Comments

  1. procyon says

    Rather than change daylight savings time, which actually adds productivity to the economy, perhaps they could come up with a simpler solution. If they shortened summer by one month and added a couple of weeks to spring and fall respectively it would reduce the amount of that hot summer sun and add to the wetter times of year thereby reducing the evaporative affects of the sun and reducing droughts. People just need to learn to think outside of the box.

  2. shelldigger says

    Head —–> Desk

    Dear Chris Hill from Albury, please get a vasectomy, before it’s too late!

  3. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    If he’s old enough to remember the pre-DST days, he’s probably done all the spawning he’s going to do.

    Of course if he’s that old he should have heard about the Dust Bowl.

  4. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Also just realized we shouldn’t be assuming that Chris has testicles.

  5. johnlee says

    There’s a place for Chris Albury in the Trump administration somewhere. This kind of talent needs to be put to the servicde of the public.

  6. Mark Jacobson says

    I’m going to invoke Poe’s law here, this does suspiciously read as humor.

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

    It is the inability to tell for sure whether or not something is intended as a joke that makes it a Poe.

    While others may be more sure than I, my spidey-sense says Poe as well.

  8. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Even if this were a joke, the newspaper took it seriously and treated it as a valid opinion that merits space on its letters to the editor page. (Granted, getting a letter to the editor published in a small town newspaper is a low hurdle, but still….)

  9. woozy says

    It is the inability to tell for sure whether or not something is intended as a joke that makes it a Poe.

    To be a Poe, doesn’t it have to be intended to deceive? Poe’s laws all very fascinating and all, but it seems to me people who invoke “Poe!” seem to be placing the blame on the supposed idiot/creationist/political party they dislike when it seems it should be the people falling for the Poe who are so insistent that these idiot/creationist/political party must be so stupid they fail to see an (obvious) joke.

    I mean to say, that Poe’s occur really says more about the people claim “those guys are idiots” than it does about “those guys”. If I wrote a letter about the grad canyon being God’s footprint and we should mount an expedition to find a toenail, and some-one took it seriously; it seems they’d attempt to invoke Poe’s law “see creationists are so stupid I had to take this seriously; this shows they are stupid”, whereas in actuality this doesn’t show anything about supposed creationists who had nothing to do with this, and instead reflect on the Poe-caller because the *want* so much to believe it was real.

    Any way…. as amusing as this letter was, I’m not sure what point posting it was intended to make.

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

    Poe’s law is an adage of Internet culture stating that, without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression of the parodied views.[1][2][3]

    The original statement of the adage, by Nathan Poe, was:[1]

    Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won’t mistake for the genuine article.

    It is the fact that something will inevitably be taken by some to be serious and some to be parody that creates the situation Poe was describing. Something that might-or-might-not be a parody is therefore a Poe. Something that could only be a parody is not described by Poe’s law and thus is not a Poe.

    It’s possible, though, you could feel entirely certain it’s a parody while being equally certain some people will believe it’s serious. Then you’d have a Poe despite having (personal) certainty.

  11. woozy says

    Even if this were a joke, the newspaper took it seriously and treated it as a valid opinion that merits space on its letters to the editor page.

    Your newspaper never publishes joke letters?

  12. Rob Grigjanis says

    Also, leap years are fucking with Earth’s orbit. Damn you, Pope Gregory XIII. Damn you to hell.

  13. woozy says

    It is the fact that something will inevitably be taken by some to be serious and some to be parody that creates the situation Poe was describing.

    I agree that this satisfies the condition of a Poe. But I think the significance of it being a Poe, says less about idiots who could believe something this stupid, and does about the scoffers who are so positive that such idiots are out there in mass believing things this stupid.

    I mean, we the skeptics can make *anything* a Poe simply be being pig-headed and taking everything seriously. Creationism is in bizarre extreme stupidity in that they are so stupid that any crazy idea *could* be believed; but anti-DSTers are not. The fact that *we* think they could be that stupid, does not in any way imply that they *are* that stupid.

  14. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Your newspaper never publishes joke letters?

    Not like this, at least not on the letters to the editor page. Of course, my paper is the Washington Post.

    You might see something like this in the Style Invitational.

  15. KG says

    Your newspaper never publishes joke letters? – woozy@15

    Indeed. I’ve had letters in the Grauniad on “the gradual tilting of our island home” (Britain) with suggested measures including a ban on heavy industry in the south-east, and one arguing that Attila the Hun was a Welsh nationalist (in response to one claiming Hitler was a socialist).

  16. mond says

    I found this letter inspirational and as a result come up with a solution for global warming which doesn’t involve all the hassle and money that it currently looks like we need.

    If the global temperature is going to climb by 2-3 degrees centigrade, we simply re-calibrate the scale by knocking 3 degrees of each current value. Instantly the planet is cooler and we are all saved.*

    *It does mean the USA has to dump Fahrenheit but its a small price to pay.

  17. Scientismist says

    My favorite of this kind of letter from my local paper was one that commented about an article on dark matter, suggesting that if scientists would just recognize that God can do whatever He wants with the Universe, then they wouldn’t have to spin such theories about how it all works. It may fit the definition of a Poe (that is, it might have been sincere, or might be a joke, and some people will probably take it either way); but as I recall it sounded sincere to me. What impressed me was that it’s logic is really irrefutable — and fatal to science if taken to heart.

    My guess is that editors sometimes can’t resist including letters like this just to help their readers understand the impressive range of opinion and belief that is out there. Of course it is exactly that understanding that makes it hard to tell a sincere opinion from the kind of fake complaint letters that John Cleese used to read between Python skits. — “Many of my best friends are lumberjacks, and only a few of them are transvestites. Yours faithfully, Brigadier Sir Charles Arthur Strong (Mrs.) P.S. I have never kissed the editor of the Radio Times.”

  18. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    While we’re at it, we need to move the deer crossings away from heavy traffic.

    What kind of irresponsible government agency keeps expecting the deer to cross the road in such dangerous places??

  19. says

    Procyon @

    “Rather than change daylight savings time, which actually adds productivity to the economy”

    Sure, if you work in the local emergency department. Losing that one hour actually causes a rise in injuries and traffic fatalities.

  20. kestrel says

    Ha ha. Yes, local papers will print letters like this, although usually they are quite serious.

    I used to be production manager at such a paper. Our editor had a “Man on the Street” column and he would quote what people actually said… and sometimes, they would use the word “shit” in their response. Of course, he had to quote them exactly – that was the whole point. We got a letter to the editor from a woman scolding the editor for using improper language, saying she expected better of him than to use words she did not approve of. Naturally, everyone in the production department wanted to title that letter “Cut That Shit Out” but the editor would not let us.

  21. chrislawson says

    Scientismist@22 — I don’t agree that the logic was impeccable. Even if you accept the premise that god created the universe and every physical law and the best argument we can come up with as to why is “because god wants it that way”, it absolutely does not follow that we should give up on trying to maximise our understanding about our universe.

    This argument is usually presented by people who have very clear ideas about what god wants. What the letter represents is not a well-constructed argument about our inability to perfectly understand the universe, it’s an argument intended to shut off other arguments without addressing them. In my experience, this kind of logic is only held by someone who is angry with scientists and philosophers for presenting evidence and arguments that confound the letter-writer’s prejudices and wants to stop them from making any more upsetting statements.

  22. DanDare says

    Don’t be quick dismissing this as a poe. Queensland still doesn’t have daylight savings and each time it comes up there are phone in shows with stupid arguments like that. I remember back in the 70s a woman angrilly arguing it would fade her curtains.

  23. DanDare says

    Its apalling the lack of knowledge about the natural world. How many folks here have heard others express that summer is when the Earth is closer to the sun?

  24. jack16 says

    Why dump Fahrenheit? The USG would never know!

    The sly fun of mystifying the outs is a reason to create a Poe.

    jack16

  25. bargearse says

    DanDare @ 28

    Queensland did trial daylight savings one summer (late 80s or early 90s I forget exactly when). There was a curtain & blinds shop in Maroochydore that advertised extra UV protection to help cope with the additional hour of sunlight per day.

    The writer of this letter could be joking but I have no trouble believing it’s genuine, which of course makes it the perfect example of a Poe.,

  26. woozy says

    ” I remember back in the 70s a woman angrilly arguing it would fade her curtains.”

    Well, if you close and open your curtains at the exact same time of the clock every day whether it is light or dark, it could.

    ….

    Okay, this could be serious. I’ve known people who just don’t get logic and would find this reasonable. But I don’t think the newspaper publishing whether they thought it was a joke or serious it is indicative of anything at all.

    ….

    And I’m still not sure I get what point PZ is making by posting it. Everything *is* a social construct? Nothing is a social construct? Social constructs are a boogey-man for stupid arguments?

  27. rayceeya says

    As much as I resent daylight savings time and doubt its worth, this is patently ridiculous. This guy really thinks we can add an extra hour of daylight to our 24hr cycle just like we can arbitrarily change the speed limit on the highway.

    Even flat earthers and geo-centrists aren’t this dumb.

  28. chrislawson says

    To be fair, Queensland is a huge state that reaches from S9.8.23 to S29.10.653 (i.e. further south than Johannesburg). Half the state is tropical and half is subtropical, and daylight saving is much less useful in the tropics where diurnal variation is much smaller.

    Some people have argued for DST in the southern parts of Queensland where the benefits would be significant, but this tends to play badly in the north where the people don’t want DST and don’t want to be in a different time zone to Brisbane, the state capital. So it’s never been a political battle that any of the main parties have been willing to fight.

    Having said all that, there are plenty of Queenslanders who have frankly bizarre ideas about DST, and plenty more who take stupid stubborn pride in doing things differently to other states (even when other states’ approaches are demonstrably superior).

  29. blf says

    How many folks here have heard others express that summer is when the Earth is closer to the sun?

    Which happens to be true — at the present time — in Ozland and other places where hook-books are needed to stay attached to the Earth.

  30. ramases2 says

    This has been doing the rounds on social media here in Australia for some years. It is not clear which paper it is from and I, like others, I have some doubt about its authenticity.

    That said, I must defend Albury against the scurrilous insinuations that have been made about it in this thread. I have close relatives living there and visit it regularly. It is not a “small town” and not, as one poster seems to think, in Queensland. It is not in central anywhere, it is on the state border between Victoria and New South Wales. It has a university and I lectured there once. It is a fine town. Some of its residents have fine intellects and some even a sense of humour.

  31. billyjoe says

    Anthonybarcellos,

    Well, it confuses my cats. When daylight saving ends, they’re pestering me for about a hour before supper time. I gave in eventually. They are unteachable.

  32. billyjoe says

    “Dear Chris Hill from Albury, please get a vasectomy, before it’s too late!”

    This reminds me of a time many years ago when I was on a three month rotation to Albury-Wodonga. One of my workmates had just had a vasectomy but, unfortunately, the surgeon cut the artery instead of the vas, so he ended up with a testicular implant. The surgeon was such a friendly bloke that it never even crossed his mind to sue him. The surgeon, however, did decide to retire. After all, he was just over ninety years of age.

    ——-

    I also thought is was likely a Poe – consistent with Crip Dyke’s definition which is, I think, the correct definition. In essence, the writer intends it as a joke (or intends for it to be a Poe) AND it ends up being interpretated by some readers as an intended joke (or an intended Poe), and by other readers as a genuinely expressed point of view, because it aligns closely with the mistaken view of some deluded subsection of the population.

    ————

    As for those curtains: if they continued to be opened and closed at the same time each day, they would either fade more or fade less, or not much different, depending on the direction your curtains are facing. Curtains facing the rising sun would fade more. Curtains that face the setting sun would fade less. curtains facing north or south would not fade about the same.

  33. Colin J says

    I was in Queensland over Easter, right by the NSW border. So close that our various devices kept switching between standard time and daylight saving time pretty much at random. Normally I’m a big fan of daylight saving but this year it was a great relief on Sunday when it ended. It must be a huge pain in the arse to live on the border.

    These days there are so few clocks I need to adjust when daylight saving begins/ends. But sometimes having a mechanical watch is very handy!

  34. zetopan says

    “Even flat earthers and geo-centrists aren’t this dumb.”

    You clearly haven’t been reading enough of their literature! For some of them “gravity” does not exist
    and the sun is a spotlight that orbits in a circle above the flat earth.
    http://blackbag.gawker.com/the-earth-is-flat-explained-1755002534
    https://wiki.tfes.org/Frequently_Asked_Questions
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyAh9OENJPU
    There tons more and they frequently make ridiculous counterfactual arguments.

  35. bargearse says

    Colin J @ 41

    It must be a huge pain in the arse to live on the border.

    A fact that is somewhat made up for on New Year’s Eve. It can be slightly bemusing watching people literally just crossing the street so they can ring in the new year a second time in one night.

  36. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    “Rather than change daylight savings time, which actually adds productivity to the economy”

    Sure, if you work in the local emergency department. Losing that one hour actually causes a rise in injuries and traffic fatalities.

    Well, to be fair, if morning people couldn’t force everyone else out of bed an hour early for no fucking reason, they’d have to set kittens on fire to get their jollies instead.

  37. graham2 says

    Twice a year, Stone henge has to be (laboriously) rotated forward, then back, to allow for daylight saving.

  38. birgerjohansson says

    “Twice a year, Stone henge has to be (laboriously) rotated2
    The priests in Pratchett’s “The Light Fantastic” had the same problem.
    — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
    Totally OT
    Police has raided Trump’s lawyer, Cohen, to get info on the Stormy Daniels’ payments.
    “Why Robert Mueller Handed Off the Michael Cohen Raid” https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/04/why-robert-mueller-handed-off-the-michael-cohen-raid.html -this will be interesting. Even if Trump fires Mueller, the investigations will go on.

  39. wearsbellsonlegs says

    Not just Stonehenge, Graham2. They’re kept busy at all the megalithic sites. Just google “Another busy night at all the British henge sites”. Pictorial evidence, see!

  40. ajbjasus says

    Reminds me of the old one :

    When told the reason for daylight saving time the old Indian (sic) said…
    ‘Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.’

  41. KG says

    It does mean the USA has to dump Fahrenheit – mond@21

    What are you, some kinda Communist?

  42. says

    Welcome to Australia.

    Arguing about the detrimental effects of Daylight Saving is a national pastime. As is deadpan humour.

    Albury is a (fairly large) country town, and I’m pretty sure everyone there is busy pointing out they got the address wrong, as Chris is actually based in Wodonga. (Of course, over there, they say that the other way around)[1].

    [1] Albury-Wodonga is a split township on either side of the border between New South Wales and Victoria, two states which have traditionally had a strong rivalry. Albury is on the NSW side, Wodonga is on the Victorian side. The intra-mural football match between Albury and Wodonga has to be played by their respective soccer teams.

  43. laurian says

    I choose to think the LTE was a well played piece of satire. The alternative it too dire.

  44. mond says

    KG @49

    What are you, some kinda Communist?

    Yes, the idea that water freezes at zero degrees at sea level is one of my strongest political principles.

  45. kaleberg says

    That’s hilarious.

    Daylight savings time seems to encourage the absurd. After all, it does introduce some apparent absurdities. For example, every year there is an hour that doesn’t exist and an hour that happens twice. It’s possible to make an appointment for a time that gets skipped over when people set their clocks forward, and there is an ambiguity about when 1:30AM is on the morning that people set their clocks back. It’s like Gilbert and Sullivan’s song “Paradox” in which someone born on February 29th is not 21 years old because he hasn’t lived through 21 birthdays.

    If we didn’t change the clocks at such ridiculous times of the night, we’d have more charmingly absurd daylight saving time paradoxes in our stories and popular songs. It might help if we changed to and from daylight saving time at two in the afternoon, but I’m not actually suggesting this.

    P.S. While searching the internet for drought and daylight saving time, I couldn’t help noticing another effect. Droughts in areas dependent on hydroelectric power, for example in Chile and Tasmania, would now and then result in daylight saving time being extended to save energy. Perhaps the author of this article was inspired by this little known fact.

  46. billyjoe says

    Meg Thornton,

    That’d be like a fly wrestling a gnat.
    I’m assuming Albury has never lost a single match.

    My rotation was on the Wodonga side of the divide, but nearly all the work came from across the border, and you had to go over the border for all shopping and entertainment. There was a large hospital in Albury, but Wodonga had small unit staffed by local GPs.

  47. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Holy sheet, I thought the colleague of mine who reacted “similarly” to DST was a singular anomaly, He told me he was happy DST was abou to begin so as to provide his garden with the extra hour of sunlight it needed. I never thought anyone would try to link it to climate change being caused by the adoption of DST, which could fix climate change by dropping DST permanently.
    SMH
    sigh

  48. mostlymarvelous says

    Surely this letter was sent or published on 1st April.

    Someone somewhere publishes this stupid stuff every single April.

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