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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Forward

Thankfully, I had the day off today. I didn't have to worry about losing a precious hour of sleep. In fact, I didn't stumble out of bed until ten. I was one of the lucky ones. Millions of other working men and women had to pry their eyes open with crowbars and slap their circadian rhythms into shape, because of a wonderfully silly mandate we like to call Daylight Savings Time. DST, originally conceived by Benjamin Franklin, is designed to provide more usable hours of sunlight during the summer months. It is alleged to conserve energy as well, since artificial light is used for less time each day. Congress even decided to make the switch earlier this year to save more energy.

Look, I'm all for saving energy, but I sincerely wish DST would go the way of the dodo. It is ridiculously inconvenient and stupendously counterproductive. Any energy saved at night is surely lost each morning, when (Surprise!) early-risers have to turn on the lights to get ready. Our biological clocks have been built into us by evolution. There's not much we can do about the fact that the earth rotates about the sun on a pivoting axis and sometimes it's light and sometimes isn't. The 24 hour day is a function of life on this planet.

Which brings me to an interesting point. How will we measure time when we finally get off this rock? Will space-travelers remain harnessed to earth seconds or will they develop a new unit with which to sub-divide the day? What will happen if and when we encounter alien life? The odds of their planet rotating on its axis in the same period as hours isn't terribly good. Will the universe have to agree on a Greenwich Mean Time for the cosmos?

I think Poor Richard was a genius and by all accounts a snazzy dresser. I love his almanac, his high-flying kite, and his public libraries. But this Daylight Savings Time needs to go.

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