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Archive for March 12th, 2011

Falling forward through time

March 12, 2011 @ 08:33 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

I had queued this up to be published yesterday morning, but decided that grumbling about losing an hour of sleep when Japan had just been hit by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake really wasn’t appropriate.

Time_vortex (red - forward)This is the weekend that we fall forward through time. Specifically, at 2am Sunday morning, everyone should set their clocks forward by an hour – unless you’re in Saskatchewan in which case you can stay asleep. That right – I’m  talking about changing to Daylight Saving Time.

The US Energy Policy Act of 2005 defines when most of the US switches its clocks forward and back in an attempt to maximize useful daylight hours save energy. Most of Canada changes its clocks at the same time to minimize the amount of chaos caused by this.

The province of Saskatchewan, along with little parts of British Columbia, Nunavut and Quebec, however, does not switch to daylight saving time, which really isn’t surprising given its agricultural heritage (translation: cows don’t understand daylight saving time). Apparently, the provincial government has been mulling holding a referendum to determine whether they would start switching to DST. According to a story in the Leader Post, they did some opinion polling and found that the majority of people are happy with the status quo, so they’re not going to hold a referendum and save the roughly $500,000 it would cost for something else. Good decision!

As I’ve mentioned before, there’s been no evidence that daylight saving time has resulted in the saving of a single watt of power. Australia tried to use it to offset power consumption during the 2000 Olympic games and found the demand did not decrease as a result.

Accidents also tend to go up in the days following setting the clock forward, probably because everyone’s a little sleep deprived while waiting for their circadian rhythms to adjust to the change in the clocks.