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86 DST?
December 2, 2011 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Daylight Saving Time Explained - It is time to abolish DST? Russia did, and some Alaskans want to, while Indiana recently got on board (despite evidence that DST doesn't save energy), and Hawaii and Arizona just laugh. (previously (and more recently previously))
posted by mrgrimm (105 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Arizona? The same state that needed to be blackmailed into having the MLK holiday?

Yeah, you might want to pick a better role model for dissension.
posted by cjets at 12:44 PM on December 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Systems admin here - please let's kill DST.
posted by odinsdream at 12:45 PM on December 2, 2011 [25 favorites]


I'd make DST the new "normal" time, and then add another new DST right on top of it. I like my late sunsets.
posted by scrowdid at 12:47 PM on December 2, 2011 [24 favorites]


I'm all for making DST standard time - evening daylight is a wonderful thing.

... And I just nixed a massive paragraph about how this might be a detriment to folks in the southern hemisphere when I realized DST doesn't work like that.
posted by m@f at 12:47 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Beneath the veneer of "energy savings" it's said that DST boosts summer retail spending by providing more daylight after the workday. I wonder if there's anything to this. Is money is actually flowing from business groups to lobbyists to keep the status quo? If any industry sector is able to profit from DST, I'd wager we're going to remain on it.
posted by crapmatic at 12:47 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]



I love DST. An extra hour of sunlight while I'm in bed so I can drive home from work in the dark.

Fucking morning people can bit me.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:48 PM on December 2, 2011 [22 favorites]


I hate time changes. Mostly because I get tired of having to mentally subtract an hour from my car clock for six months out of the year.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:52 PM on December 2, 2011 [17 favorites]


In the winter, it is going to be dark when I get up and dark when I leave work DST or not. In the summer, it's going to be light at both those times. It doesn't seem to matter most of the year, except that it's very confusing when some of your devices change time and you don't know which.
posted by jeather at 12:52 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


cjets, not to derail, but being a native of Arizona and fully acknowledging that it is full of crazy racist fucks, you've got it backwards. The MLK holiday vote looked close but stood a decent chance of passing until about three days before the election, when the NFL said "pass it or we're taking away the Super Bowl" and Arizona unanimously said "FUCK YOU NOBODY TELLS US WHAT TO DO." Not very bright, no, but the blackmail was in the other direction.

Now that I live somewhere besides Arizona, permaDST all the way. Arizona can stay a time zone off if they like; they really don't need any more sun.
posted by darksasami at 12:53 PM on December 2, 2011


> Mostly because I get tired of having to mentally subtract an hour from my car clock for six months out of the year.

I do that with my house alarm system!

Also, Russia did away with them because there are just so many.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:54 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I saw a study, which I'm far too lazy on this Friday to Google, that after the recent USA DST change, it actually increased power usage. Since home AC is so common, people coming home in the summer "earlier" compared to the sunset would run their ACs cool and that more than offset the savings of having fewer lights on.

And, honestly, any suggestion to shift when "noon" is away from solar noon because you like your clock to lie to you to force you to get more sun light in the night is just feels wrong to me. As long as we're keeping our clocks synced to the sun (which is a whole other discussion), they should stay synced to the sun. I'm anything but a morning person, yet I realize that if I cared enough about daylight relative to my awake/sleep cycle, I should just make myself wake up earlier. And not depend on mass-enforced clock changes.

Daylight Saving was never a great idea when it was started, and now it's a horrible idea to keep around. From an IT perspective and knowing people who work at churches who have to deal with people getting to church at the wrong time twice a year. That's even besides the fact that time changes cause an increase in traffic fatalities.

So down with Daylight Saving, and up with Standard Time!
posted by skynxnex at 12:57 PM on December 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love the extra hour when we Fall Back. I hate the hour we lose in the Spring.

Clearly, we need to do away with the bad part of DST and keep the good. We should simply precess one hour per year.
posted by gurple at 1:00 PM on December 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


Oh please, oh please, oh please can we do away with the DST thing already! Pretty please. Polite language cannot describe how much I cannot stand it. The sun is up when the sun is up: deal with it.

When working I get up in the dark; I come home in the dark: I understand that not everyone works in an industry with hours like this, and notwithstanding that many people in many places have commutes which accomplish the same result vis a vis sunlight, it's just stupid. And it isn't just that first week of the "spring forward" nonsense: I'm not right for weeks (technically, months). I hate it, hate it, hate it.

Please somebody make it go away....
posted by cool breeze at 1:05 PM on December 2, 2011


Here at 60N latitude, the DST, or European Summer Time as we call it, is remarkably useless. By the time we switch to normal time in the end of October, daylight is already less than nine hours. And three weeks after the switch, daylight is about seven hours. In winter it's dark when you go to work and dark when you go home even if you work a regular 8 hours a day. So at best, DST is useful here at all for a couple of weeks in a year.
posted by ikalliom at 1:08 PM on December 2, 2011


Pogo_Fuzzybutt wrote: I love DST. An extra hour of sunlight while I'm in bed so I can drive home from work in the dark.

Fucking morning people can bit me


I am precisely the opposite of a morning person. I like waking up to daylight, personally. I don't get that during the winter, and it can be crappy.
posted by wierdo at 1:09 PM on December 2, 2011


I should clarify: I like DST, I want the hour in the evening instead of the morning year round because in the winter it makes the difference between me waking up when the sun is up and not.
posted by wierdo at 1:10 PM on December 2, 2011


Daylight Savings was described as lengthening a short blanket by cutting a foot off the top and sewing it to the bottom. In other words, nonsense.
posted by Cranberry at 1:11 PM on December 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


How about a compromise permanent half hour shift?
posted by Forktine at 1:11 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love the xzibit reference.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:12 PM on December 2, 2011


I always assumed the situation was as crapmatic describes above (boosting summer store visits). Maybe we still go off DST because holiday shoppers expect it to be dark when they shop (speculating here)?
posted by gubo at 1:12 PM on December 2, 2011


No wonder Hawaii and Alaska don't do it. They're so far down it probably doesn't make much difference anyway.

But I am with Pogo_Fuzzybutt on this. I don't really enjoy that hour of sunlight when I am going to work so much as I do when it's at the end of the day. I can see the POV of those who have issues waking up, but emerging from work to a full dark night feels like it's sucking the energy out of me and it feels harder to go out and do errands or whatever then. It's taking daylight away from MY time, and in the early morning I'm still stuck in "work" mode.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:14 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, Russia did away with them because there are just so many.

I just checked, wow 16 time zones. Russia is enormous.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:15 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Daylight Saving was never a great idea when it was started, and now it's a horrible idea to keep around. From an IT perspective and knowing people who work at churches who have to deal with people getting to church at the wrong time twice a year. That's even besides the fact that time changes cause an increase in traffic fatalities.

Yes. It's a completely dumb-ass idea. The only thing that really would actually make the slightest bit of sense would be to adjust open/close hours and move events, not time. Pretending like you can legally change what time it is is just ridiculous.
posted by odinsdream at 1:20 PM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


@charlie don't surf

Russia is a whopping 70% larger than the US and canada which are both roughly equal at 3rd and 2nd place area wise. But it looks 300% larger because its much farther north. Which is also why it has so many more timezones per sq/mile. They get much shorter up there.
posted by darkfred at 1:27 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Please, please, let us end that terrible, awful, never good, idea.

I can think of few things stupider than DST.

Not only is it disruptive and pointless, and a hassle for us in the computer field, it also (per some studies) increases accident rates for weeks after the change.

I'd vote for almost any politician who promised to end the stupidity of DST.
posted by sotonohito at 1:30 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


And, honestly, any suggestion to shift when "noon" is away from solar noon because you like your clock to lie to you to force you to get more sun light in the night is just feels wrong to me.

Yes, really! It just doesn't make any sense. I can't wait til we stop lying about what time it is.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:30 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


odinsdream, adjust business to account for environmental factors, that's unpossible
posted by beefetish at 1:31 PM on December 2, 2011


Burhanistan, thank you. I would have had to post that if you hadn't.
posted by jwest at 1:32 PM on December 2, 2011


I'm from Indiana. It's been 1959 here for as long as I can remember.
posted by pjern at 1:35 PM on December 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


My cat does not recognize DST, so it has little effect when he wakes me up for breakfasting.
posted by nomisxid at 1:39 PM on December 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sadly or not, local time already is adjusting away from of "true time" based on solarness, since time zones define a single time across a width of the globe. Timezones do attempt (but do fail) to keep any one spot from being more than an hour away from solar time. DST just breaks everything by at least an hour. Time zones do serve to reduce (so not every county/town/state/whatever having its own local time), rather than increase them as DST does, the number of time offsets we need, I'm all for them.

I have vague fantasies of the world moving over to UTC (I think I'm okay with leap-seconds, so we don't need to track TAI) and then different localities just know, kind of, how much off their sun is from UTC. But, I think it's slightly less likely than the US moving to the metric system...
posted by skynxnex at 1:39 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I live in New York. If there was no DST, in late June when the days are longest, sunset would be ~ 7:45PM instead of 8:45PM but the crack of dawn would be at like 3:45 AM instead of 4:45 AM.
Boston is a little more north but a good 200 miles more east. Yet in the same time zone, so I am guessing that sunset is 10 to 15 minutes earlier in Boston but sunrise is also 10 - 15 minutes earlier.


Frankly I think there should be more time zones! With all this computer interwebby stuff it wouldn't be that much of a headache. then most places would have the middle of the day closest to noon anyway. how about 48 time zones spaced by the 1/2 hour. The jump between time zones it too big.

I am 100% serious about this too.
posted by xetere at 1:40 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Systems admin here - please let's kill DST.

You should set the time zone on all your servers to UTC. Now. Yes, all code should be doing math in absolute time anyway but invariably there's bugs and oversights. If the system clock is UTC, things get better. The downside is you, the sysadmin, will be confused. Get a UTC clock on your wall / desktop.

Also random tip: if you're using software that doesn't let you pick UTC as a time zone, pick Reykjavik, Iceland. It's effectively UTC. Handy for all those "click on the map to tell us your time zone!" systems.
posted by Nelson at 1:46 PM on December 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Conversely, China has one timezone that spans 5 everywhere else.
posted by a non e mouse at 1:49 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]



I lived in Arizona for 15 years and while having it get dark at 4:30PM in the winter can be a bit weird, you get used to it. It's natural.

I hate DST and I want it to go away! The only thing it's good for is a reminder to change the batteries in the smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:50 PM on December 2, 2011


None of the above. If we are going to make a big change of an hour this is what we ought to do: merge Eastern standard into Central standard; merge Pacific standard into Mountain standard. This gives us (mainland United States) two zones instead of four and makes CA and NY only one hour apart instead of three. Also it makes daylight saving time a real problem for even more people than it is now.

My biggest problem with daylight saving time is the sun not rising until 7:30 A.M. on the 25th of October. I really do not like getting up in the dark any more than I have to. For millions of years the ape has been fashioned to wake up at sunrise.
posted by bukvich at 1:56 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


DST ROCKS and should be in effect all year around.
Dark at 5? Now that SUCKS. The worst day of the year is when DST ends and brings on gloom.

I don't care if I go to work, or work, in the dark. But having a little sun at the end of the working day? That's great. It should be required by law.
posted by cccorlew at 1:56 PM on December 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes, I just tracked down a bug that caused users in india to encounter random crashes when their local date was a different date than our servers in the US.

Use UTC in your apps! Storing local time in a database is bad for you!
posted by Ad hominem at 1:57 PM on December 2, 2011


Pittsburgh is pretty far west in the Eastern Time Zone so we're already 25 minutes later than the east coast and then with DST, we get sunsets in the Summer at almost 9 at night. I love that. There's nothing better than hanging out on the porch with an adult beverage and a book for a few hours after dinner.
posted by octothorpe at 1:57 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Depends completely on latitude. In Los Angeles, the time change is a bit novel, with few practical implications -- beyond a bit more time in the water.

In London, the sunset was about 16:00 today, for about seven and half hours of daylight. In June, the sunrise is at 4:45AM for a total of over sixteen hours of light.

If there was not a time shift, that would be a summer sunrise of 3:45AM or a winter sunset of 15:00. It makes sense to shift the time here, for on some days, we lose almost 4 minutes of day light per day.
posted by nickrussell at 1:57 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps it's time for Swatch time to make a resurgence. Though would meetings be any less odious if they were measured in beats rather than minutes? Probably not.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:01 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lighter Later Day is a recognized holiday in Casa Danf. If DST were abolished, we would have lost a very happy day out of our year.
posted by Danf at 2:08 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


You boil all this down and (from where I sit) this is really an "Are you a morning person or an evening person?!?" debate.

I love DST. An extra hour of sunlight while I'm in bed so I can drive home from work in the dark.

Fucking morning people can bite me
.

Which camp do you think I fall into?
posted by eggman at 2:09 PM on December 2, 2011


I go to work in the dark and go home in the dark with or without DST in winter, and have tons of daylight in the summer. I'm not sure why Alaska does it. However, Metlakatla, AK, does not. It also has chosen to follow it's own timezone, so, more power to them.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:11 PM on December 2, 2011


For millions of years the ape has been fashioned to wake up at sunrise.

Not this ape. Give me back my evening sun morning fascists.
posted by Popular Ethics at 2:11 PM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was interested to see that Reykjavik is effectively UTC. My first reaction was 'but that's way to the west of here!', and here on the east coast of Ireland noon is already about 25 minutes later than in Greenwich. So am I right in thinking that Iceland has chosen to apply DST all year round?
posted by Azara at 2:16 PM on December 2, 2011


I love DST. The change in light over the seasons is one of the few natural cycles that we don't just ignore or try to pretend doesn't exist -- we actually amplify it. Yay!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:17 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just wasted another 15 minutes of my life coding around the idiocy that is DST. I am importing timeseries data originating in a database where the time information is stored as one date value and one int for the hour, ranging from 1 to 25. Almost 50% of all the code that has anything to do with time values is there to support correct operation for one hour of every year.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:21 PM on December 2, 2011


Though would meetings be any less odious if they were measured in beats rather than minutes?

Depends on how the beating is delivered.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:23 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


knowing people who work at churches who have to deal with people getting to church at the wrong time twice a year.

The church workers! Won't somebody please think of the clergy?
posted by IvoShandor at 2:24 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm fine with getting rid of DST if we move Indiana to the Central time zone. Still light at 9:30 p.m. in the summer = awesome. Dark at 6:00 p.m. in the winter = sucks.

But most people are amateurs at arguing about DST compared to Hoosiers. I think for about 3 years after we went on DST, every single comment thread on every story on the Indianapolis Star website eventually turned into a DST debate, regardless of what the story was originally about. I especially love those who heap all the blame/praise on Gov. Daniels, never mind that both major-party gubernatorial candidates in the 2004 election promised to put the state on DST.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:24 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It makes sense to shift the time here, for on some days, we lose almost 4 minutes of day light per day.

It may make sense to shift the time, but the second half of your sentence makes no sense whatever. No light is gained or lost by resetting clocks.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:26 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who ever invented DST does not have children, or, they hate humanity.
posted by drezdn at 2:44 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


What, no mention of Saskatchewan?
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:46 PM on December 2, 2011


I saw a study, which I'm far too lazy on this Friday to Google, that after the recent USA DST change, it actually increased power usage.

Conveniently, this study is the topic of the 'links' in the 'post' you are commenting on.

Christ in a fucking bucket
posted by jacalata at 2:51 PM on December 2, 2011


Yet another tzdata update.
posted by benzenedream at 3:09 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think DST is a farce, but would much prefer if we could apply it as the new normal time all year long, instead of abolishing it completely. I really don't mind going to work in the dark, because it wasn't going to be happy fun time anyway; I'm going to work. But having an extra hour of daylight in the winter evenings? That would change my life for the better.

4:30 sunsets are bad for the soul.
posted by malapropist at 3:29 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd love to get rid of DST. I've always lived closer to the equator and/or smack dab in the middle of a time zone so it is an annoyance.

But if we're stuck with DST, it would be great if the world could get together and settle on single days to make the switch back and forth.

I'd also for the United States, Burma and Liberia to get on the fucking metric system. But I'm not enthusiastic about the US making the switch any time soon.

Also: Get your hoe ready!
posted by birdherder at 3:38 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


If there was not a time shift, that would be a summer sunrise of 3:45AM or a winter sunset of 15:00. It makes sense to shift the time here, for on some days, we lose almost 4 minutes of day light per day
I'm in the UK too and it makes absolutely no difference to me whether the sun rises at 3:45AM or 4:45AM (I'm asleep either way) and likewise no difference whether the sun sets at 3PM or 4PM (I still leave work in the dark, it's still a miserable time of year). Scrap it.
posted by dickasso at 3:59 PM on December 2, 2011


Like many others, I'm in favor of DST as the new standard time. Growing up at about 54N, we all thought it was bafflingly inexplicable why anyone wanted more light in the evenings in the summer. All we had was fucking light in the evenings in the summer -- so much so that while the sun would -- eventually -- set, it never really got dark overnight near the solstice.

Now, would we have preferred not to have the sun set at 3:30 in the afternoon in the winter? You bet.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:00 PM on December 2, 2011


I hate the time change. This time of year feels like a long dark tunnel...
posted by limeonaire at 4:01 PM on December 2, 2011


The thing I hate most about DST is the way it fades the curtains.
posted by Fnarf at 4:04 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


but would much prefer if we could apply it as the new normal time all year long,

This might be anecdotal, but I've noticed small changes with the extra few weeks of DST was added in Canada, like the Tim Hortons has started serving their breakfast muffins until noon instead of until 11 like before, more places like banks have been adding later hours, some people I know who own shops won't open them till 10 since they're staying open later in the evening, friends want to meet for lunch later on the weekend.

Humans have a circadian rhythm, so if we shift the clocks forward all year round, wouldn't those circadian rhythms that have resulted in school and work to starting around 8:00 put a subconscious pressure to start scheduling things later and eventually we start associating 1:00 with lunch time and 5:30 sunsets seeming bad for the soul? I think when you shifted back part of the year kept people from adjusting permanently off by an hour, but if it was all year round we'd eventually think of each hour as feeling earlier than it really is.

I don't care for DST. Personally I think getting up on at 1000 UCT, in Toronto, sucks, and calling it 6 or even 7 (double DST) instead of 5 doesn't make me feel any better.
posted by bobo123 at 4:12 PM on December 2, 2011


jacalata: Christ in a fucking bucket

Uh, yeah. I managed to just very quickly skim some of the links before commenting since I ended up being more rushed than I meant. And, and since I know about this topic some already I went ahead and commented. Sorry about that!

IvoShandor: The church workers! Won't somebody please think of the clergy?

I wasn't actually attempting to make an appeal to the meaningfulness/authority of religion, nor even talking about clergy since it doesn't really bother them (in my experiences). It does, however, cause extra, pointless work for support staff attempting to minimize the disruption of bleary families arriving an hour early or late--in churches that meet on Sunday morning.
posted by skynxnex at 4:20 PM on December 2, 2011


Daylight Stupid Time.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:32 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fucking morning people can bit me.
---
You boil all this down and (from where I sit) this is really an "Are you a morning person or an evening person?!?" debate.
---
Give me back my evening sun morning fascists.


I have become a bona fide morning person, and I agree that Lighter Later is unquestionably better. I can go for a run in the morning, in the dark, while the rest of you bums are still drooling into your pillows, and it is absolutely wonderful. The best time of the day! I can run in the street, which is more likely to be flat, even, obstacle-free, and even softer than any given sidewalk. There are very few better ways to start a day than with several miles already behind you as the sun comes up. Evening running has its pleasures too, but even when it's light outside it can be dangerous just to cross the street, let alone run in it. Darkness can make it downright suicidal. I'd make it dark in the morning and light in the evening every single day of the year if I could.
posted by Balonious Assault at 4:34 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing I hate about Daylight Saving Time is that it's in effect in the part of the year when we have plenty of daylight. It'd be more intuitive if we started saving daylight in the fall, when the days start getting noticably shorter, but instead it starts in the spring, when they days are getting noticably longer. "Summer Time" is a more accurate term.

And another thing: it'd be nice if all of the clocks, microwaves, DVRs, and other gizmos would all just automatically reset instead of me having to set them manually.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:40 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


sotonohito wrote: Not only is it disruptive and pointless, and a hassle for us in the computer field

Changes to the rule are a hassle, not the rule itself.
posted by wierdo at 5:26 PM on December 2, 2011


Nelson wrote: Get a UTC clock on your wall / desktop.

Is it really that hard to subtract 5-9 hours from UTC to get local time? (presuming you're in the mainland US)

Linux and other Unices handle this perfectly fine. The system clock runs in UTC, its default (display) time zone is set to whatever is most convenient for reading logs, probably the owner's home time zone, and individual users can set their TZ to whatever works best for them.

I thought Microsoft had finally fixed Windows' timezone handling recently.
posted by wierdo at 5:32 PM on December 2, 2011


I grew up in AZ and at middle age I’m still not used to DST. In ATL it’s still light in the summer well after 9:00. It’s weird when you want to go to the store and realize they’re all closed for the evening even though it’s still daylight. It screws with my head.
posted by bongo_x at 5:35 PM on December 2, 2011


What time is it, Shadoe Stevens?

IT'S TIME FOR THE BIG CASH PRIZE!!

Iceland is in the North Atlantic. Its capital city is Reykjavik...
posted by radiosilents at 6:38 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it really that hard to subtract 5-9 hours from UTC to get local time?

No, but it's hard to remember to subtract 8 hours half the year and 9 hours the other half. And it's a bit counterintuitive around 02:00Z. I find it helps a lot to have the numbers in front of my face so I don't have to convert.

The system clock runs in UTC, its default (display) time zone is set to whatever is most convenient for reading logs

And then some dumb-ass code logs a localized time stamp in the system's local time zone and later on you try to parse it and oh god pretty soon the burning searing pain.
posted by Nelson at 7:00 PM on December 2, 2011


I'd make DST the new "normal" time, and then add another new DST right on top of it. I like my late sunsets.--scrowdid

Well, they actually did this in the US during the Nixon administration (yeah, I'm old). And back then most kids walked or rode their bikes to school. Which meant that we did this in complete darkness in winter when DST didn't go away. It was pretty scary doing this when drivers were rushing to work while still trying to wake up.

Several children got run over, so they cancelled the experiment.
posted by eye of newt at 10:00 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Um, Russia did not abolish DST, they abolished standard time, and plan to keep DST permanently.

They recognize that DST is awesome.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:27 AM on December 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


And, honestly, any suggestion to shift when "noon" is away from solar noon because you like your clock to lie to you to force you to get more sun light in the night is just feels wrong to me.

The Eastern time zone stretches from Maine to Ohio, so there are already significant stretches that don't have clock noon close to solar noon, so all DST is doing is changing which areas have clock noon near solar noon.
posted by 6550 at 2:54 AM on December 3, 2011


Hell, and it's just worse in eastern Quebec.
posted by 6550 at 2:56 AM on December 3, 2011


"Well, they actually did this in the US during the Nixon administration (yeah, I'm old). And back then most kids walked or rode their bikes to school. Which meant that we did this in complete darkness in winter when DST didn't go away. It was pretty scary doing this when drivers were rushing to work while still trying to wake up.

Several children got run over, so they cancelled the experiment."


It was an energy-saving thing during the 1973 oil crisis. They didn't add "another new DST right on top of it," they just never ended DST that winter. I don't think canceling it had anything to do with kids getting run over. I was 8 and waited for the bus in the dark every day, but it wasn't scary. There were tons of kids out there with me.

Growing up in Seattle, at 47N, there were several weeks every winter when we always had to walk to school in the dark even with standard time, so, honestly, it didn't matter.

Give me permanent DST anytime. More light after school/work when people can actually enjoy it, I say. Seeing the sky still light at 9 p.m. is one of the joys of a Seattle summer. Seeing the sun set at 4:15 in December.... not very joyous.

(To which I add -- why don't we leave the Christmas lights up around here until, say, March? If there is any time in which Seattleites need to be cheered up by lights it is January/February, when the days are still too short and it is dark and grey outside every. single. day.)
posted by litlnemo at 3:26 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any ideal replacement to DST needs to be set up so that sunset is at 8:30p, year-round. If that means sunrise is at 11:20a around the solstice, well... I think I'm okay with that.

YMMV.
posted by Golfhaus at 7:44 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ughhghg, DST is the worst. It's not so much an extra hour of sunlight as it is an extra hour of waiting for the sun to go down so I can do stuff that people do at night.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:05 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any ideal replacement to DST needs to be set up so that sunset is at 8:30p, year-round.

That is of course how timekeeping used to work: noon was when the sun was directly overhead. The problem is that time is different in every location, so when it's noon in San Francisco it's 12:07 in LA or whatever. Standardized time zones came when railroads required consistent timekeeping to make schedules (and trains travelled fast enough to transport local time long distances). See also Riyadh Solar Time, a modern attempt to try to make time zone offsets vary by day.
posted by Nelson at 8:11 AM on December 3, 2011


I am not a morning person, so the worst two weeks of the year for me are the last two weeks of DST when I am riding my bike to the train station at 6:15 in utter blackness. When we switch to real time, at least there's a hint of grey to the black that makes it more bearable. Of course it keeps getting darker, but then school is out this week and December 21 comes around and I can tell myself that the days are getting longer. I would love to see DST go away.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:11 AM on December 3, 2011


It was an energy-saving thing during the 1973 oil crisis. They didn't add "another new DST right on top of it," they just never ended DST that winter. I don't think canceling it had anything to do with kids getting run over.

I was there too, walking to school (not waiting for a bus) and I remember some close calls. And kids getting run over was in the headlines, which made the whole idea a political hot potato. They didn't give that as a reason for cancelling it, but it definitely made it near political suicide to continue supporting it.
posted by eye of newt at 10:27 AM on December 3, 2011


You should set the time zone on all your servers to UTC. Now. Yes, all code should be doing math in absolute time anyway but invariably there's bugs and oversights. If the system clock is UTC, things get better. The downside is you, the sysadmin, will be confused. Get a UTC clock on your wall / desktop.

Do you seriously think I don't have servers set to UTC? Really?

The whole problem is with displaying time to the user. We have people recording data in one state, and people reviewing data in other states. This gets to be a fucking mess real quick, and DST complicates it even further:

User A performs action in Standard time in New York. User B reviews User A's action months later in DST, but in California.

Asking users to just review stuff in UTC is a nightmare.
posted by odinsdream at 11:53 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what's the problem? Either force the display end of things to a single time zone or always use the user's local time as makes sense for your particular application. I don't get what is so confusing?
posted by wierdo at 11:58 AM on December 3, 2011


It's confusing for users because of the lack of understanding of daylight savings time and standard time, when they start and end, and which areas don't observe it. The display can't be in a single time zone because users are spread across the globe.
posted by odinsdream at 12:07 PM on December 3, 2011


Withdrawing in disgust is not the same thing as apathy.
Time doesn't exist.
posted by fikri at 1:24 PM on December 3, 2011


odinsdream wrote: The display can't be in a single time zone because users are spread across the globe.

The display can indeed be in a single time zone no matter where the users are. Depending on your data set, that may or may not make the most sense. Maybe I just don't understand the data you're collecting, because in my experience one of UTC, the user's time zone, or the time zone the data was originally collected in will be appropriate, and all are equally easy to use as a display format in every language I've programmed in. (which does not include RPG or FORTRAN, so maybe that's my problem)
posted by wierdo at 1:33 PM on December 3, 2011


wierdo,

I'm not going to re-hash an argument about our internal systems and how our users are confused by time zones and DST/Standard here. It's a fact that they are. It's unclear why I'd make that up.
posted by odinsdream at 3:05 PM on December 3, 2011


Those of us that aren't using metric should all go metric, and everyone should just use UTC. The world would be a simpler place.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 6:35 PM on December 3, 2011


They recognize that DST is awesome.

It occurs to me that I don't actually care what time they call it when the sun goes up or what time they call it when noon happens or what time they call it when the sun goes down.

Just quit fucking with whatever the fuck time it is that I have to get up to get to work "on time".
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:43 PM on December 3, 2011


Another vote for making DST Standard Time. Who cares if it's dark in the morning; you're just going to work. Getting home and still having hours of daylight to do stuff is wonderful.
posted by deborah at 11:14 PM on December 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


odinsdream wrote: It's a fact that they are. It's unclear why I'd make that up.

I in no way accused you of making anything up. I only contend that it is possible and not even terribly difficult (at least for the applications I've had to write) to solve the time zone "problem". As I said earlier, I don't know what you're doing, so maybe there is a complication I have yet to encounter.
posted by wierdo at 11:33 PM on December 3, 2011


Weirdo: you aren't a sysadmin or network engineer are you? From your posts it appears you deal with application and database programming.

Imagine managing a global VoIP/UM system where your users expect to see local time and I think you'll see the problems.
posted by roboton666 at 3:15 AM on December 4, 2011


Perhaps it's time for Swatch time to make a resurgence

Thanks for reintroducing me to that. I completely missed Swatch time the first go around. Neat! (doomed, but neat).
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:22 AM on December 4, 2011


I used to have the Swatch time ticker running in the dock/bar/whatever Windows 95 used to have.
posted by bongo_x at 9:50 AM on December 4, 2011


roboton666 wrote:
Imagine managing a global VoIP/UM system where your users expect to see local time and I think you'll see the problems.


I actually do (I do a lot of things), although "global" is only three countries and 5 different time zones. I'm still not getting the confusion. Users expect the system to read stuff out to them in their home time zone. CDRs are in UTC, but since I'm the only one who reviews them and all the users are in the Americas (as in North and South), perhaps there's more confusion to be had than I would expect in a larger system.
posted by wierdo at 11:54 AM on December 4, 2011


Alice leaves Bob a voicemail at 8:00 AM EDT.

Bob checks his voicemail at 4:00 PM PST.

Since Bob is in Standard time and Alice is in Daylight Savings time, it's confusing for Bob to be sure whether the message was left at the very beginning of Alice's workday, or an hour before work began.

I've probably fucked it all up in trying to explain it.
posted by odinsdream at 12:26 PM on December 4, 2011


I see what you're saying now. If I had a user that confused by time zones, I'd set their account to use the local time the message was sent from. If I had 10,000 users, that would definitely be harder to manage, because not all my users would be pleased with that.
posted by wierdo at 12:53 PM on December 4, 2011


Oh, that's just the beginning of the edge cases you can get into.

If you are dealing with trans-Pacific communications then you have the International Date Line, which makes things even more prone to error.

In general, there are human as well as technological factors that feed into localization: by encouraging people to use local, rather than coordinated time, it forces everyone to perform internal calculations just in the normal course of business. This is bad enough with the current timezone system, but would be even worse with true local solar time. "John said he'd call me at 1PM ... but where is John? Oh, I think he's in Buffalo today. That's 4 minutes fast of New York... so I guess I have enough time to take a leak..." How many times a day and for how many places do we want to do that? Probably not many. Or how much extra time expressing what's effectively a timezone with each statement of time? ("I'll call you at 1PM New York.") And it really gets fun calculating intervals. Ugh.

The whole reason we moved to timezones, halfassed as they are, was to get rid of true local time because it made commerce difficult. The railroads wanted a consistent time system for coordinating activities over long distances, and the need for that has increased rather than decreased since. If anything, we are beginning to run into the limitations of the current 1-hour timezones, just as the railroads in the 19th century ran into the limitations of local solar time. (And those limitations still hold.)

There are already some workplaces that have a "local time" that's out of sync with the statute time in the area where they're located — some overseas callcenters localize themselves for timekeeping purposes to wherever they take inbound calls from. I know of some companies here in the U.S. that try, with varying degrees of success, to force satellite offices to use the same timezone as the parent office.

I don't see any way of returning back to local solar time, and really no driving force that would motivate it. As transportation costs increase, I suspect that geographically distributed workplaces are going to become more common, and with them the need to coordinate activities in a locality-agnostic manner. Being connected to local solar noon might be nice, but I can't imagine that it will ever outweigh the benefits of widespread, standardized time.

Though I wouldn't mind a policy of always taking lunch at true local solar noon every day, the hell with statute time — it'd be sunnier and you'd probably avoid the long line at the good places.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:28 PM on December 4, 2011


(Also, Buffalo is ~four minutes behind New York, based on mean solar time. I didn't even get it right and I was looking at an atlas.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:30 PM on December 4, 2011


A couple months back, I was looking at a chart of planetary inclinations showing such info as when Venus rises and sets over the course of the year. The first thing I noticed was the two discontinuities--springing forward and falling back--but then I noticed that DST takes up most of the year. So-called Standard Time has become the minority of the calendar.

My crackpot proposal is two part:
  1. Every mechanical timekeeper is set to UTC year-round and world-wide, and kept out of human view as much as possible.
  2. People actually live their life according to sunrise, local noon, and sunset.
For example, instead of 9am to 5pm, we all agree that the workday begins at 2pd (post dawn) and continues to 4as (before sunset). Of course we'd then need everybody to be cool with workdays growing and shrinking with the seasons, just for starters.

Yeah, it's totally unworkable but fun to unpack all of the issues which separate the quotidian from the astronomical and circadian.
posted by whuppy at 9:06 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate DST. I prefer the dark. I am an evening person.

And if you disagree with me, you are wrong.
posted by grubi at 12:48 PM on December 5, 2011


Lots of businesses in touristy areas have "summer hours" and "winter hours". It's not really that hard to manage, if you wanted to shorten the business day in the winter. (Although for various non-solar-day reasons you might not want to, e.g. retail businesses in the runup to Christmas might keep "summer" hours until Jan 1 or something.)

Just seems like it'd be better to let individual businesses decide rather than trying to do it wholesale by fiat, by just telling everyone to fudge their clocks forwards or back.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:02 PM on December 5, 2011


The Navaho reservation in Arizona does DST. You need to know where the borders are to know what time it is. Bit confusing when I was visiting, but I grew up near Indiana, so I'm used to the time changing every 3 miles.

Also, how can no one have mentioned Newfoundland yet?
posted by QIbHom at 7:42 AM on December 6, 2011


For example, instead of 9am to 5pm, we all agree that the workday begins at 2pd (post dawn) and continues to 4as (before sunset). Of course we'd then need everybody to be cool with workdays growing and shrinking with the seasons, just for starters.
Nah. Agree that work runs from noon minus four hours and goes to noon plus four hours.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:09 PM on December 10, 2011


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