Saturday, November 6, 2010

Daylight Saving Time Continues to Remain a Mystery To Me

Have you ever wondered why we change our clocks twice a year?

This has always been a mystery to me.

I seem to recall that daylight saving time somehow saves money and reduces consumption of energy. For me, it has always been a struggle with my biological makeup. I seem to take longer than most to adjust to the loss/gain of one hour.

Originally Benjamin Franklin's idea, Daylight Saving Time is a little bit different everywhere it is practiced and has been controversial since its introduction. It has two main purposes: to increase evening daytime hours for outdoor leisure activities and to save on energy consumption.

Benjamin Franklin first conceived the idea that would become DLT during a 1784 post as an American delegate in Paris. It was similar to his oft quoted maxim, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Half-jokingly, Franklin suggested that Parisians shift their sleep schedules an hour back in order to save on candles in the evening. He did not suggest changing the clock and it was not until World War I, in 1916, when several countries in Europe that had initially rejected the idea adopted it.

Spring forward...Fall back....

It's ingrained in our consciousness almost as much as the A-B-C’s. Yet in those four words is a whole collection of trivia, facts and common sense about Daylight Saving Time.

DLT - for the U.S. and its territories - is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and by most of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona).

It is difficult to predict what will happen with Daylight Saving Time in the future. Many countries change the date and they desire to change the time due to special events or conditions. The United States, Canada and some other countries extended DST in 2007. The new start date is the second Sunday in March through to the first Sunday in November.

Daylight Saving Time statistics for 2010:

Daylight saving time in most of the United States ends this at 2 a.m., local time, on Sunday, November 7.

Contrary to popular belief, no federal rule mandates that U.S. states or territories observe daylight saving time.

To add to the confusion:

We also have the International Date Line, abbreviated as the IDL; this is an imaginary line, which runs roughly along the 180-degree line of longitude, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

International convention accepts the IDL as the location where one day rolls over to the next, with the area east of the IDL one day ahead of the west. The line is necessary to address certain oddities which occur during travel: people going all the way around the world perceive themselves either gaining or losing a day, depending on which direction they traveled in, as happened to Magellan on his first voyage.

I recall, while travelling to India on a plane over the Pacific Ocean, the Pilot announced, "We have just lost one day as we travel over the International Date Line."

We went from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon in a blink of an eye. Hey, I wanted that day! How will I ever know what wonderful things could have happened on my lost day? Later, when I returned home they 'said' that they returned it to me but I have never quite believed that. Where did it go? What did I do? Now I ask you, would you voluntarily give away a day of your life? Of course not :-)


If you are interested in changing DST, either abolishing it or having it extended year-round contact your state's elected officials or your Congressional representatives. You can also contact the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

Final observations:

Daylight Saving Time differs in other areas of the world. To further complicate it, India makes their change difference 1-½ hours and Chatham Island New Zealand has a 1-3/4 hours time difference. It is amazing that the countries around the world can keep up with so many variations of what appears to be a vague promise of energy consumption.

Do you think when the world was created that there was ever such a plan regarding 'time' predicted for the future?

I find this website very helpful when I need to know what the time and weather is in almost every corner of the globe.


Tonight when we hear the news bulletins reminding us to put our clocks back one hour – don’t ask questions - just do it!

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