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Standard Time keeps us in the dark
November 1, 2011 - Jim Smith
If there was any doubt -- beyond the dip in temperatures -- that summer is really over, Daylight Saving Time ending at 2 a.m. Sunday is the final clue.
Yep, that little bit of daylight we enjoyed in the evening will end Sunday night when it will be dark by 6 p.m. ... and progressively will get darker earlier in the evening for a few months.
What it means is many of us will go to work in the dark and return home from work in the dark, getting a chance to see daylight only during lunch.
"Springing" forward one hour in the spring and "falling" back an hour in the fall was first formally proposed as a two-hour shift in 1895 by a George Hudson, an English-born New Zealand entomologist and astronomer, and since then the one-hour shift has been both praised and cursed.
The premise is it adds daylight for afternoon and early evening activities for businesses and sports enthusiasts, while adversely affecting farming, evening entertainment events and venues and jobs tied to sunlight. It also was aimed at reducing energy consumption during the summer months, but that hasn't been completely proven.
The real issue, though, is how the changing of the clock disrupts sleep patterns, with many people complaining it takes them a period of time to adjust to the one hour difference, me included.
But, all that aside, at 2 a.m. Sunday we all will potentially gain the hour's sleep we lost last spring as we turn our clocks back an hour before going to bed Saturday night. As fire departments across the nation remind us, it's also a great time to put fresh batteries in our smoke detectors, instead of waiting until they start beeping in the middle of the night like mine usually do to indicate the battery is nearly dead.
Personally, I wished we'd either stay on Standard Time throughout the year, or keep DST, mainly because I'm one of those high-tech mechanics who always has to look at the owner's manual to figure out how to change the clock in my car.
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