gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon

Subscribe

Archive for the ‘Astronomy’

Spring forward, lose some sleep

March 12, 2016 @ 22:20 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

Time_vortex-red-forward.jpgHey, it’s mid-March, so that means it’s time to move the clocks forward in a futile attempt to save energy. Or so they say. As I’ve mentioned in previous years’ versions of this post, daylight save time hasn’t been shown to actually save energy.

What it has been shown to result in is an increase in accidents because people are discombobulated by the change in their sleep pattern, much like being jet lagged, and a 10% increase the likelihood that you’ll experience a heart attack during the days immediately following the time change. And you’ll probably feel a bit jet lagged, too. I’m really not convinced it’s worth it. (more…)

Falling backwards

October 31, 2015 @ 13:00 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

800px-Vortex_back.jpgHere we go again… rolling the clocks back an hour earlier at 02:00 Eastern Sunday morning under the pretence of saving energy. Read this to find out why it’s pointless.

(more…)

Springing forward: Sleep deprivation, accidents, and heart attacks

March 07, 2015 @ 18:49 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

Time_vortex-red-forward.jpgIt’s that time of year, again. It’s time to change the clocks for daylight saving time.

This evening most of North America sets its clocks forward an hour in a vain attempt to save energy. I say vain attempt because there hasn’t been any sound evidence that adjusting the clocks to chase the sunshine has actually resulted in any reduction in the demand for energy.

CBC had an article this morning that talks a little bit about the history of daylight saving time, and then points out that sleep experts say that many people who make the change will feel sleep deprived and probably take two or three days to fully adapt. If you’re already sleep deprived, well, good luck! As I mentioned last year, your risk of experiencing a heart attack goes up by 10% for the first couple of days, and you’re more likely to be in an accident.

(more…)

Time for the semi-annual silliness

November 01, 2014 @ 21:33 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

800px-Vortex_back.jpgSunday is the first Sunday in November. That means that most of North America will be turning their clocks backward by an hour at 2am (or whenever they remember).

“Why?” you might ask.

Very good question!

If you were to ask most people why we’re turning the clocks back the answer you get will probably be something like “because it saves energy”, “because it gives us more sunlight in the {morning|evening}”, or “because it helps the farmers”.

All good explanations, but all of them are wrong. The real reason will probably surprise you. (more…)

Springing forward: Lose some sleep, increase your risk of a heart attack

March 08, 2014 @ 23:06 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

Time_vortex-red-forward.jpgHey… can you believe it? I almost forgot to post my semi-annual rant about having to change to daylight saving time. Fortunately for you, I remembered. 🙂

This evening most of North America sets its clocks forward an hour in a vain attempt to save energy. I say vain attempt because there hasn’t been any sound evidence that adjusting the clocks to chase the sunshine has actually resulted in any reduction in the demand for energy. There is, however, evidence that shows an increase in accidents in the days immediately following the switch.

Research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham published a couple of days ago reveals that there is a 10% increase in the risk of having a heart attack on the Monday and Tuesday following the time change in March. (The risk decreases by about 10% for a couple of days when the clocks are set back an hour in the fall.)

If you want to learn more about the history of daylight saving time, check out David Prerau’s book Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time (hardcover: 1560256559; softcover: 1560257962). It’s actually more interesting than it sounds. (more…)

Springing forward: Lose some sleep, increase your risk of an accident

March 09, 2013 @ 22:25 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

I almost forgot about it, but fortunately someone (Thanks, Ken!) reminded me earlier this week: This is the weekend that we set our clocks forward an hour (unless you live in Saskatchewan in which case don’t worry about it). As I’ve mentioned once or twice in the past, there isn’t any reliable evidence that daylight saving time has resulted in energy savings (ever) and there is research that shows an increase in accidents in the days immediately following the switch.

(more…)

The weather forecast for tomorrow morning ends at 12Z and the Mayan calendar says EOW at 11:11Z. Hmmm…

December 20, 2012 @ 12:16 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Weather

I was checking out the aviation forecast for Ottawa and saw this:

TAF CYOW 201438Z 2015/2112 31006KT P6SM FEW030 TEMPO 2015/2022 BKN030 BECMG 2016/2018 06005KT
FM202200 06012KT P6SM FEW015 OVC090
FM210200 08015G25KT 4SM -SN BKN030 OVC070
FM210500 08015G25KT 1SM -SN BLSN OVC010 PROB40 2105/2107 3SM -FZRA BR
FM210700 08015G25KT 1/2SM SN BLSN VV005 PROB30 2107/2110 2SM -PLSN -FZRA BR
FM211000 07018G28KT 1/4SM +SN BLSN VV002
RMK NXT FCST BY 201800Z=

Apart from the fact that it’s fairly disgusting weather in general with gusting winds, snow, blowing snow and the possibility of freezing rain and snow pellets, it also shows that it’s supposed to be very windy with excessive amounts of snow and blowing snow starting at 1100UTC, which you can see in red.

The Mayan calendar purportedly indicates that the world is supposed to end at 11:11UTC tomorrow morning and the forecast period doesn’t extend past 12:00UTC tomorrow morning (highlighted in fuchia). Coincidence or proof? (Hint: It’s a coincidence.)