gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


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.

The reason we’re turning the clocks back an hour tonight is because it sells more candy and sporting equipment. Seriously. (I don’t need to make this stuff up.)

From all the research I’ve read on the topic, daylight saving time hasn’t resulted in any reductions in energy consumption, which makes sense if you think about it. When the clocks change, you may not need to have your lights on as much in the morning, for example, but you’ll very likely find yourself turning them on earlier in the evening, resulting in a net savings of nothing. Plus accident rates in the week after the clocks change increase significantly, not to mention that it appears the chances of having a heart attack increases, too.

But change the clocks we do because you can’t really not change your clocks when everyone around you does, can you?

In any event, 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 2014

/etc/localtime  Sun Mar  9 06:59:59 2014 UTC = Sun Mar  9 01:59:59 2014 EST isdst=0 gmtoff=-18000

/etc/localtime  Sun Mar  9 07:00:00 2014 UTC = Sun Mar  9 03:00:00 2014 EDT isdst=1 gmtoff=-14400

/etc/localtime  Sun Nov  2 05:59:59 2014 UTC = Sun Nov  2 01:59:59 2014 EDT isdst=1 gmtoff=-14400

/etc/localtime  Sun Nov  2 06:00:00 2014 UTC = Sun Nov  2 01:00:00 2014 EST isdst=0 gmtoff=-18000


  1. gordon.dewis.ca | Falling backwards (October 31, 2015 @ 13:01)
  2. gordon.dewis.ca | Brace yourself: we’re changing the clocks again (November 05, 2016 @ 10:15)

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