Saving the Daylights Once Again

March 10, 2019

(Illustration: M.C. Escher’s ‘Tower of Babel,’ found here).

Sunshine chilled by crispy-breezes this late-afternoon Sunday on California’s north coast, fully a gorgeous day, even despite a run-in earlier with some weather  — walking the dogs on North Beach, still covered in bright sunlight, a big-ugly mass of dark, condensed water vapor appeared lumbering right for us from the northeast — raindrops had already spotted the car windshield just as we left the 101 at Crannell Road, but thankfully, ocean winds pushed the ugly, two-three-cloud system onto the foothills and the ominous patch slowly slouched southward, out of range.
We felt not a single splash out on the beach-dunes.
Supposedly, according to the NWS, rain tonight, some maybe next Tuesday, and for rest of the time, dry with occasional sunshine — not bad, hopefully.

And of moments, this morning started Daylight Saving Time, ‘DST‘ for way-short, a clock-schedule we’ll continue until November when we ‘fall back‘ to PST (Pacific Standard Time).
And a standard riff on the DST — via LiveScience on Friday:

Daylight saving time (not savings, as many people say) begins at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 10.
While “smart” devices may change time automatically, don’t forget to turn manual clocks an hour ahead, from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Daylight saving time (DST) is designed to provide an extra hour of evening sunlight, and it will stay in effect for eight months until Nov. 3, when daylight saving time ends for the year.
[Daylight Saving Time 2019: A Guide to the When, Why, What and How]
Benjamin Franklin, the brainchild of DST, proposed the idea in 1784 as a way to conserve energy, said David Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time” (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005).
Ideally, people would spend time outside, enjoying the extra hour of daylight, rather than sit inside, wasting energy on lighting, Franklin reasoned.

And, cute:

Currently, two U.S. states — Hawaii and most of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) — don’t observe daylight saving time.
Every year, several states put forth bills or voter-led initiatives to ditch daylight saving time.
However, it’s anyone’s guess whether these bills will become enforced law.
Until then, don’t forget to wake up an hour earlier on Sunday, unless you want to be late for brunch.

However, too early this morning was still too early — a start by all accounts to a legit news story about DST at MilfordLive, out of Milford, Delaware:

On Sunday, the majority of the United States turned their clocks back one hour in order to start Daylight saving time.
There are many myths and rumors regarding the practice including who developed the idea and why the country started changing clocks initially.

What’s wrong? No one doing journalism at MilfordLive seen that lede’s lead sentence? Proof readers, or any readers, to correct a really much-glaring mistake. I had to read that sentence more than a couple of times for the words, ‘turn their clocks back,’ to fully register. WTF!
However, such shit is near-about common (at Forbes this afternoon):

Many Americans don’t see the benefit of DST: just 36-percent of those polled find it necessary.
In 2013, nearly 20-percent of those polled believed wrongly that you’d move the clocks backward on Sunday for DST (spring ahead, folks) or aren’t quite sure what to do at all.
As a result, a whopping 16-percent of Americans claim DST has made them early or late for an appointment because they didn’t set their clocks the right way (I feel your pain, America).

And health-wise DST is unwise — medical note from an interview with Dr. Kelly Baron, a clinical psychologist with specialty training in behavioral sleep medicine, transcript published last Thursday at University of Utah Health:

The most interesting thing is that twice a year we have this Daylight Saving Time, either spring forward or fall back, and it’s like a giant experiment in the population about what happens when you gain or lose an hour of sleep.
And so what we notice is there’s actually an increase in heart attacks, an increase in motor vehicle accidents in the couple of days surrounding that spring forward.

Even beyond actual physical health, DST can also way-effect brain shit — from 24/7WallSt last Monday:

The one-hour shift due to daylight saving correlates with an increase in male suicide rates in the weeks after summer time takes effect in March, according to an Australian study published in the Sleep and Biological Rhythms journal.
Also, suicide rates in the weeks after DST ended remained significantly higher compared with the rest of the fall season, according to the study.
The authors suggest that even small changes in the body’s natural rhythm could be destabilizing for vulnerable people.

Believe it or not, it is possible to be even more addicted to the internet.
This has become an obstacle to productivity, leading to “cyberloafing” — described as engaging in non-work online activities while working.
The shift to DST has been shown to result in a dramatic increase in cyberloafing behavior, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Additional ugly health issues off DST (Inverse today):

Pushing the clock forward ever so slightly messes with the cycle of light and darkness that controls our circadian rhythm, the natural 24-hour cycle controlling our body’s processes, like setting its temperature and releasing the hormones that make us hungry, tired, or energized.
One hour is a big deal: Springing forward results in more light in the afternoon and less light in the morning, disrupting the pattern that our biological clocks have become accustomed to.
What we end up with is a mismatch between our biological internal clocks and the social clock that governs our lives.

A paper published in January in Nature Communications showed that there are roughly 351 different genes that influence a person’s preferred wake-up time — sometimes by as much as 25 minutes.
Historically, these genes have also been used as indicators that separate “morning larks” from “night owls.”
University of Exeter research fellow Samuel Jones Ph.D., the study’s lead author, explained that these genes actually affect how someone’s brain may interpret light-dark signals that govern the internal clock.
“Our work indicates that part of the reason why people are up with the lark while others are night owls is because of differences in both the way our brains react to external light signals and the normal functioning of our internal clocks,” Jones said.

Their research suggests that we do the opposite of daylight saving time — that is, start thinking about how we can work with our biological clocks instead of against them.
The historical rationale for daylight saving time was to give the public more time to enjoy the sunlight after a 9-to-5 workday, but as we better understand the demands of individual circadian rhythms and the effects of modern technology, maybe now is the time to factor in more flexibility.

The future of DST is currently up in the air, but looks as if a change is coming soon. There’s too much shit to altering time, but actual DST might be made permanent:

People are advised to avoid scheduling anything important for 2:30 am Sunday, since, by law, such a moment does not exist.
But the law may change.
The national policy of switching from standard time to daylight saving time and back again is under legislative challenge from coast to coast.
Multiple initiatives in Congress and in statehouses would terminate our current system of time toggling — a system that started a century ago and has been controversial ever since.
It’s not really daylight saving time that’s drawing fire: It’s standard time.
Senator Marco Rubio on Wednesday reintroduced a bill to make daylight saving time a year-round reality across the country, with no more biannual time changes.
Representative Vern Buchanan introduced matching legislation in the House.

There are two issues here.
One is whether changing the clock is inherently a bad idea, because of sleep disruption, negative health effects and the general confusion generated by a jumpy time system.
The other issue is whether we need to favor the evening over the morning when trying to distribute our sunlight — not just during spring and summer and early fall but throughout the year.

Michael Downing, an English professor at Tufts University and author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time,” and human idiot-arrogance: ‘“There continues to be the mythic idea that we are saving something by turning our clocks forward and backward. It’s such a preposterous idea that we can gain or lose an hour by simply sticking our finger in the face of our clocks.”

Just at dark now, and a final check at  MilfordLive, finds they’re still two hours behind, not saving a dab of daylight…

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