A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Time change: Stuck with a dumb idea

Written October 31st, 2018 by Hasso Hering

Enjoy the daylight while it lasts (this was Oct. 29). Starting Sunday there will be less at the end of the days.

Another pointless clock change is coming up Sunday, and it made me wonder what’s going on, timewise, in the rest of the world.

China may have the right idea. It does not observe daylight saving time. In fact, that huge country has only one legal time zone. Everybody goes by Beijing time. In the far west, they deal with this by starting the day’s activity, like work or school, at 10 in the morning or later.

Since 1996, the European Union has imposed daylight saving time from March until October. Finland is a member but doesn’t see the benefit. In its northern region the sun never sets in summer, and for a time in winter it never rises regardless of how much they fiddle with their clocks. The country asked for DST to end, so far without result.

This year, though, the EU conducted a survey in all its member nations. Some 4.6 million people expressed an opinion, and 84 percent wanted DST to be scrapped. The president of the European Commission said the change would be made, but it’s still a long way from being done.

In Canada, Saskatchewan is a special case. Most of the province is on Central Standard Time. It does not change the clocks for daylight saving time, but its neighbors do. And since Saskatchewan lies in the Mountain Time Zone, the effect is that the province has daylight saving time all year long.

In this country, Florida’s legislature voted overwhelmingly this year to keep the state on DST all year. But any deviation from standard time needs the approval of Congress. A bill to grant Florida’s wishes has stalled in committee. So like us in Oregon, people in Florida will turn back their clocks by Sunday.

A majority of Americans, according to various polls reported by CNN and others, seems to be OK with the time changes twice a year. But an outfit called EndDaylightSavingTime.org reports that a poll done for it found 74 percent of the 1,147 respondents wanted to stay on summer time all year.

In Oregon we’ve been warned by ODOT, again, that any disruption of people’s circadian rhythm caused by the time change is likely to cause an increase in drowsy driving, with serious and potentially deadly consequences. That alone, you would think, would cause lawmakers to act. But so far, no luck.

So once again, we’ll have to go around and reset a bunch of clocks, those that aren’t linked to the Internet or remotely controlled by radio waves. This may not be the dumbest thing we have to do, but it comes pretty close. (hh)

9 responses to “Time change: Stuck with a dumb idea”

  1. centrist says:

    After posting at least 6 time-zone changes a summer during annual roadtrips, the DST change is fairly trivial.
    Pretty tough on a former coworker though. His collection of 50ish digital watches HAD to display the correct time. Twice a year grumble, grumble, set, set, set. Didn’t take kindly to putting half on std and half on daylight

  2. Curious Citizen says:

    Thanks for the article!

    I wish we’d go back to the October time change and make it be the next to the last Sunday or sooner instead of the last Sunday in October. Now while we are getting closer to November 4th, I see students walking to the bus and waiting for the bus in the dark on school days. I wonder how much energy has been saved by the Energy Act of 2005’s time change shift and if it was worth it.

  3. hj.anony1 says:


  4. Omizais says:

    Did I miss it or did you totally leave out Hawaii? They also don’t abide by this farmer time change .

  5. HowlingCicada says:

    “””So once again, we’ll have to go around and reset a bunch of clocks, those that aren’t linked to the Internet or remotely controlled by radio waves.”””

    There’s a lot of noise on the web that those radio waves will go silent if the White House’s proposed budget for the NIST {National Institute of Standards and Technology) is passed by Congress. Search “WWVB shutdown” (without the quotes). Without WWVB – among many serious consequences – millions of “atomic clocks” will gradually drift away from accurate time. It’s probably not going to happen. As of June, both the House and Senate spending bills show much less of a cut than NIST proposed – that’s all I know about the status.

    The NIST proposal, quoting from page “NIST25”
    “””NIST will discontinue the dissemination of the U.S. time and frequency via the NIST radio stations in Hawaii and Ft. Collins, CO. These radio stations transmit signals that ere used to synchronize consumer electronic products like wall clocks, clock radios, and wristwatches, and may be used in other applications like appliances, cameras, and irrigation controllers.”””

    Here’s a good description of NIST’s proposal, written on Sept. 8 with no mention of Congressional action:
    “””The logic behind the proposed cuts is mystifying, as is the structure of the report, which on one hand explains how these services are essential to the country and cannot be duplicated by anyone else, and on the other hand proposes significant cuts to these very programs.
    All we can speculate by reading these tea leaves is that the Commerce Department – NIST’s parent agency – demanded across-the-board budget cuts for the coming fiscal year. Management responded by proposing draconian cuts to its primary missions in the hopes that public outrage would prompt Congress to restore the cuts in the final federal budget. It is the only possibility that makes any sense.”””

    There’s a name for what seems to be happening:

    Just because I’m calling out a typical bureaucratic ploy doesn’t mean I support the budget cuts. All this nonsense wouldn’t be necessary if we didn’t have a President more intent on ghostbusting than on supporting the institutions that actually made America great.

  6. Mike says:

    DST is stupid and has little to no benefit. People for it always reference farmers, but farmers all hate it. A county in Indiana just started using DST about 10 years ago, and actually saw an increase in power useage.

    No reason for it at all, either just move the clocks forward permanently or keep them where they are. Enough is enough

  7. Mitalene says:

    I absolutely hate “Falling back” to standard time every year! It just makes no sense & causes more problems than it’s worth. I’d vote for “Springing forward” permanently in a heartbeat!


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