Sunday, September 25, 2011

Underthinking Daylight Savings

So today is only 23 hours long, since in the spirit of spring cleaning we decided to do a tidy up and we decided 2am - 3am was just unnecessary clutter which we weren't really using anymore so we decided to get rid of them.
"Yeah, it's just some old clothes and the hours between 2-3am who needs those"

We do this every year, and then around autumn we realise we have made a mistake and we pull that hour out and have it twice in a row. So why do we do this? Where did this daylight saving idea come from? New Zealand's own George Vernon Hudson actually.

George Vernon Hudson - Father of Daylight saving, and by the looks of it a handy paper plane designer.
As well as designing paper planes, George was a keen entomologist in his spare time. An entomologist is a bug collector the problem George noticed was that after work there wasn't a lot of daylight for him to find bugs. There was plenty of daylight before work but who wants to go searching for bugs around breakfast.

"WTF! I was sleeping, I like eating bugs as much as the next person, but its 7am!"
So George figured we could just shift the hours of the day, so that those wasted daylight hours were in the evening instead of the morning. George originally proposed a 2 hour shift, I presume since you need a lot of time to find bugs.

It looks like a stick, you aren't going to find that in 5 mins.
At the same time independantly in England William Willett was getting sick of playing golf in the dusk so came up with the same conclusion as George.

William Willett - Nonchalant
So it was decided that to increase everyone's leisure time, and save on coal to adopt daylight savings. And everyone was happy and there were no problems. Actually there were problems, for one farmers weren't too impressed.

"Milking the cows in the morning light, do do do di di"

"What the hell?"
Yeah, by shifting the daylight to after work, it means the farmer is now milking the cows in the pitch black, other people were having issues with it too. Theatre owners struggle since its lighter later people are more likely to do outdoor activities than go to the theatre.

"Where are all my theatre patrons?"

"Guys want to go to theatre?"
"Nah screw that, BEACHBALL"

So not everyone is happy with this, which has lead to some problems, since not everyone has adapted the policy. This doesn't really affect us in NZ since we aren't in the same time zone as anyone. But in Australia for example NSW observes daylight saving and Queensland does not. Which must cause havoc in towns on the border. People from the New South Wales side must think the Queenslanders are lazy since they are always an hour late to meetings and the such. No wonder Queenslanders keep pummeling NSW, the NSWers are probably ready for bed, by the time the game starts.

"Has anyone seen the Queenslanders? They said be here at 8, I am sleepy"
So who is right? Well it really depends on if your a morning person or an evening person, a man of work or a man of leisure. There have been numerous studies from both sides of the arguments citing energy use, both increases and decreases. There are health risks associated with it, in fact the government of Kazakhstan abolished DST due to increased heart attacks.

"No more daylight savings. It is good Yes? Jenqui."
Daylight savings transitions also allow the battery cartels to sell us more batteries by reminding us that it might be time for new batteries in our smoke alarms, and since we don't want to be woken in the middle of the night with a flat battery, we change the battery irregardless of age because we can't remember if we did it last time or not.

"Did I change those batteries last time?"
"More Money, More Money, More Money"


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