Saturday, October 31, 2015

Why Daylight Savings Time is a Very Good Thing.

OK, daylight savings time is not about the "spring-forward" or "fall-back" days that mildly inconvenience us. I love DST, and here's why:

It's about getting the sun to rise somewhere between 5 AM and 7 AM year round, as best as possible, in every given time zone.

Without it, here in Detroit, we'd have a sunrise on June 21st at 4:55 AM. That's a lot of wasted daylight, but it's not the worst thing in the world. However, we're on the forgiving western edge of a timezone. On the other side of the Eastern Time Zone, Bangor Maine would have a 3:49 AM sunrise on June 21st. Let's all accept this as unacceptable and move along.

So why not just go to DST all year round you might ask?

We on the western edge of a timezone would suffer the most! Over on the east edge of the timezone (Bangor, again), on the solstice, they'd get an 8:00 AM start, and sunset at 4:54 PM. They can muddle through that, I suppose. However, on the western edge, like Detroit, if we were under DST all year, we'd have our latest sunrise (interestingly enough, NOT on the winter solstice) in early January around 9:01 AM, and sunset at 5:59.

Anyone want to be at their desks for an hour BEFORE the sun comes up?

Thus concludes my arguments for the merits of inconveniencing ourselves two days out of the year, to not suffer what would feel like an intolerable timeshift in our circadian rhythms for months on end around the solstices.

Rest easy. Fall back. You're welcome

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Retrospective on a retrospective

I wrote this post 7 years ago in a facebook feature so old that its now deprecated.

I'm posting here for two reasons: it's still relevant and I don't want to lose it.

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We've been summoning up the imagery from 9/11/2001 so often over the past seven years, that the events of that day become a sort of abstract reference to itself. Speeches honoring the victims and heroes each year draw us ever further from the visceral experience of that day. 

Of course we've been hearing all about it today, and mostly it just sort of hung around in the back of my head all day, without much impact on me, and certainly no more than any of the previous 5 anniversaries of that day.

I was in class late tonight, so I haven't been around the house much. I walked outside to let the dog back in, and an airplane passed overhead. Then the real memories of September 11th flooded back to me.

I remember around this time of night seven years ago, after a day of silent skies, the first aircraft I had heard in the sky all night were fighter jets flying over my house. I remember first how odd the silence had been all evening (I live under a pretty crowded flight corridor into Metro). Next I remember how the sound startled me, and the image of a flight of fighters overhead, protecting me from who-knows-what, stunned me. 

I remember spending the day worrying about friends in New York and Washington. I remember my relief as their phone calls and e-mails came through to me to tell me they were alright. 

I remember how badly my yearning that day was to simply *not be alone*.

But most of all, I remember how uncertain I felt at that moment about our future, as a nation, as a people, and as a specie.