Daylight Saving Time: not the rant you might expect

turned off macbook pro near a cup of coffee

Grumpy Research Nerd rant incoming.

I know a lot more about Daylight Saving Time than the average bear. I’ve lived through every change made to the 1966 Uniform Time Act (yes, federal DST is younger than me) & the issue lives in my sweet zone at the intersection of history, biology, and data analysis. I’ve done a ton of research & have the bibliography to prove it.

Because of this, I’m doing a lot of muttering to myself online this week. As in, “do not read the comments, do NOT read the comments, FFS THINK OF YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE, DO NOT LOOK AT THE COMMENTS!”

The number of people trumpeting DST opinions from positions of total historical, statistical, & medical ignorance is always high around this time of year, but THIS year, it’s worse than ever. The potential for permanent DST has turned up the crankiness to 11.

Yes, I have Firmly-Held Views on the topic. They’re probably weirder than you think. They’re also data-driven conclusions which address a lot of the objections from both sides of the “but permanent X would suck because Y” line, but I have no illusions that my ideas would ever be implemented.

No, I’m not going into detail. In person, over a beverage, with popcorn? I’ll be happy to pull out my charts, tables & beloved graphs. It’s fucking fascinating stuff, I swear.

I’ll say only 2 things here:

1) if you think the main purpose of The Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 is to make federally-mandated Daylight Saving Time permanent everywhere in the US forever, you are wrong (go look at the text of the bill. Go on. I’ll wait. It won’t take long.)

A summary for those who hate to click: unless you’re familiar with the 1966 Uniform Time Act, The Calder Act and other federal laws governing Daylight Saving, The Sunshine Protection Act reads like gibberish. The meat of the whole act is the line reading, “and for other purposes.”

It’s putting the right to decide state time back in state hands. Not Big Guvmint Overreach, but a unicorn rarity of a law that corrects a past overreach! No wonder states-rights limited government Republicans like it, eh?

2) all change is hard, and while not all change is bad, there’s not much good to say about twice-annual time shifts. It’s self-inflicted change for change’s sake. None of the reasons for the initial adoption of DST over 100 years ago make sense in this day & age. And no matter when the clock says the sun is coming up or going down, there will never be adequate daylight in winter at higher latitudes.

(My favorite comment so far was someone’s response to a lengthy polemic on kids dying at cold, pitch-black pre-dawn bus stops, which went like this: *Laughs in Alaska at Midwinter Solstice*)

ANYway. I said I wasn’t going to get into details, so I should stop now that it’s already too late.

One last thing: do not come at me with any of the Usual Arguments, please. (“Why not Just One Global Time Zone? China Does it!” “We can’t do DST year round, we’ll All Die In The Dark!” “DST Would Work Better For Everyone!”)

I am not in the mood & I have delete-comment powers.

I’ve been Very Busy Offline & On, but that’s all for later. Ta for now!

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