Loud Music is a $40 Fine

Just my personal blog.

March 9, 2009

Daylight Savings Time Is A Joke

We “sprung forward” over the weekend, or at least most of us did. Daylight Savings Time went into effect Sunday morning, and as usual, my sleep cycle is screwed up.

Someone computed that the “opportunity” cost of changing the clocks twice a year (if you figure it takes 15 minutes to change all your clocks) was something like $1.7 billion. That’s the time it takes times an average hourly rate of $17 ish times the number of people in the US.

That’s one hidden cost. Another hidden cost is productivity. If you follow your circadian rhythm after DST goes into effect, you’ll end up going to sleep one hour later. So instead of going to sleep at 11 pm, you go to sleep at midnight. If you get up at 7 pm, you’ve lost an hour of sleep. You’re going to drive to work groggier, be less productive at work, and be more tired at the end of the day. And in this current economic situation, anything that reduces productivity should be done away with.

Ben Franklin is credited with coming up with Daylight Savings Time. But it seems he suggested it more as a joke than anything. He says that he woke up early one day in Paris, and found that the sun was already up (at 6 am). He then calculates how many pounds of candles would be saved if people used daylight instead of candlelight (kind of like the “early to bed, early to rise” saying).

No one took the idea seriously until the World War I. The Germans adopted it early in the war, and the US adopted it late. It was ultimately repealed in the US in 1919 because it was so unpopular.

I daresay it’s pretty unpopular now, especially after Congress added a few more weeks to DST. The kicker there is that they used numbers from the 1970’s that touted how much energy would be saved. The government entity that produced those numbers not only says they’re out of date, but they’re wrong. So Congress passes a law based on faulty or inaccurate information. What else is new?

We need to repeal this stupid law. Or at the very least, split the difference, and “spring ahead” a half hour one time, and be done with it.

H/T: Failed Success

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