Yep, I've decided to take the plunge and start blogging. My plan is to post on a variety of things, prety much anything. For example, my first real blog post will be sort of political as it will be about Daylight Savings time.
So, welcome everyone (assuming that anyone but me ever comes here! ).
Now, on to my Rant of the Day: Daylight Savings Time!
I live in Arizona, and one of the things I love about Arizona is that we are not burdened by Daylight Savings Time. We don't have to change our clocks every spring and fall, and I love it. (note: on the Navajo Indian reservation, they do observe daylight savings time, though the rest of the state does not)
This begs the question: Why does anywhere bother with Daylight Savings Time? I can see some arguments for it, maybe, in more northern state where the Winter days are even shorter, but why have it anywhere in the Southern half of the country? We seem to get along just fine without it in Arizona, and the lack of it is exceedingly popular amongst residents.
The only issues that seem to ever arise are from occasional confusion with airline and train schedules, plus TV broadcasts on some stations, due to the rest of the nation changing its clocks twice a year. It can get slightly confusing when making long distance phone calls, too, but that is quite minor.
With DST, each year there is one 23 hour day and one 25 hour day, causing all kinds of headaches in scheduling, record keeping, etc.
The most laughable reason given in support of DST is that "the farmers need it". Evidently, anyone saying that has never asked a farmer about it! Farmers need to be up at daybreak, regardless of what the clocks say. It is of no use to them, and some hindrance: the changes serve to put them more out-of-sync with their communities (everyone else can change their schedules to the DST, but farmers cannot).
Fuel savings are often mentioned as a reason for DST, and played a role in the recent extension of DST by three weeks (beginning next year). The fuel savings are quite negligible, and could be vastly exceeded by common sense: for example, allow and encourage urban businesses, where practical, to vary their work hours to avoid rush hour traffic. Instead of 9-5, try 8-4, or 10-6. This has been done with some success in Phoenix, and it does alleviate some traffic congestion, which in turn saves on both fuel and air pollution (not to mention time, frustration, and lives).
The energy savings often quoted for DST are based on a reduced need for electric lighting by having sunset one hour "later" each day during DST. This did have some truth decades ago, but now is largely if not completely ofset by workers coming hom in summer closer to the hottest part of the day (and thus increasing the use of power-hungry air conditioners.)
If energy savings are the reason, a far better argument can be made for having DST year-round; no changing of the clocks. California is talking about this for that very reason. However, in California's case, a better argument can be made for terminating DST: their power crisis is a peak-load shortage, and that is exacerbated, not helped, by having people return home closer to the hottest part of the day. So, in essence, one could argue that California would be better off observing DST in winter, and not in summer, the opposite of the rest of the nation. Also, the latest boondoggle, the extension of DST a few weeks beginning next year, will raise trouble with all the devices that adjust the time based on date, and many will thus show the wrong time.
My position is that, given the costs and hassles of DST and changing the clocks, either adopt it year-round, or do away with it. Schools and businesses that need daylight are quite capable af adjusting their schedules rather than their clocks.