Monday, October 31, 2005

Standard time

This "Resource of the Week" on ResourceShelf discusses so-called daylight saving time. I rise early in order to locate my commutes at times of low traffic. Most of the year my morning ride takes place in the dark. Without DST, I'd have many more weeks of morning light. Since I prefer light to dark, I'm not a fan of this time shift and am not at all pleased that it is to start earlier and end later beginning in 2006.

During my couple years in London there was concern about the dangers faced by school children going to school in the dark. I wonder why that's not an issue here.

Here's the piece on DST:
Resource of the Week
By Shirl Kennedy, Deputy Editor

It's getting to be that time of the year again here in most of the U.S. We'll be turning our clocks back one hour, on the last Sunday in October, which marks the end of Daylight Saving Time...until April 2, 2006, the first Sunday in April, when we set our clocks ahead one hour for another DST go-around. What the heck is this all about, anyhow? How did it start? Is it done in other countries? Check out this week's resource and become a fountain of information about Daylight Saving Time.

Dayline Saving Time (DST)
Source: Web Exhibits (Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement)
Daylight Saving Time
"The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called 'Summer Time' many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. Countries have different change dates." You probably already knew this, but maybe you didn't know...
+ This past August 5, President G.W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (PDF; 2.6 MB) which -- among its many other provisions -- moves up the start of DST to the second Sunday of March, and pushes the ending back the first Sunday of November. The Secretary of Energy will report to Congress regarding the impact of this on energy savings, and Congress reserves the right to revert back to the previous schedule.
+ "In the European Union, Summer Time begins and ends at 1 am Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time). It starts the last Sunday in March, and ends the last Sunday in October." Unlike in the United States, where each time zone switches over at the same time, all the EU time zones change simultaneously. Some counties -- mostly equatorial and tropical -- do not observe DST because the daylight hours are pretty much the same year round in the lower latitudes. But most other countries do, to one extent or another.
+ Benjamin Franklin is generally credited with the idea of DST in "a discourse on the thrift of natural versus artificial lighting," published as a letter to the authors of the Journal of Paris in 1784.
+ "Daylight Saving Time has been used in the United States and in many European countries since World War I." The Uniform Time Act of 1966 (15 U.S. Code Section 260a), signed into law by President L.B. Johnson, set the beginning of DST on the last Sunday of April and the end on the last Sunday of October.

Find out here who does and does not like DST and why, and read about its checked history, including a collection of interesting anecdotes contributed by Dr. David Prerau, author of Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time and our leading national expert on DST.

"The Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement (IDEA) is committed to enriching and informing lives through public service projects and the subsequent application of innovative, learning-based technologies." The WebExhibits site features an eclectic mix of science-oriented online exhibits such as Calendars Through the Ages, Causes of Colors, and Butter (which explores "the history and making of butter)." One presentation takes a look at Scientific Integrity in Policymaking; another examines Bogus Science, and presents you with seven warning signs.

For more information about Daylight Saving Time, see:
+ Saving Time, Saving Energy: Daylight Saving Time, Its History, and Why We Use It (California Energy Commission)
+ When Does Daylight Time Begin and End? (U.S. Naval Observatory)
+ Directive 2000/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 January 2001 on summer-time arrangements (EUR-Lex)

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