gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for March 10th, 2012

Warning: Impending sleep deprivation and increased accident rates

March 10, 2012 @ 13:05 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

Yup, it’s that time of year again. The time when we adjust our clocks forward by an hour. Unless, of course, you live in one of the more enlightened parts of the country like Saskatchewan, in which case carry on with whatever you were doing.

I, however, don’t live in Saskatchewan (or certain parts of Alberta, British Columbia, northwestern Ontario or Quebec), so come Sunday morning at 2am I’m going to set my clocks forward. (Actually, I’ll probably do it a little earlier because I hope to be asleep at 2am.) Fortunately, with the exception of my alarm clock, microwave and the little clock in my car, the various things that tell time in my life automatically adjust themselves when the clocks change.

Unfortunately, people don’t cope with time change quite so readily. This means that in the days immediately following the time change, there will be more accidents as a result of people being tired because their bodies haven’t adapted to the new schedule.

And given that the clocks are changed ostensibly to save energy, people are going to be disappointed because there’s never been any reliable proof that it has saved energy. Mostly, it just results in people shifting when they use the energy they’re using.

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. (But don’t tell Ken because he doesn’t want to hear about it!)

If you’re a *NIX system administrator you probably updated your systems a couple of years ago, but in case you haven’t you probably should take a look at this. The zdump command should give you something like this:

[gordon@seedling gordon]$ /usr/sbin/zdump -v /etc/localtime |grep 2012

/etc/localtime  Sun Mar 11 06:59:59 2012 UTC = Sun Mar 11 01:59:59 2012 EST isdst=0 gmtoff=-18000

/etc/localtime  Sun Mar 11 07:00:00 2012 UTC = Sun Mar 11 03:00:00 2012 EDT isdst=1 gmtoff=-14400

/etc/localtime  Sun Nov  4 05:59:59 2012 UTC = Sun Nov  4 01:59:59 2012 EDT isdst=1 gmtoff=-14400

/etc/localtime  Sun Nov  4 06:00:00 2012 UTC = Sun Nov  4 01:00:00 2012 EST isdst=0 gmtoff=-18000