Sunday, March 11, 2012

Life on the 43rd Parallel

It's almost 7:00PM on March 11 as I write, and it is still light out. This wholly unnatural situation is due to the early onset of Daylight Savings Time as mandated by Federal legislation. I don't think I like it.

Living half way between the equator, where the days are the same length all year round, and the North Pole, which enjoys six months of daylight and six months of night, I have gotten used to a certain predictability in the amount of daylight I can enjoy on any given date. Days and nights are of equal length on the equinoxes, the longest day is on the summer solstice and the shortest day is on the winter solstice. Congress cannot change those astronomical facts.

So why, I wonder, do they feel the need to mess around with the clock, dictating that daylight should last an hour later (note: NOT longer - they can't change that) during Daylight Savings Time than it does during Standard Time? Whose cockamamie idea was that, anyway? Oh, wait - wikipedia can answer that question:

G.V. Hudson invented modern DST, proposing it first in 1895. Modern DST was first proposed by the New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and led him to value after-hours daylight.[8] In 1895 he presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift,[26] and after considerable interest was expressed in Christchurch, New Zealand he followed up in an 1898 paper.[27] Many publications incorrectly credit DST's proposal to the prominent English builder and outdoorsman William Willett,[28] who independently conceived DST in 1905 during a pre-breakfast ride, when he observed with dismay how many Londoners slept through a large part of a summer's day.[29] An avid golfer, he also disliked cutting short his round at dusk.[30] His solution was to advance the clock during the summer months, a proposal he published two years later.[31]

So apparently we have a Kiwi bug collector and an English golfer to thank for this atrocity against nature. It figures. Goddam foreigners can't leave well enough alone.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose I shouldn't bitch about things without offering a solution, so here's what I propose to eliminate the need for DST in Maine (which is all I care about - the rest of the country can screw itself for all I care.) We should abandon the Eastern Time Zone, which goes all the way to Michigan for Crissake, and join our Canadian neighbors in the Atlantic Time Zone. Then we are an hour earlier year-round - problem solved.