Posted by: brandextenders | March 7, 2015

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

I was speaking with someone recently in Arizona about scheduling a call the following week and typically it’s a no-brainer. Here’s the fly in the ointment (an odd term I’m going to research): I’m scheduling an appointment on a day that is still in daylight standard time, but the day of the call is after we’ve shifted to Daylight Saving Time (DST) which Arizona doesn’t observe. They’re in Mountain Time (MT) today and will still be in MT in three days, but here in Eastern Time (ET) we’ll have moved ahead an hour. So if they’re two hours behind today, will they be three hours behind next week? I’m assuming so, but need to be sure since this is an important client. I’m beginning to feel as though I should be on the show, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” since I’m having trouble with something seemingly so simple. I started Googling to see if I could find a site that would show the time different between various locations during DST with no luck, but I did learn a lot about this controversial topic.
DST vs. MST vs. EST. Oy vey!

DST vs. MST vs. EST. Oy vey!

I was surprised to learn this is not a universally adopted concept and that half or less of the world’s population makes the shift and those that do aren’t in sync on when it happens. In the U.S. we spring ahead on March 8th and fall back on November 1, but in the European Union they move ahead March 29 and fall back October 25. Those crazy Euros, they always have to be different, don’t they? The concept of adjusting schedules to take advantage of the longer hours of summer daylight goes back to ancient civilizations. In modern times, as the U.S. envoy to France, Benjamin Franklin wrote an anonymous, satirical letter urging Parisians to economize on candles by getting up earlier in the day during the summer months. He suggested taxing shutters, rationing candles and waking cities at sunrise with church bells and cannon blasts, but he never proposed DST as is often cited. In 1905 a well-known English outdoors-man, William Willett, conceived the idea of shifting clocks ahead during the summer, published an article on the subject two years later and lobbied for the change until his death in 1915. Ironically, the tipping point was World War I when German and its allies set their clocks ahead in April of 1916 with other countries following suit the next year and the U.S finally hoping on board in 1918.

A benefit touted early on was more time for outdoor leisure activities. During the war, when it began, it was touted as a way to alleviate hardships from shortages of coal and air raid blackouts. After the war, many countries permanently ended its use, as did the U.S. It wasn’t until 1966 it was finally standardized here although there continue to be detractors and occasional pushes to end it. And what are the benefits? One of the earliest advantages touted was that it saves energy, mostly the use of incandescent lights. In today’s world though, recent studies have shown that higher use of air conditioning around the world tends to negate the savings from using less lighting. Benefits on health, public safety, the economy and reduced crime continue to be debated and chances are unless something substantial changes, our current use of DST will continue.
Part of Arizona along with Hawaii, Midway Atoll, Wake Island and a small region of Alaska don’t observe DST, each for different reasons. In Arizona they say they need another hour of sunlight like they do a whole in the head because of the summer heat. Oh and one final note, count quickly how many S’s there are in the term. Until yesterday I would have said two and I would have been wrong. It’s Daylight Saving Time, no “s” at the end of saving. As the website Daylight Saving Time says, “Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle). It modifies time and tells us more about its nature; namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight.” A better name for this would actually be Daylight Shifting Time or even Daylight Time Shifting since we don’t save any daylight.
So now you know more than you ever needed to about Daylight Saving Time. As to my question about Arizona and the time difference between Atlanta and Phoenix, it’s a three-hour difference beginning at 2:00 a.m., Sunday, March 8, 2015. And in case you need to know more, here are a few links to check out:

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