Monday, March 11, 2013

DST -- Living the Dream

Actually, my dream was cut short this morning. I used to think morning and evening shifted position together in the same direction with the seasons, more or less, making Daylight Saving Time defensible. But I printed out a local solar noon calendar, and it ranges from 12:24:32 on Feb. 11 to 11:53:51 on Nov. 3. That’s approximately a 30 minute difference around an average noon of about 12:10.

According to the red and orange lines on this graph, sunrise and sunset move in opposite directions with the seasons. The glitch you see in the curve is the rather insignificant effect of DST compared to the physical daylight available each day (the blue line). What a waste of time and effort. Year round standard time would be just fine.

Research is very conflicted as to whether DST saves any energy, or even wastes more. I’m sure the cost of DST switching twice a year wastes far more energy and capital than any imagined savings. It's just more unscientific government meddling. It certainly saves no daylight. It’s like making a blanket longer by cutting a foot off one end, and sewing it onto the other.

Ben Franklin is credited/blamed for DST. He proposed it as a joke! He had his shortcomings, but I think he was smarter than most people today. It is disturbing how often ridiculous ideas have a way of becoming public policy generations later. 

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