Sunday, November 6, 2011

Autumn's Here, and Daylight Saving Time Strikes Again

Sunday, November 6, 2011. It's that time of year, when pumpkins that didn't get converted into Jack 'o lanterns find their way into Thanksgiving displays. Or, this morning at Our Lady of Angels church, are pressed into service as makeshift doorstops.

The dock's been hauled ashore at the Sauk Lake public landing, down by the campground. Odds are pretty good that we're still a long way from having ice on the lake, but this is central Minnesota: and it doesn't hurt to be careful.

Autumn scene at Sauk Centre's public landing. November 4, 2011.

Folks who go in for yard decorations are probably concentrating on Thanksgiving Day themes at the moment, but as usual some folks are also getting their Christmas lights up now, before it snows.

First Christmas lights: First I've seen, anyway. They look better at night, of course. November 4, 2011.

This is the weekend when we're treated to jet lag, thanks to the 'spring forward/fall back' daylight saving time. Which I think may have been a slightly-sensible notion back in 1918. Today, not so much. I wrote about candle wax, Congress, and electric power, about a year ago, in one of my blogs. ("Ben Franklin and Daylight Saving Time: Even Homer Nods," posted in Apathetic Lemming of the North (November 7, 2010))

As a sort of joke, I came up with a proposal for 'improving' daylight saving time a few years ago. Happily, Congress hasn't enacted a single one of these ideas: each one as sensible as the system we have, I think. Here's what I wrote, back in 2008:

Daylight Saving Time: A Modest Proposal
Posted in Apathetic Lemming of the North (October 26, 2008)
  • Set clocks back 12 hours during August
    • Keeping people quiet during the day could save enormous amounts of energy that would otherwise be wasted on air conditioning in stores and offices
  • Set clocks back ten hours and forty minutes at noon on
    April 15
    • This 10:40 time shift would
      • Remind those who wait until the last minute to file tax returns of the date
      • Give them more than a full business-day's-worth of additional time to get their forms in
    • Ten hours and forty minutes is a large time shift, so clocks should be set forward one hour and twenty minutes at 2:00 a.m.
      • For eight days
        • April 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15
      • To minimize psychological stress
    • Although this stress-relieving measure might not save significant amounts of energy, the psychological effects could make a significant difference in quality of life
  • Finally, replace the evening of December 31 with
    Substance Abuse and Drug Interaction Study Time
    • Instead of over-indulging during New Year's Eve parties, citizens would be encouraged to learn about
      • Substance abuse
      • Dangers of mixing prescription drugs and alcohol
    • This should
      • Reduce deaths in drunk-driving accidents
      • Alleviate the need for expensive security measures in places like New York's Times Square
      • Promote sober, healthy lifestyles among the general public
On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't joke about this sort of thing. With an election coming up, someone might run on a 'more silly rules about time keeping' platform - and win.

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