Let’s simplify time zones!


I like this idea: end the fall and spring clock jiggering, consolidate time zones, and just have two fixed time zones in the continental US.

It would seem to be more efficient to do away with the practice altogether. The actual energy savings are minimal, if they exist at all. Frequent and uncoordinated time changes cause confusion, undermining economic efficiency. There’s evidence that regularly changing sleep cycles, associated with daylight saving, lowers productivity and increases heart attacks. Being out of sync with European time changes was projected to cost the airline industry $147 million a year in travel disruptions. But I propose we not only end Daylight Saving, but also take it one step further.

proposed-time-zones

But then, that’s easy for me to say: my job is all done under artificial lighting anyway. But when I look at what, for instance, farmers are doing, they don’t seem to care about the clock that much either, and the cows and pigs sure don’t care much about what the hands on the clock say.

In case you haven’t got the hint yet, you were supposed to turn your clock back last night. Or if you’re living in the digital age anyway, your computers all automatically adjusted everything for you.

Comments

  1. tuibguy says

    The only problem I see with this is that the earth is spherical and a day is still 24 hours long. Do we just compress time zones in the Pacific to make up for it?

  2. New England Bob says

    The 2 time zone idea is a terrible one. At the physical extremes the time for getting dark or light would be way off.

  3. robnyny says

    I grew up on a beef and dairy farm, and the idea that daylight savings time has anything to do with milking or steers or oats is comical. Sunrise, sunset. The cattle and crops don’t care.

  4. Sili says

    At the physical extremes the time for getting dark or light would be way off.

    Way off what?

  5. left0ver1under says

    Two time zones? That’s a little too reactionary, considering the width of the continent. A time zone wider than 1500km east-west is going to have extra or less daylight at the beginning or end of the day, depending on where one is. Three time zones would be plenty for North America.

    PST – Pacific to the Rockies
    CST – From the Rockies to Ontario-Louisiana
    EST – Quebec-Mississippi to the Atlantic

    DST makes a huge difference when you live in the far north or far south, more than 50 degrees lattitude. In summer it doesn’t matter because there’s 14-20 hours of daylight. But in winter, especially in December, there’s only 4-10 hours of daylight. You definitely want to change your clocks so that you get all the daylight hours when you are awake.

    Kristjan Wager (#3) –

    Like the US, there are parts of Canada that don’t change (Saskatchewan, northeast BC) while the rest do, and then there’s Newfoundland which insists on being on the half hour. It never made nor makes any sense. For the record, Canada has five time zones, the extra being Atlantic ST.

    It’s been 12 years since I lived in a country with DST, and it will feel weird going back. The only time it’s annoying is when I have to interact with other regions using DST and have to think about when they’re awake or open for business (emails, phone, and chat to other countries, sports on TV).

  6. tashaturner says

    I’m all for getting rid of daylight savings. It’s never made sense to me. As someone up above points out sunrise, sunset, crops and animals don’t care about clocks. I’ve not seen studies that were convincing that it saves money/energy by messing with the clocks.

    But let’s not go too crazy and get rid of time zones in the US. I’m not sure what problem that is supposed to solve but can imagine many implementation issues. And as was mentioned what are you planning to do with Hawaii and Alaska? Hopefully leave them in the timezones they map up to internationally? Or are we kicking them out of the US as they don’t fit our nice picture?

    Actually what does Canada do for time zones? How does Mexico map up? I guess if we were moving to be in sync with them my feelings would be different than if we are moving out of sync. This is in regards to standard time not “daylight savings”. Just get rid of “daylight savings” no matter what.

  7. Nemo says

    I hate this idea. End DST, yes. Consolidate time zones, no. There’s no reason to conflate these issues.

  8. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    I think we need to go back to the pre-railroad days when each town, each city, had its own time-zone based on local noon. Of course, where I live and where I work would be about 45 seconds off. And Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport would have a three-minute difference from one end to the other (intentional hyperbole), but that is a small price to pay for nationwide confusion.

  9. Lance Pergande says

    “way off what?”

    Something I discovered some years back may shed some light on that. I have lived most of my life in eastern Wisconsin but spent some time living in OKC. Milwaukee is on the eastern edge of the central time zone and OKC is toward the western edge. I play volleyball, including outdoor leagues. Here in WI our 9:00 PM games need to be played with the lights turned on. I was stunned when playing in OKC that we could play our 9:00 matches without turning on the lights. And that is in the same time zone. I thought that was really cool.

    So, using the 2 zone idea displayed above coupled with the dropping of DST, we would have to turn on the lights in Milwaukee beginning with our 7:00 matches. In the heart of summer our sunrise would be about 3:00 AM and sunset 7:00 PM. That’s a sunrise-sunset combo I consider to be “way off”.

  10. busterggi says

    21st century for blue states, 16th century for red states – and compatible tech will be mandatory.

  11. B Cazz says

    In my world, that stands as the Worst. Idea. Ever.

    Just gone done feeding chickens, horses and dogs and reveling in the fact that for the next month or so I’ll be able to do so in the LIGHT and actually see my animals before I take off for work.

    Light isn’t the only factor as the sun brings HEAT, as you might know, and the 40 miles of rural roads I travel are much less dangerous after the winter dawn than before it.

    So you’re suggesting those of us small farmy times who have to work for a living to hang on to those small farms should risk our lives driving to work early because you don’t like jiggling your clocks twice a year?

    Where’s the empathy for minorities now?

  12. Joseph Yaroch says

    What we really need to do, is simplify our lives, enough so that the time zones don’t really matter.

  13. blf says

    Saudi Arabia (at least) does(or at least did c.25 years ago when I had to research the issue for software-standards purposes) use local solar time internally, albeit as I now recall, for international / administrative purposes they use one fixed zone (don’t recall which one).

    Japan, as far as I recall, is just one zone. But does not use Summer Time (for USAlienstanis: Daylight Saving Time).

  14. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    My latitude is around 45 and I live out in the country. The days getting shorter as the seasons change can be hard in some ways, but far worse is dealing with the time changing. All it does for me is give me jet lag without going anywhere. The northernmost latitude in the contiguous USA is around 49 up in Minnesota. If there’s any benefit to daylight savings time to those further north than a latitude of 50–as suggested by left0ver1under @10–the contiguous USA doesn’t go that far north.

  15. Muz says

    With any luck we’ll one day get all of Aus to forget “Daylight savings”, Sadly the two most populace states love to tell the rest of us how we’re “behind the times” by seeking to ignore stupid 18th century notions that have no relevance to this part of the planet, in a land with more then enough sun in summer as it is.
    People are weird like that.

  16. Lance Pergande says

    I messed up my time shifting in my second paragraph. But, the overall point is still in play. The 2 time zone idea will create some real off kilter sunrise-sunset combos in parts of the country.

  17. Trebuchet says

    I’d favor making DST year-round, not getting rid of it.

    As for time zones, I’m happy with the current four. The boundaries, however, need to be rationalized so we don’t have small fragments of states in the wrong zone. The two-zone map in the illustration still does that. North Idaho and South Idaho are in different zones simply because they were served by different railroads.

    @19, BLF: Japan subtends only a few degrees of longitude. There’s no earthly reason it would have more than one zone.

  18. says

    There’s evidence that regularly changing sleep cycles, associated with daylight saving, lowers productivity and increases heart attacks.

    As a shift worker of 15 years, with anything from morning shift to night shift within any given week, I had a good hard laugh at that one.

  19. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    B Cazz @ 17

    In my world, that stands as the Worst. Idea. Ever.

    Just gone done feeding chickens, horses and dogs and reveling in the fact that for the next month or so I’ll be able to do so in the LIGHT and actually see my animals before I take off for work.

    Daylight saving time just ended. What you’re reveling in right now is standard time.

    The shift is for the summer months, so that you have more daylight in the evening and less in the morning. Do you benefit from that by having more sunlight after work in the summer? If you do, that’s a valid reason to like DST. Getting a benefit when DST ends isn’t.

  20. says

    Circadian rhythms are set by the sun. Humans are at their most efficient when their waking cycle matches the solar cycle pretty closely. This is why people on a night shift have more physical and mental problems, and why people in the northern latitudes are much more likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

    China is a good example of why a single time zone for a large country is bad. The zone is set to UTC+8, so noon of the clock matches local noon around the longitude of Beijing. In western China, there is as much as a 3.5 hour discrepancy, meaning people typically head out to work before sunrise year round, and must go to bed while it is still full light outside. The number of industrial accidents in western China, car accidents, incidents of interpersonal violence, suicide and other such problems is significantly higher.

    I agree that daylight savings has outlived its usefulness. But it would be a mistake to get rid of time zones.

  21. No One says

    I loath DST. It takes me a week to re-acclimatize. My solution would be to split the difference (one half hour) and leave it there.

  22. Alverant says

    Fuck Europe, I got an extra hour of sleep this morning and that’s worth some inconvenience to them.

    #10 Bad idea. My parents are just on the other side of the Mississippi and it would be a pain to take that other hour into account. Also the river moves east and west a lot so it’s just as good/bad as the existing lines. The lines were designed to minimize disruption for major metropolitan areas that would otherwise be divided by an hour.

    Just go with year round DST and be done with it.

  23. billseymour says

    #8, AussieMike
    >
    > This ignores Alaska and Hawaii
    >
    It ignores a great deal more than that.

    – Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands observe Atlantic time (UTC−4:00) year-round.

    – Arizona, except the Navajo Nation, does not observe DST.

    – The Metlakatla Indian Reservation on Annettee Island, Alaska, observes UTC−8:00 year-round.

    – The Aleutian Islands west of 169 degrees 30 minutes W. observes UTC−10:00 with DST.

    – Hawaii observes UTC−10:00 year-round.

    – American Samoa observes UTC−11:00 year-round.

    – Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands observe UTC+10:00 year-round.

  24. says

    Just gone done feeding chickens, horses and dogs and reveling in the fact that for the next month or so I’ll be able to do so in the LIGHT and actually see my animals before I take off for work.

    Just think of the poor chickens, horses, and dogs who are right now wondering why you make them wait an extra hour for breakfast, just because it is November.

  25. WILLIAM says

    Don’t you dare talk about eliminating DST. Them’s fightin’ words!!! I love my light spring and summer evenings.

    I’d go for year-long DST, but that will never fly. Whenever they try it some kid gets hit by a car on the way to school and that is the end of that. So we make the spring and fall changes – a minor inconvenience but well worth it for the extra light – especially for us nine to fivers (you college prof types may see it differently).

    As for merging time zones – fergettaboutit! Never going to happen. .

  26. left0ver1under says

    Trebuchet (#23) –

    Japan subtends only a few degrees of longitude. There’s no earthly reason it would have more than one zone.

    Yes, but (Oh no! Can I use that here without being offensive?) Okinawa is much closer to Taiwan than Japan’s four main islands, a one hour flight versus two hours. And Yonaguni island is only 100km from Taiwan (GMT+8) and 1200km from Japan (GMT+9), yet Yonaguni remains on Japan’s time.

    Then again, it’s not like it’s as far as the Falklands from England, or New Caledonia from France.

    Alverant (#29) –

    #10 Bad idea. My parents are just on the other side of the Mississippi and it would be a pain to take that other hour into account.

    Sorry, I was thinking of the hundreds of millions of other people and the near simplest lines to divide states and provinces’ borders. Next time, I’ll consider your family first in any of my suggestions. ^_^

  27. says

    Yesssss.
    I’ve lived in Indiana these 23 years of my life, so about seven years ago when time suddenly started getting warped I said “hex no” and refused to change. And I still do. So for about 8 months of the year, nobody can ask me what time it is without getting a confusing answer. Hooray!
    If they went with a year-long shifting of time by an hour I wouldn’t mind because shifting the clock twice a year just seems stupid. I mean, if you want to be out when it’s light, get your schedule manually changed. Or move to the southern hemisphere (or northern, should you live in the southern hemisphere).
    People should have freedom of time! Clearly I should run for office as a Libertarian with the campaign message of allowing people to choose what time it is. It’s their freedom! If you say it’s midnight in the middle of the day, sleep away! I no longer remember my point!
    anyway light is for the weak anyway

  28. ck says

    Two time zones isn’t any better than the four you have now. Either go to one (or UTC), and then have each state define the business hours for schools and government offices (which would have to be done for two time zones anyway), or don’t bother.

  29. says

    Two time zones? Let me guess: the author of this suggestion lives in New York, Washington D.C., or California, and thinks that the “new” time zones will be synchronized with the existing Eastern and Pacific zones, and let all the people in the middle of the country pound sand.

    Indiana is already in Eastern time (basically to sync with New York markets for the convenience of the rich), and it means that “noon” is comically far from “mid-day” for anyone not at the extreme east end of the state (i.e. for most of the population). Pushing that inconvenience even further westward would be ludicrous. (And the single-zone scheme in China? It’s a brain-dead defiance of reality. The only thing it simplifies is the time-zone map; everyone in the country has to cope with extra complexity in travel and timekeeping because the “day” isn’t really the same at opposite ends of the country.)

    Tell you what, though: I’ll have no objection to the system provided that the new zones are assigned their values by matching them to the colors of the other chart. Once the population centers on the fringes of the country discover how stupid that is, once New Yorkers discover how terrible it is to have “noon” nearly 2 hours after the sun has passed the zenith and Californians discover how stupid it is to have to get up an hour earlier, the new system will be abandoned in a month.

  30. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @mobius:

    it’s not the republicans fault this time!!!

    They passed a bill in the house for personal daylight savings accounts, but the damn democrats blocked it in the senate!

  31. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    @ Crip Dyke:

    Yeah, but keep in mind that the way the GOP structured the Personal Daylight Savings Accounts (which they called Freedom, Motherhood and Apple Pie Accounts) would have allowed one person, or corporation, to put the Daylight Savings into an account and allowed a different person, or corporation, to withdraw the savings with no tax liability. This would have made the accounts a perfect vehicle for the Koch’s of the world to support candidates with even less transparency than exists now, so the senate got that one right.

  32. zekehoskin says

    Time zones and Daylight Saving adjustments make sense only to the extent that people run by the clock instead of by common sense. Those workers in Western China who go to work when the sun is down and go to sleep while it is up? Why in Mao’s name should work start at 9 when the sun doesn’t rise till 10? We could all live perfectly well on UTC, but only if the people who schedule schools and stores and factories, or the politicians that restrict their choices, got soundly whacked with a suitable cluebat.

  33. Rip Steakface says

    @18

    DST was famously proposed by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century.

    If you believe that people in the 1700s led lives that were too complicated, such that they needed DST, I question why you are using a computer.

  34. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    What we really need to do is go back in time and prevent the fucking-sick-evil idea that getting up and doing things early in the morning is inherently virtuous (rather than convenient for specific subsets of activities) from ever taking hold.

  35. unclefrogy says

    as the world becomes more interconnected it seems that moving the clock hands around makes less sense.
    The main reason we even use the clock is so we can synchronize our actions and our machines other wise the Arabian idea I read above makes as much sense as any. What keeps us using it I think are our need for control and our reluctance at change.
    I hate changing the dam clocks and I as much as possible I order my time so as to avoid where I can the tyranny of clocks.
    uncle frogy

  36. cag says

    left0ver1under, for the record Canada has 6 time zones:
    Pacific
    Mountain
    Central
    Eastern
    Atlantic
    Newfoundland

    I think you have a broken record.

  37. Holms says

    Removing DST?
    A case could be made either way I’m sure; I would be happy to see it discussed by people that know more about it than I.

    Consolidating time zones?
    Awful idea, not even related to DST. Why are they being conflated?

  38. Colin J says

    Mellow Monkey @ 26:

    Daylight saving time just ended. What you’re reveling in right now is standard time.

    The USA is not the world. Where I live, DST has just started.

    Neil Rickert @11:

    I’d go with one time zone. Just use UTC (otherwise called GMT) the world around.

    Absolutely! One time zone for the whole world. Plus we should turn our clocks back 1 hour every 2 months. In one stroke we can get rid of time zones and leap years at the same time. Might take some getting used to, though.

    Free our clocks from the tyranny of the sun!!

  39. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    Wife and I were discussing this over pizza this evening. Picture living in central South Dakota. Picture being right on the county line. Picture having a job in the Western Time Zone (according to the proposal above) and living in the Eastern Time Zone. You get up at 11:00 am, get dressed, drive a half hour to work, and arrive just before your 8:00am job starts. You work all day and leave at 5:00pm and arrive home at 9:30pm. Or, even worse, picture that one the other way around. Having a four hour (or three hour) time shift at the county line would make for some real interesting experiences in the border area.

  40. IngisKahn says

    Repeat to yourself: “It’s just a number.”

    The simpler the better; one time to rule them all.

  41. kaleberg says

    Canada’s Maritime Time Zone is not a full time zone. It’s only a half a time zone and was designed to mess around with the brains of programmers who wrote OS time support.

  42. says

    China has one time zone: Beijing time. In eight years living and travelling about here, I’ve never had any trouble. It just keeps things simple. China has roughly the same size and aspect ratio as the USA, so the US can’t play the size card.

    Merkins ammend! And go metric while you are about it.

  43. says

    To the various people saying “oh, but if you just assume time is a number and not related to what people are doing”: what on earth are you thinking?

    Ever needed to deal with someone in another time zone — telephone call, live chat, or just have some idea of when they’re likely to be working on something — and tried to figure out whether they’re likely to be available at the moment? With working time zones, this is easy. “The website says they’re in EST. Well, they are likely to be in bed right now, so I’ll have to wait.” “It’s 8 AM here, that’s 3 PM for them; if they don’t respond, they’re probably just away for a moment and will be back shortly.”

    Without working timezones, every such transaction becomes a needlessly complex exercise in deduction as you try to imagine — without any easy way to write the results down because guess what: time zones are the easiest way to do that — how far ahead or behind people are likely to be elsewhere. “Well, uh, I think they were 2700 miles southwest. Or was that southeast? That would be, what, 7 hours? Dammit, somebody get me a globe so I can visualize this.”

    Time zones, in short, exist for human convenience. Doing away with them because it would make some (not all) computer transactions slightly easier for lazy programmers is silly. Particularly since the “problem” of dealing with dates and times is a solved one already. Every single language either comes with or has widely available code to cope with every part of dealing with dates, times, and time zones. If programmers would learn the existing APIs instead of trying to reinvent the wheel every single time, it would not only solve this “problem” but also close a heck of a lot of bugs; just as an example, the only programs for the original Mac OS which had actual Y2K problems were ones which ignored the system date and time API in favor of using their own scheme. (Having programmers actually learn built-in APIs instead of reinventing the wheel would also make open-source software bearable, if not pleasant. But I digress.)

  44. says

    Arizona’s solution has been, “Screw the rest of you, there is no day light savings time.” It screws up a lot of TV watching, but.. you, ironically, only have to fight with the damn clocks, if someone decided to make them “smart”, and automatically change when the seasons do. lol

    But, yeah, two.. might be a bit much, but 3.. seems reasonable to me. And, bury the damn daylight savings time for good, all it does is mess with people’s sleep patterns marginally less than retail work schedules. Its really not at all useful for anything.

  45. says

    Get rid of DST and time zones. They’re both unnecessary.

    Actually thinking changing the clock has any effect on the world is just misguided. If one doesn’t like how light or dark it is, just change the hours that you work. Shops have different opening hours on the weekends already. It’s easier to just say something like “During winter we open from 9:00 instead of 8:00″ without changing the clocks.

    Time zones can be done away with too. It’d make international co-ordination simpler and remove obscure situations like crossing the date line and going back in time. The sun will rise at different times and we will all soon learn that the sun is at it’s highest at 14:00 or 23:00 or whenever where we live. It doesn’t make it any harder to determine when to call foreigners either. You just check that how many hours ahead the sun is for them.

  46. Lofty says

    If everyone who objects to time zones just does everything according to GMT, UT or whatever, then eventually local time can be whatever it likes, just like pre-industrial times. And while you’re at it, get rid of the 24 hour clock and give us a decent decimal time scale.
    But on a personal note, DST time suits me fine, I’ve enjoyed the long light evenings ever since school when summer after 7pm meant another couple of hours of play. Each to their own.

  47. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    Gah, too many acronyms! OK, let’s see here…

    EST: Eastern Standard Time. I know that one.
    CST: Er… Central Standard Time? That would make sense.
    MST: Um… I dunno. Middle Standard Time? I got nothing. Clue me in here.
    PST: Er… Pacific Standard Time, maybe? Seems logical.

    How’d I do?

    While we’re on the subject of USA trivia, why is the area around the Great lakes known as the “Midwest”? I nearly suggested “Midwest Standard Time” for MST before I remembered that. It’s almost directly in the middle. There nothing “west” about it.

  48. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    I’m pretty sure that a lot of folks here in the UK would happily be on BST all the year round and get rid of GMT so that it’s lighter in the evenings in winter.

    Time-zones aren’t really too important here. Europe, though, runs on the same time between Spain in the west (Portugal runs on different time) and Poland in the East. This amuses me as the UK sits entirely within this range.

    Then again the original acceptance of GMT as opposed to Parisian time pissed the French off, and there are a lot of peculiarities in Europe that originate from national one-upmanship. That, and a history of violence.

  49. Muz says

    Thumper. I think it all comes from the fact that the original USA was the tiny clump of colonies/states in the north east (and then the South, which was primarily the south east). So the Mid Western states are, continentally speaking, the Mid East. But back then everything was thought of in terms of the East seaboard being the centre of everything. Everything else is degrees of West. So the Mid West is just not the Far West (which was the just plain “West” West)

    Confused? Me too.

  50. says

    Hell no. The Eastern time zone is already freaking big enough already. I don’t need to be visiting Chicago in July and have the sun set at 10 PM.

    What we should do it just slow the rotation of the Earth by one hour every year, so we can keep setting our clocks back.

  51. ck says

    @Thumper

    MST = Mountain Standard Time. The Rocky Mountains are largely contained within that time zone on the U.S. side (in Canada, they straddle the border between MST and PST time zones).
    The rest of them you got right.

  52. WILLIAM says

    On the term “midwest”:

    Without researching it, I would guess that the origin is as follows: Until the mid 19th century, everything west of the Appalachians was “the West”. Once the continent was mapped out, there emerged a distinction between the far west and the “middle west” later shortened to “midwest.”

  53. WILLIAM says

    “If one doesn’t like how light or dark it is, just change the hours that you work.”

    What world do you live in? In the one I live in most people don’t get to choose the hours they work. The only way to give the benefit of more daylight to everyone is to just change the clock – that’s the simple solution from which everyone benefits without complicated schedule changes.

  54. says

    @Hairy Chris

    If I recall, the meridian for Parisian time is marked out by blue tiles running through the city.


    [Beijing time]

    I asked a colleague who worked there. Apparently his office opened at 9am. In Shenzhen it is 9h30. In the far Northwest it is 10am. Places like Dalian work the same hours as Beijing. The difference then is far less than one would expect from sunrise in each location.

  55. =8)-DX says

    PZ – the use for astronomical noon should be – looking up in the sky one should be able to tell what time it is. At least that’s how they used to do it. Or conversely, looking at the time I should be able to tell where South is..

    I have a dream: one day all clocks will be set to astronomical time, and work hours will be automatically counted by the second (ooops, that means I’ve spent 15 minutes of non-work time on pharyngula.. dang! back to the lines of code!)

  56. says

    Hairy Chris #62

    I’m pretty sure that a lot of folks here in the UK would happily be on BST all the year round and get rid of GMT so that it’s lighter in the evenings in winter.

    Folks in Scotland—hell, folks in Northumbria even—might be a little peeved at what this idea does to their sunrise times.

  57. vaiyt says

    To expand, my area has been going on and off DST from one year to the other, with the local and federal authorities seemingly unable to decide whether we should be included or not. A couple years back, they settled on “not”.

  58. IngisKahn says

    @The Vicar:
    Time zones aren’t magic. If as you say, they are the ONLY (which is silly) easy way to tell what time of day (in relation to the sun) it is elsewhere on the globe then go ahead and keep them for that reason. e.g. ABC is 7 hours ahead of XYZ (or they could just post their hours like they do anyway). But there’s no reason to set the clocks to different hour!

    @WILLIAM:
    Once again, numbers aren’t magic. Businesses are free to choose whatever time they want to open.

  59. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    @ck

    Thanks

    @muz and WILLIAM

    Ah, of course, the USA was just the North East originally, wasn’t it? I should have thought of that. So presumably it’s quite an old name from the time when the western frontier was much further east than the west coast. That makes sense. Many thanks.

  60. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    Now my ignorance on US time zones and naming conventions has been dispelled (thanks again), I can offer an opinion on the OP:

    I think we can get rid of DST without an issue. Why people in the professions that need to (as I understand it it’s so people in outdoor professions can take advantage of changing light conditions) can’t just get up at 8 in winter rather than 9 is beyond me. People in an office do not need to bugger about with the time at all; it’s always dark when I leave the office anyway.

    Time zones are a different matter; I think they are necessary. I just wish countries weren’t allowed to arbitraily declare what time it was regardless of their longitudinal position. Standardise our bloody clocks so that noon is actually noon (astronomical noon, as =8)-DX calls it) and leave it at that.

  61. chigau (違う) says

    We should go to named “hours” like the Chinese zodiac.
    Instead of working 9 to 5, people would work from Snake to Rooster.
    Lunch from Horse-and-a-half to Goat.

  62. Owen says

    Azkyroth – #45

    What we really need to do is go back in time and prevent the fucking-sick-evil idea that getting up and doing things early in the morning is inherently virtuous (rather than convenient for specific subsets of activities) from ever taking hold.

    THIS

  63. K E Decilon says

    Anyone that thinks 2 time zones is a good idea has completely forgotten how the country is actually run.

    Millions of us work for global enterprises that would immediately figure out how to use this to twiddle their bottom line, and set work hours accordingly.

    If you think they give a damn that you may have to go to bed at 5 in the afternoon in order to fit the work schedule they have determined is best profitable, you are sadly mistaken.

    @58 Kagehi
    Arizona’s solution has been, “Screw the rest of you, there is no day light savings time.” It screws up a lot of TV watching

    My older sister lived in AZ for over 50 years. That decision was made when more than 90% of the population lived in either Phoenix or Tucson. She told me once “The last goddamn thing you need in Phoenix in the summer is an extra hour of daylight.”

    I have visited there in the summer. I agree with her.

  64. thunk: Cars only, people not allowed says

    eh, I don’t know. the inner metrology geek here wants strict time-zoning to the nearest hour and no DST. the meteorologist wants everything on UTC.

    I don’t particularly care, but just make things late enough so people actually get to start after dawn, as most are diurnal. and let people work at other times for those who aren’t. This is the problem with current excessive DST–it has kindergarteners go to school before dawn.

  65. says

    @Azkyroth

    What we really need to do is go back in time and prevent the fucking-sick-evil idea that getting up and doing things early in the morning is inherently virtuous (rather than convenient for specific subsets of activities) from ever taking hold.

    QFT. I don’t fucking function well in a world that believes being awake in the mornings is more virtuous than being awake at night.

    @WILLIAM

    The only way to give the benefit of more daylight to everyone is to just change the clock

    let me turn your question right back at you: what world do you live in that you believe this to be true? At times, I have started work at 4:30am; I have also gotten off work at midnight. My mother did shift-work for years, sometimes working in the middle of the night, sometimes at 6am, sometimes in the afternoon. My boyfriend often works in the middle of the day, from noon ’til 8 or 10. Etc.
    This whole “benefit of more daylight to everyone” thing depends on the counterfactual assumption that everyone works 9-5, which was never true to begin with, but is becoming increasingly more divorced from reality.

    @K E Decilon

    If you think they give a damn that you may have to go to bed at 5 in the afternoon in order to fit the work schedule they have determined is best profitable, you are sadly mistaken.

    as opposed to right now, when plenty of people already have to, and there’s no actual rule saying otherwise?

  66. says

    Jason @ 59:

    If one doesn’t like how light or dark it is, just change the hours that you work.

    Oh fuck off, would you? Being self-employed doesn’t mean you get to change reality, you know. I’m self-employed, and I still have to get up at an abominable hour (before noon) on a regular basis. Why? Clients, that’s why. You can call yourself self-employed all you like, but without custom, you don’t end up with that lovely, cold, hard cash. I quite like cash, so I have to deal with my clientele. I’d much prefer to chat with clients around 2 a.m., when I’m feeling energetic and happily working, but guess what? Most people don’t care to chat around 2 a.m. I’d much prefer every show I have or am in to start at midnight. Guess what? Yeah.

  67. thesandiseattle says

    I’d be all for eliminating DST. But I’d also like to see a switch to a decimal clock. It would take an adjustment but it would be more logical.

    chigau @ 50: Cats have there own ‘clock’. :)

  68. Walton says

    What we really need to do, is simplify our lives, enough so that the time zones don’t really matter.

    If one doesn’t like how light or dark it is, just change the hours that you work.

    Er, these suggestions might be rather difficult for those of us who are at the Bar.* I can’t imagine most judges would take kindly to “Sorry I didn’t turn up to court this morning, m’lord, but it just wasn’t light enough outside for my liking, and I decided that time zones don’t really matter anyway.” Nor indeed would my clients be particularly thrilled.

    (*The lawyer kind, not the kind that serves gins and tonic. But for that matter, I don’t imagine bartenders’ hours are that flexible either.)

  69. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    I think the point of daylight saving time is to give more people more daylight without making them enquire of every business what its winter or summer hours are and when they switch over or if they do.

    We had our chance with Swatch Time, based on Zurich time I believe, but it would run into the same problems. It would be good for e-mail, though.

  70. says

    @#73, IngisKahn

    Time zones aren’t magic. If as you say, they are the ONLY (which is silly) easy way to tell what time of day (in relation to the sun) it is elsewhere on the globe then go ahead and keep them for that reason. e.g. ABC is 7 hours ahead of XYZ (or they could just post their hours like they do anyway). But there’s no reason to set the clocks to different hour!

    This is like Libertarian claims that we can abolish the government and just set up services ad hoc as we discover the need. Start to imagine what the needs will be, and pretty soon you get every single bit of the government back — “well, let’s see… we need to prevent tainted food, because it’s hard to detect and we know people will willingly sell bad food if they can get away with it, so we’ll need people to inspect food, and food preparation areas, and then we’ll need a system to charge the violators, and then we’ll need a way to coerce companies into paying the fines… and we’ll need something similar for medications, because nobody knows what the heck goes into those… oh, hey, we can save some money and group some of this together, we’ll call it ‘Food and Drug Association’! Look at how that’s so much better than the FDA!”

    Do away with time zones, and you’ll have people starting to identify themselves by how far off they are from the “ideal” day which matches your clock. “Well, I’m Minus 6 Hours and Thirty Minutes, over here.” After a while, they’ll band together into groups based on area out of sheer convenience, so you’ll get stripes around the earth which identify themselves as “Plus 4 Hours” or whatever. Pretty soon, people will give them descriptive names for easier memorization: “Oh, they’re over in Pacific Coast Time”. And, of course, different countries will do things differently for one reason or another, and different languages will use different words for the same thing, so “American Atlantic Coast Time” will be called something else in Brazil. Computer programmers will have to learn to keep time codes along the lines of “[Universal Time] +[hours]:[minutes]”.

    Or we could just stick with the current system, which is to record times in UTC and give local timezones as “UTC +[hours]:[minutes]” or “UTC -[hours]:[minutes]”… gee, the current system is exactly what you would force everyone to reconstruct from scratch, what a surprise!

    And, as I said above: more or less completely bug-free support for this already exists on computers, which is the only place where worrying about time storage and synchronization really becomes a problem. Every OS already has an API for handling all of this — if the stupider type of programmer would stop trying to reinvent the wheel every single time, this would be a complete non-issue.

    But no, let’s have it your way: let’s force a minimum of 80% of the world’s population (the number is only that low because we could all adopt Beijing time, which everyone in China already uses) to adapt to a new system which doesn’t actually solve any real problems, rather than requiring computer programmers, who make up approximately 0.01% of the world’s population, to learn to do their jobs. Yeah. Sounds great. Don’t you have something useful to do?