Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daylight Wasting Time

I was recently thinking about how, a long time ago, I deduced that Daylight Saving Time is actually quite wasteful. So, I tried to go back and re-deduce my previous logic.
First of all, DST obviously doesn't change, in either direction, the amount of daylight that there is. The clouds don't part, the Earth's spin doesn't change, and Earth's sun doesn't brighten or dim based on how we've set our clocks.
Moreover, though, DST makes us have to deal with nighttime more. Think of it this way. Imagine that, on a certain day, sunrise would be at 0600. This is just to make the math simple. Let's say that you would wake up at 0600. In that case, you would get up at sunrise. But wait! What if it's DST? Well, we set our clocks 1 hour ahead. Now, sunrise is at 0700. If you're anybody besides a farmer (or hunter-gatherer), though, then your schedule isn't based on sunrise; it's based on the clock. So, if you're waking up at 0600, then you're waking up 1 hour before sunrise. This can be applied to any time, of course. If you'd get up at 0615 - 15 minutes after sunrise - then you'll get up at 0615 - 45 minutes before sunrise.
I noticed this back when I was going to school, since it increased the frequency and extent to which we would have to travel to school in the dark. Of course, this also affects teachers, bus drivers, and parents who have to get their kids ready for school. This also tends to affect anyone who works an 8-5 job, which is probably at least half of all workers.
I mentioned farmers, so I've probably gotten someone thinking "but DST was made for farmers!" Well, that doesn't really make sense. Farmers don't care what time the clocks say. Sunrise could happen at gobbledygook mcsquigglepants and it wouldn't matter.

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