Archive for March, 2010

Valley of the time zones

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

The latest they can figure, as of February 2010

This year, with a long winter and a slow to start spring, we’re really feeling the new(ish) sped up timing of daylight savings. You may or may not be dragging this morning. (interesting wiki entry on the legislation here)

This is the third year since the new mid-March start time. Being a native of one of the states that until recently rebelled against daylight savings time, I can tell you that it remains a complicated mess in places on the time zone dividing lines. The time zones aren’t so smooth, running in jagged, jumpy lines through the states. They follow geography — often political and economic geography as well as terrain.

Border counties along time zones tend to follow the time zone of where the jobs are. In Indiana, Cincinnati pulls some counties to Eastern, while Chicago pulls others to Central. In southern Indiana, you can still read one linguistic adaptation in the local papers’ references to ‘fast time and ‘slow time’ — as in, “the game will be held at Riverside Park at 6:40 p.m., fast time. (The state’s long convoluted history with DSL here) and here.

time zones circa 1967-77

DSL has always seemed folly, though I understand the benefits of having a little more light in the evening. A judge friend once explained that in Indiana, the drive-in movie lobby held sway over the legislature during a crucial period and it stuck. We are tool making animals. Time is a tool and bendable to popular will, sorta.

As for big benefits, there’s good reason to suspect that claims it saves a serious amount of energy. The main argument is that it moves the human cycle later in the day and into an zone where power is cheaper. It’s more peak load demand management than pure savings.

Most likely it’s a wash at best, in part because it does increase activity. The economic bump from it is measurable, especially in the going-out-and-doing-things sectors.

In that way, moving up the forward springing is acting as a stimulus. Since we kind of need that right now, I’m willing to pass up my semi-annual railing against that which is against nature. Besides, there’s a book that already does a pretty swell job.

Fast time or slow time, spring is coming on and we’ll see plenty of daylight soon on both sides of what we currently define as a day. Get back to me when they start altering that.

Era Divider

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

This entry marks the official era divider marking which posts were pulled from the original Cape Fear Mercury site. That site, which devolved into almost exclusively tracking major weather events, went on hiatus in 2009. There are quite a few of the CFM posts saved and you’re welcome to peruse them.