November 04, 2013

Daylight Saving (waste of) Time


Daylight Saving Time (no plural in the official name) in the U.S. now lasts from March to November. Seriously, why not just slap on the remaining four months and be done with it?

DST very much resembles a tax refund from the IRS. Enough people treat tax refunds like "found money" and Daylight Saving Time like "found time" that politicians have, for a half-dozen times since 1918, been able to pretend that something is actually being "saved."

Incidentally, a tax refund is just the principal returned on an interest-free loan to the government.

The 2007 DST revision screwed up my VCR clock, its programming based on the 1986 law. The VCR has since died and gone to appliance heaven, but I have enough manual clocks around to make it a big pain. Not to mention the havoc it plays on my circadian rhythms.

In Japan, DST is called "Summer Time." It was another one of those policies imposed on the population by General MacArthur and abandoned in 1951 when the American Occupation ended (along with giving typhoons names; meteorologists in Japan use numbers).

Japan covers 20 degrees of longitude in one time zone. With Tokyo (which means "eastern capital") situated at 140 degrees east and the outlying islands of Okinawa fifteen degrees to the west, for most Japanese the sun rises early in the morning year round.

You can always go on vacation to Okinawa and enjoy the long, warm evenings. Since proposals to institute "Summer Time" in Japan have so far gotten shot down in short order, the Japanese must prefer it that way.

So do I, although I'd settle for going off DST or staying on it. One way or the other. Permanently.

China, on the other hand, covers over 60 degrees of longitude and has one time zone and no DST. That's taking ruthless bureaucratic efficiency deep into the realms of the irrational, a practice China's oligarchs have been perfecting for a few thousand years.

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