Saturday, March 10, 2018

Happy Almost 100th Birthday, Standard Time

When I visited Florida (from my native New York City) for the first time in July of 1966, I was amazed to discover that Florida, in the same time zone as my New York City, was an hour behind New York City time.

They were on year round standard time.  They didn't jump ahead an hour at the beginning of spring.  They had the same time year round.  What a concept!

Now, residents of all but a handful of states (Hawaii and Arizona) will find themselves, tomorrow, an hour ahead of themselves,   Groggily, they will march into the week ahead bemoaning Daylight time.  Why do we need it?  Why do we do it?

Spring ahead.  Fall back.  Which we all do dutifully, if not with grumbling.

After the pain of adjusting, we will forget all about it.

Until the first Sunday in November, when we gain the hour back, and, once again, bemoan the return to standard time.
Standard time.

So what the heck is Standard time?  Why is my time zone called Eastern Standard Time during the winter and Eastern Daylight Time during the summer?

On March 19, 1918 (so we are not quite at the 100th birthday of this thing), the United States adopted the Standard Time Act, enacting time zones and daylight time.

In 1919, daylight time was repealed.

But then it returned.  Again and again, to the western world.  The timeline is fascinating.

Now, Florida, the same state that didn't have daylight time in July of 1966, is wanting to have it year round.

Not so fast, Florida.  It seems no state has the authority to authorize year round daylight time.

And since Western Florida is in a different time zone than Eastern Florida, things could get really confusing when Florida interacts with the rest of the eastern United States.  (Just ask Indiana, which had a mish-mash of Eastern Daylight, Eastern Standard, Central Daylight and Central Standard times, depending on your county, until 2006.  I can tell you from experience it made driving through Indiana during the summer somewhat interesting.)

Last fall, Massachusetts wanted to go on year round daylight time (or even make up their own time zone).  That went nowhere, too.

So, for how much longer will we go through this?   Maybe until Standard Time celebrates its 200th birthday?

Finally, just to get a laugh we all need, let's watch British comedian and satirist John Oliver's take on the topic.

What do you think of springing ahead/falling back?

15 comments:

  1. This is fun and informative for sure. Doesn't Arizona however not do the switch at all? I have a far harder time in the spring for sure. Giving up an hour? Yuk.

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    1. Arizona does not do the switch at all, which I found out by traveling through Arizona years and years ago. They still don't do it. I'll blame that one on cold medicine, too.

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  2. Should that be 1918? One year I was travelling between Arizona, Nevada and Utah and was constantly resetting my watch. And I am so tired of listening to folks on the radio today talking about more daylight. What idiots!

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    1. Yes, it should and I corrected it (I will blame it on the cold medicine I am taking). Thank you!

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  3. Replies
    1. I love John Oliver. Just don't want to pay to get his show on HBO.

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  4. Arizona doesn't do it, but the Indian reservations in Arizona do. As if it weren't confusing enough as it was. Indiana used to stay on standard time all year until they were threatened with loss of highway funds or something.

    As for Daylight Saving Time, I hate it.

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    1. I hate the time change - and now here we are, going through it.zzzzz

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  5. Why is Daylight Saving Time still a thing? It’s confusing, doesn’t achieve its stated purpose of saving energy, and messes with everyone’s circadian rhythm. I remember during the energy crisis in the early 70’s, we went on Double Daylight Saving Time, and I found myself arriving at my junior high school in the dark. Seriously. Classes began at 7:30 in the morning, and in late December and early January sunrise is around 7:15 - 7:30 standard time. With Double a Daylight Savings in effect, we were in school two hours before sunrise. How did that help the energy crisis?

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    1. I remember that year (1974?) with the extra daylight time - I was in college and had to go to my 8am classes in the dark - it was not at all fun, and I don't see how it helped anything (we were having the gas rationing, too-which impacted my then-fiance, who owned a car.)

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  6. You know I would be totally happy with year round dst. I like the extra hour of daylight.

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    1. I would like the extra daylight at night - but going to work in the dark for most of the year - nope.

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  7. I just want to pick a time and stay there! Can we just start our own? Like . . . Funtime. Year round? Who's with me?
    P.S. That John Oliver video is HILARIOUS!!!

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    1. Year round funtime? I'm in, Diane!

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  8. I don't much care, to be honest. I get the logic behind it. I understand why people get upset. But it's too much bother for me to put any emotion into it. So, I don't.

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