetting all clocks to be one hour ahead of Standard Time, we wake an hour earlier than we would have otherwise, and complete daily work routine an hour earlier and will experience an extra hour of daylight following workday activities. Most of the United States begins DST at 2.00 a.m. On the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. 'Spring forward, Fall back' is the formula. Phrase Daylight Saving Time is inaccurate, since no daylight is actually saved, Daylight Shifting Time would be better. But who cares, what comes from West is the best – right or wrong.
Widespread confusion was created during the 1950s and 1960s when each U. S. city could start and end DST as it desired – 23 different pairs of DST starting and ending dates were in use in Iowa alone. On one Ohio to West Virginia bus rout passengers had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles. The twin Minnesota cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are considered a single metropolitan area, but they had one hour time difference due to different DST time settings, bringing a period of great time turmoil to the cities and surrounding areas.
In Antartica, there is no daylight in the winter and months of 24-hour daylight in summer. But many of the research stations there still observe DST anyway, to synchronize with their parent countries.
While twins born at 11.55 p.m. And 12.05 a.m. May have different birthdays, DST can change their birth order – on paper anyway. During the time change in the fall, one baby could be born at 1.55 a.m. And the sibling born ten minutes later would be recorded to have born at 1.05 a.m. In the spring there is a gap when no babies are born at all from 2.00 to 3.00 a.m.
As with the U.S., Great Britain had a checkered past with DST or Summer Time as it is known there. In the early part of the 20th century citizens protested at the change, using the slogan, “Give us back our stolen hour”!