Sunday, April 02, 2006

Time to change

Oh its that time of the year, when time has to change. The first Sunday in April has arrived and we have to about adjusting clocks, watches, the VCR, the microwave, and many other places where time is displayed. It has gotten to such a frenzy that a few good minutes of the already shortened Sunday morning is spent running about changing clocks. But the good thing is that, in what would be an unique exercise, what time takes away, it gives back. In October, Sunday has an extra hour, because of the reversal of this process.

If you are wondering, what i am talking about, this is the time when, the US and i think Canada too, change to Day light Saving mode. The concept is pretty confusing at best, to understand. The summer in the northern hemisphere creates longer days, and sometimes never ending days. At the height of summer, the sun doesn't set until 9pm or so. And that is partially because of the Daylight Saving Time. The effect is supposed to allow the country save millions of dollars, because of the cost of electricity saved in lighting up streets and buildings etc. Of course the real impact is that, no one saves anything really, the longer day simply increase the opportunity to be up and about and spent more money on something else.

Although this time change, passes of without major incidents, there have been an ocassion or two, when i have missed this process and found out much later. In April, the mix up has cost you an hour or you have arrived late, and in October, the same mix up, may come as pleasant surprise. The confusion and bewilderment is higher amongst people from outside the US, specially the places where there is no concept of daylight time change.

An interesting conversation to be shared, before i end this. My friend was talking to his uncle, who was stationed in Saudi Arabia, and before he finished the conversation, he alerted his uncle about the time change, so that there is no confusion when the speak next week.
my friend: we will be changing the time next week
uncle: what do you mean, you will be changing the time ?
friend: well the time will be changed by an hour on sunday
uncle (still confused): why are you changing the time ?
friend: the entire country, all of the US will be changing the time
This is was about the time of the first gulf war, 1991, so people were just about getting used to some arbitary and unilatteral decisions by the US. This friend's uncle also assumed this was one such decision.
uncle: how can the US decide to change the time ? How can they do something with out talking to other countries ?

Tags: usa, daylight, time+change, timezone, daylight+saving, EST, EDT

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