Wednesday, March 6, 2013

If I Could Turn Back Time. Wait I can, it’s called Daylight Saving Time!

My friend, Tristan had a very important question for me this week.  Does Australia observe Daylight Saving Time?  I have to admit I had no clue so I had to look it up.  What did we do before the Internet?  Oh yeah, the library.  Ugh, books are so heavy and you have to like read them and stuff. I’m obviously kidding but I digress.

Modern society operates on some kind of standard time not solar time.  This is why school starts at 8AM every day regardless of it being light outside or not.  Yes, I know some schools start earlier than that but this is just crazy and I’m not going to acknowledge our overachieving society that doesn’t allow our kids to sleep in.  But once again, I digress.  Most of the world does not recognize Daylight Saving Time (DST).  However, most western cultures do so that means everywhere I have ever lived; including Australia.  There is a catch though.  Since we are in the Southern Hemisphere we are not going into Spring like America.  Nope, we are falling back.  Crazy, right?  

All of my life I have heard that DST was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin, that crazy, inventing, drinking, philandering founding father.  Not true.  What he actually suggested was that Parisians (he was living in France at the time) save their candles by waking up earlier and doing more stuff in the morning.  Yeah, that’s kinda like DST but Franklin did not start it in America.

Modern DST was actually first proposed by a Kiwi!  George Vernon Hudson was an entomologist in New Zealand and he presented a paper proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift throughout New Zealand. This was so he could have more time after work to collect more insects.  It made its way to Parliament and boom, DST starts in 1908.  Germany started in 1916 and Britain soon followed suit. The United States finally adopted it in 1918.  War changes everything, even time itself!
Can't make this stuff up

There is no real standard for countries to use DST.  This means that Arizona and Hawaii just say no.  Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, all don’t use DST. Plus, since we arbitrarily choose that in the U.S. you set your clocks back at 2:00AM this means that good ol’ Mountain Standard (I call it the forgotten time zone.  Or the smart time zone since TV tells everyone else when their program starts but never MST.  Hmmm?  Too much digressing today) Anyway, MST can be equal to or two hours ahead of Pacific Time depending on the time of year.  The magic hour.  I was always a little scared of the magic hour when playing music.  Best to get your schedule up front from the club owner so as not to get into a awkward conversation at the end of the night.  What do you mean we have to play an extra hour?  That’s not how this works!! Greedy club owners.

Some areas don’t even use one full hour.  Australia’s Lord Howe Island has decided it will just change on a half-hour shift. What? Doesn’t this all just seem like total chaos?  No wonder we all can’t agree on peace.  We can’t even agree on a standard time.
Lord Howe Island, Australia
courtesy of

Okay, so enough history, now I will really blow your mind. Only part of Australia observes DST but it’s the areas with the most people.  BUT, we don’t change our clocks until April 7th this year.  First weekend in April and first weekend in October, always.  Well, since 2007 anyway.   Europe is the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October. The United States is the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November.  In fact, all around the world even though most western societies observe DST, we all change it at different times.  

I feel like I’m Doctor Who now bending all space and time to my will. I mean, I am most likely writing this in your future.  Unless you are in Australia, I'm a day ahead of you.  Time travel is so legit.  

So, basically all of this means is that for the month of March and the month of October I will be even more confused on what time it is back home.  Thank God for Apps on the iPhone.

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