Let’s keep changing the clocks
Helio, there. Depending on what time you read this and whether you do it on or near the day of publication, there will have been approximately 25 rotations of the Earth on its axis since an unusually aligned US Senate approved the time of publication. was permanent from 2023. , assuming you follow the Gregorian calendar, which you probably do, because the majority of the world does, just like the majority of the world uses, you know, the metric system.
Since then, several words have been spoken on the subject, many of them expressing delighted joy at the prospect of later light all year, and many more – including those of the editorial board of this journal , of which in this case I am a member as a setback — encouraging the United States House to be more deliberating than the Senate was (huh!) and consider making standard time permanent instead.
There have been too few arguments to leave well enough alone.
Despite my inability to approach the subject with complete and terrible seriousness, I plead my case with the warmth of a thousand burning suns. Changing the clocks twice a year gives most of us, but especially those of us in northern latitudes like Minnesota, the best of all possible worlds. And change if we change the clocks will affect us all.
It is true that many people consider that jumping forward and backward is too great an inconvenience to bear. I can see him. I don’t manage my house clocks so much as I do mental conversions for half the year. I also have to correct the idiosyncrasies of each clock. If I really need to know the exact time, I can check my phone, while fondly remembering the days when you first had to dial a number. (You can still do that if you really want to, at 202-762-1401.)
We also hear a lot about circadian rhythms in our body aligning with day and night patterns. I guess most people are. Mine are not. My body wants to go to bed late and sleep late, so my preferred method of timing would be to physically reverse the Earth’s rotation – with levers and pulleys or whatever – by two hours each day at sunrise, whenever sunrise sunshine is wherever I am.
Of course, I share the planet with the rest of you, so my plan is unworkable – despite the obvious brilliance of the levers and pulleys thing – and I have to adapt. As a result, an alarm on my phone shocks me every morning at the exact moment I failed to meet my obligations. Unlike the singer of The Bangles’ song “Manic Monday” written by Prince, who sets the alarm at 6 a.m. so she can possibly get to work at 9 a.m., I cut her as close as possible. (Fortunately, there are no real or perceived children in the household that I am responsible for caring for and feeding.)
After trying various alarms and finding them alarming, I now wake up to a Simple Minds song. No, not that one. Forget that one. Rather, to one that starts soothingly, with pulsing synths until the 17th second, when the drums kick in and scare me, after which I can’t say anything in spirit for 20 minutes or more.
But you wonder when I could come back to the subject in question, so let’s move on to the following questions:
- If we have permanent standard time in Minnesota, the sun will rise around 4:30 a.m. in June, with civil twilight at 3:50 a.m., and set at 8 p.m. I don’t know how many people aren’t on the clock up and active early in the morning. Certainly some. Not me, I just went to bed. But I see plenty of people doing plenty of activities (and not just golf, a sport that manages to be both popular and pejorative) during the late summer evenings we currently enjoy. Is the compromise useful to the majority?
- If we have permanent daylight saving time in Minnesota, the sun will not rise until 8:50 a.m. in December. Most of us will wake up in the blue-black cold (words of poet Robert Hayden) as we do now, but more of us will walk to work or school in that same lingering darkness, in order to gain an hour of declining light at the end of the afternoon. . Again, is the compromise worth it for the majority?
Maybe, but I was a freshman at Prior Lake in 1974, when we had previously run an experiment with DST in the dead of winter. And at various times in my life, I’ve had jobs that required me to get up early. One started at – “well, gosh” is the correct way to put it – 4:30.
I maintain, based on my experiences but without empirical evidence, that morning darkness is more disorienting, and therefore more dangerous, than evening darkness. The cold is colder too.
Speaking of empiricism, you will see evidence presented on the physiological effects of weather changes. It makes no sense to disregard this, although in doing so I wonder how many of the issues raised could be addressed by More Sleep in general. And let’s face it: time management is an issue on which opinions will vary depending on personal circumstances, paces and tastes. The most important deciding factor will be which desires are expressed the strongest and the longest. That’s why I need to gather so many hot suns to make the case for the status quo. I am either in the minority or in the majority very sleepy.
We’re really aiming for the greatest good for the greatest number of people, which for Minnesotans means changing the clocks in March and November. The local impact of sticking to one time year-round in the United States depends on how far you are from the North Pole and how close to the eastern boundary of your time zone. I mention here that the champion of the Senate bill, Marco Rubio, is from Florida, where the length of the day only varies by 3 and a half hours throughout the year, compared to almost seven hours in Minnesota . His bill makes sense — for Floridians.
The utility solution for that the discrepancy is even more the regional variation of local times.
The practical solution is to keep things as they are.
David Banks is the Star Tribune’s associate commentary editor. He is at [email protected]