Sunday, April 02, 2006

Daylight Savings Time is Evil

DST is right up there in the top five of the things that make me cranky. It causes me and everyone else untold misery, with only imaginary benefits. It does illustrate one of the fundamental principles (OK, that's redundant) of democracy: a few loud obnoxious people can get their pet laws passed if it doesn't obviously disturb a great of people.

From the first Sunday in April (which comes rather early this year), the federal government, while having no authority to do so, dictates that we will pretend it is one hour later than it really is. Since schools and businesses kowtow, generally the rest of us peasants must as well.

So for seven months of the year, our clocks are set wrong. Noon comes at 13:00 (more or less). Midnight comes at 1:00 (ditto). So we are forced to get up an hour earlier than normal, leading to lack of sleep, and attendant consequences. It's always fun trying to convince younger children that they need to go to bed while it's nice and sunny, but most of the time, have to get up while it's dark to go to school. They know that's stupid by instinct. And who wants daylight at 22:00 anyway?

The justification for this massive disruption is that it saves energy. Well, I call bullshit. Perhaps there is a case for it in the summertime, when the sun comes up early enough that we can take advantage of extra daylight we'd otherwise sleep through. But getting up and going off to school and work in the dark obviously cancels out any benefit of an extra hour of daylight in the evening. Furthermore, for those conscientious people who cut back their air conditioning while they're out during the day, more energy is used, because they'll be at home during a hotter part of the day.

Even if getting up an hour earlier, and (presumably) going to bed an hour earlier was a good idea, the government has no business dictating it. And if they did, screwing with standard time is the stupid way to accomplish it. It causes a host of avoiable problems, with having to adjust your clocks, or forgetting to. It causes plenty of grief for computer users. Thanks to Microscoft for using local time for FAT file-systems, and UTC for NTFS. Every time the time changes, my files can no longer be synced with backups. My PDA has a totally half-assed DST implementation, so appointments get shifted by an hour. Its time-zone converter is completely screwed up during DST. And these problems are all paradoxes that cannot be solved to satisfy every requirement. Time measurement isn't supposed to be at the whim of idiot government officials. You know, once upon a time, some silly state legislature passed a law declaring that pi would be 3.

Well, I think I may just convert all my computers to stop observing DST. Hopefully I won't depend on them for knowing what time everyone else thinks it is.

Stop the madness! No more DST!


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