02 April 2005

Eight Days a Week or just DST?

Finally getting a chance to post an update in here. This past week was a whirlwind coming out of the Easter weekend. Never seems to be enough time to get it all accomplished. My weekly "things to do list" works like the lottery jackpot..... if all the items don't get done, they 'roll over' into the next week. Looking at the length of this week's list, we need a winner real soon. As Queen Wanda would say, "Git 'er done!"

Solid sog predicted for this weekend. Weather radar just a massive green blob. (Check the NKNOC Weather Center for an update). Kinda puts a quash on anyone's plan for pulling a 'George Hamilton' out on the back deck. Been raining slow & steady since last night. Reminds me of one of my favorite blues standards.... " The Sky is Cryin' " by Elmore James. Maybe crying for Pope John Paul II? 1000's in St. Peter's Square are.

This is the weekend for adusting the clocks ahead to DST (Daylight Saving Time), for those who live in places that do such a thing. Here are a few facts about DST:

Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the United States at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April. Time reverts to standard time at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time. During DST, clocks are turned forward an hour, effectively moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.

The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time.
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. It is a saving daylight kind of time. Similar examples would be dog walking time or book reading time. Since saving is a verb describing a single type of activity, the form is singular.

Nevertheless, many people feel the word savings (with an 's') flows more mellifluously off the tongue, and Daylight Savings Time is also in common usage, and can be found in dictionaries.
Part of the confusion is because the phrase Daylight Saving Time is inaccurate, since no daylight is actually saved. Daylight Shifting Time would be better, but it is not as politically desirable. the British Time (Extra Daylight) Bill was introduced by John Butterfill, attempting the impossible -- to legislate extra daylight. Not surprisingly, the bill did not pass.

In the U.S., clocks change at 2 am local time. In Spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 am to 3 am; in Fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 am to 1 am. In the EU, clocks change at 1 am Universal Time. In Spring, clocks spring forward from 12:59 am to 2 am; in Fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 am to 1 am. Nationwide, U.S. restaurants and bars have varied closing policies. In many states, liquor cannot be served after 2 a.m. But at 2 a.m. in the Fall, the time switches back one hour. So, can they serve for that additional hour in October? The official answer is that the bars do not close at 2 a.m. but actually at 1:59 a.m. So, they are already closed when the time changes from Daylight Saving Time into Standard Time. In practice however, many establishments stay open an extra hour in the Fall. In the U.S., the changeover time was chosen to be 2 am, when most people are at home and, originally, the time when the fewest trains were running. This is practical and minimizes disruption. It is late enough to minimally affect bars and restaurants, and prevent the day from switching to yesterday (which would be confusing). It is early enough that the entire continental U.S. has switched by daybreak, and the changeover occurs before most early shift workers and early churchgoers (particularly on Easter).

Daylight Saving Time, for the U.S. and its territories, is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, most of the Eastern Time Zone portion of the State of Indiana, and the state of Arizona (not the Navajo Indian Reservation, which does observe). Navajo Nation participates in the Daylight Saving Time policy, due to its large size and location in three states.

Many fire departments encourage people to change the battery in the smoke detector when they change their clocks, because it can be so easy to forget otherwise. A working smoke detector more than doubles a person's chances of surviving a home fire. More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke detectors, but one-third are estimated to have worn-out or missing batteries!?!

Thanks to www.webexhibits.org for the above info.

Now don't you feel smarter already? Check out the Web Exhibits website for more on DST and many other topics. Trouble here is that the NKNOC Labs has too many clocks to adjust. We always manage to miss one somewhere, and then finally notice that it's off an hour a few weeks later. Our favorite timepiece here is the 'Atomic Clock' powered one up on the wall that sets its own time (every night for that matter, not just twice a year). Thanks to AMSO2 for that. As for presently occurring time... we are currently out of it for this post.

Until next time....