MARCH 13, 2007

Changing the changing of time needs to change

       Spring forward, fall back. We’ve done it for decades. We don’t always know when we do it and most of us certainly don’t know why and this year it’s confused many of us even more because it happened earlier. (But not many of us have done the calculations to figure out just how early.)
       The time change can throw off our internal clocks and mess up our cellphones and watches and other little gadgets and we rely on daily. But now we’re doing it early so once our bodies have finally adjusted we will once again have to reset all the little preprogrammed gizmos since they “spring forward” in the beginning of April as it had been for about 20 years.
       Don’t be surprised if you wake up in a couple of Sundays and you’ve got a different time on those electronic devices that usually update themselves. Unless it’s something like a computer that regularly downloads new information, it’ll change next month.
       For something that seems so simple to do – really, in the case of most alarm clocks it’s a matter of pressing the “hour” button once – there is really a lot that goes along with it.
       Not every area in the country or even world adjusts the time to reflect the majority of regions. In Canada it causes confusion with Mountain time and Central time. But when I stop and think about it, isn’t it easier to not touch the clock at all?
       We’re told that we get “an extra hour of daylight” but does the sun really know when our clocks change? And in the time zones that don’t make an adjustment, does the sun just not shine during the certain hour when the time is supposed to be moved ahead?
       There are three regions in Australia that don’t participate in this twice yearly ritual. China is spread out through five time zones and doesn’t follow Daylight Saving Time. In Europe, some countries change the clock the last Sunday in March.
       It almost makes me wonder how we can say there is an official time anywhere in the world. If the government can change the time on us, what’s the point of sitting and drawing out on a calendar when we’ll be changing our clocks again? Will they soon have the power to stop time and just make it freeze all day? It might be hard for them to stop Earth from spinning but maybe there’s something in the works.
       So whatever time of the day you’re reading this, just remember that you’re actually reading it an hour ago.
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