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30 Mar 08
Saving daylight
I've made it a tradition to think about the usefulness of Daylight Saving Time each time I set the clocks, since I always seem to forget about the rationale behind the practice. I generally forget a lot of things, but this one is different. The thing is, if the benefits of it were obvious to me, I don't think I'd forget it. Moreover, whenever I read about it, it really IS quite complicated.

Wikipedia says that it's about advancing the clocks so that the afternoons get more daylight and the mornings less. The reasons for this practice have varied, but goals such as saving energy and increasing time for outdoor activities in the light are often stated. Energy would be saved by reducing the amount of lighting needed in the afternoon. But few modern studies indicate any reduction.

Anyway, I'm going to skip this energy saving discussion. I'll just say that it seems that the further up north you come, the more polarizing will the effect of the DST be. That is, in the summer time, it will prolong the evenings, which is good, but they are already very long. In the winter, switching back will shorten the evenings, and believe me, there ARE no evenings in the winter here. This switching back has always felt like a stupid move. It seems that for me, the summer time would better in the winter, too. How could that be?

Well of course, ALL these inconveniences stems from the fact that we live in a synchronized and industrialized world. We simply can't adapt our lives to the light of the sun as we see fit because we would be severely out of sync with the rest of the society (and as a nation, with the rest of the world). Not very insightful, considering I've thought about it twice each year. But perhaps someone could invent a more dynamic system, one that would retain the syncronicity but still being more adaptive to the sunlight conditions all over the globe?
written by Mattias
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