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Is Daylight Saving Shift Really Worth It? 652 652

Krishna Dagli writes "Two Ph.D. students at the University of California at Berkeley say that Daylight Saving Shift will not do any good or create any energy savings. We are already spending money for software upgrades in the name of saving energy and after reading following article I wonder has congress really studied the impact of DST shift? " I also read some back story on the concept; OTOH, I found TiVo's suggestions that I manually change everything on my Series 1 device to be somewhat...insulting.
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Is Daylight Saving Shift Really Worth It?

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  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday March 12, 2007 @08:44AM (#18314861)
    So what if an early DST doesn't really have huge enery savings? Of course, this is a research paper by 2 students at the People's Republic of Berkeley, who no doubt must be the most completely objective sources on the planet. (sarcasm off) There are benefits such as being able to actually go outside and get some exercise after work or do yard work because it's not too dark, being able to drive home after work in daylight and so on. I love DST and I wish the government had moved it up years ago, but I'm glad it's already started.
  • by Markvs (17298) on Monday March 12, 2007 @08:45AM (#18314871) Journal
    I agree. I live near NYC and it does WONDERS for my morale. The days of going to work in the dark and leaving in the dark weigh heavy on the soul/psyche. DST is a big boost, IMO.
  • by garcia (6573) on Monday March 12, 2007 @08:46AM (#18314889)
    I'm in 100% agreement. It might not do anything for energy consumption but it sure does make me a happier camper! I work from 9:30 to 6 and while for the last three weeks there has been some light when I'm driving home, it's going to be REALLY nice to have an entire trip with daylight. Not only do I feel better and happier during the light hours, I also feel safer because everyone else around me is driving in the daylight too.

    I take a camping trip at the end of March every year and it will be SO nice to have that extra hour of daylight to get camp setup, cook dinner, and enjoy the park.

    While I don't agree with nearly everything Bush has done, even though it's possibly for the wrong reason, this one is a good thing.
  • by thomasdz (178114) on Monday March 12, 2007 @08:47AM (#18314901)
    You know, except for all the TV shows on cable shifting by an hour, I really didn't miss having to run around the house changing the clocks twice a year when I lived in Saskatchewan. But, now that I'm outside of Saskatchewan, I'm also bombarded by those idiot^H^H^H^H^Hpeople who say "You lose an hour of sleep tonight" I don't ...and I also won't "be well rested tonight because I'll get an extra hour of sleep" ...guess what: I don't use an alarm clock. I get up when I get up. I don't gain or lose any sleep and all I ever get is annoyed when I have to run around changing clocks.
    Being in Canada, the time shift means that I use more electricity because when I get up...It's now darker again, so I gotta turn the lights on.
  • More driving? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lurker2288 (995635) on Monday March 12, 2007 @08:52AM (#18314961)
    According to, a gas price bump is expected now because people are expected to drive more with the expanded daylight hours.

    So wait, Washington passed a law to change DST early...the early DST change is now being used to justify gas price increases? Coincidence? Happenstance?

    Sorry all, maybe my TFH is a little tight this morning.
  • The other side (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spackler (223562) on Monday March 12, 2007 @08:52AM (#18314967) Journal
    Ok, I am going to argue the other side of this.

    From TFA:
    But Ryan Kellogg and Hendrik Wolff, who are working on their doctorates in economics, say the reduced need for light in the evening will likely be negated by the increased need in the early morning.

    That sounds logical, but it is not (IMHO). In the morning when I get up for work, I turn on maybe two lights (bedroom and bathroom). I am focused on getting ready for work, so there is not any entertainment (TV), stereo, really nothing except an electric razor. I brew my tea, and I am off to work (I don't think my headlights count as extra energy).

    When I come home from work, well, all the lights in the kitchen, the halls, very soon the livingroom, the plasma TV, the surround sound, the computer. Lot's more things. Now, most of these don't change from summer to winter, except the lights. If it is light out, I do not turn them on (shocking). That is a savings of energy by not turning on the lights.

    I really don't think this article took into account the different energy needs from the morning to night times. It is short sighted.


    (ok, the gate is open for you to disagree, but really think about the way you do things different in the mornings and how most people do it different first)
  • Re:The other side (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:09AM (#18315151)
    You should have left out the mess about the tv, etc. It isn't affected and has nothing to do with this. Mentioning it only clouds the issue.

    The only difference is the livingroom, kitchen, and hall lights. So assuming you have 3 bulbs in the kitchen, 3 in the living room, and 1 in the hall, that's 7 bulbs that are on an extra hour a day.

    It sounds like you're already at least a little energy-conscious, too, as most people will turn on a light if it's not quite bright enough in the room. You just leave them off, apparently. (I'm talking about the hall and kitchen, here.) So for most people, that only leaves the living room. And quite a few people watch the morning news before work, to get a handle on weather and traffic, especially. There's the living room lights on, too.

    So for most people, as you encouraged me to think about, there is no difference. For the energy-conscious bunch, there's very little difference. And for me personally, there's no difference. DST or not, I get up before the sun has even thought about peeking its lazy ass over the horizon, and I'm home LONG before it decides to take a rest.

    In the end, I think more energy savings come not from the DST itself, but from getting people to talk about saving energy.

    Two last thoughts: Lightbulbs are getting more efficient every year. The saved energy from this scheme reduces every year. I wonder where the line is that we spend more energy talking and setting clocks than we save from the change?

    Last thought: I used to hear this was 'for the children' so they wouldn't stand at the bus-stop in the dark. Why not just let them go to school an hour later, instead, if they're really worried about that? Most children already get home before their working parents, so it's not that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:09AM (#18315155)
    1. Light outside when we leave work

    2. And no, most of us posting here can't/won't get up at 6 AM - it's a guy thing

    3. We don't have to listen to clueless politicians talking about moving DST as "low hanging fruit" in reducing energy consumption

    4. We found a bunch of old code that was fragile and needed to be replaced

    5. We all got a little drill on pumping out patches - "that which doesn't kill us" etc

    6. Most of those clocks I have at home were drifting anyway. Now they have correct time.

    7. Long weekend days in March.

    8. DST article on Slashdot gives everyone something they can post about.

    9. If Congress wasn't working on this, they'd be fiddling with the tax code. Which means Mr. Big and his corporation pays less, you and I pay more.
  • by ronys (166557) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:12AM (#18315177) Journal
    Obviously, the closer you are to the equator, the smaller the difference between daylight hours in summer and winter.

    However, for those North/South of about 30 degrees, the difference is significant. Not to mention the (measured, reference unavailable) reduction in traffic accidents due to fewer people driving home from work in the dark.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:14AM (#18315197)
    Exactly. Congratulations on being (so far) the only reply that mentions distance from the equator.

    Your distance from the equator and the season are the two critical factors. If you live far from the equator and it is closer to the summer solstice than the winter solstice then you have 'daylight to spend'. Where should we spend it? In the evening, or in the morning? Most people don't have any interest in getting up earlier than 6:00 AM, so shifting those wasted hours of sunlight to the evening makes sense. It also makes it easier to sleep in to a decent hour.

    Trying to apply a study in Victoria, Australia to North America seems silly (disclaimer: the ABC news story didn't list full details of the study). Melbourne, Victoria is only 37.7 degrees from the equator, and most of the state is even closer. So, they don't get much change in day length, compared to the probably 60% of the continental US that is farther from the equator than Melbourne. Don't get me started on Alaska.

    The problem with the DST change is that it now starts when we are still in a sunshine deficit. In the Southern states the days are still about half sunshine, as always, and in the Northern states the days are still noticeably less than half sunshine, so we're spending our excess sunshine hours when we don't have them.

    I like DST because I'd rather have daylight in the evening than in the morning--I rarely get up before 7:00 AM. And, I like having DST earlier because I like to bike to and from work and since I ride in around 9:00 AM and return around 5:00 AM it works better for me if the sun is at its peak halfway between--around 1:00 AM--which is what DST does.

    However, it seems unlikely that there would be much if any power savings for the next three weeks of DST where we are robbing Peter to pay Paul, and Peter doesn't have much to start with.

    Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying that discussing the usefulness of DST without specifying a distance from the equator is pointless. There's a reason that tropical countries (including New Mexico :-) don't generally use DST.
  • by Fordiman (689627) <> on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:23AM (#18315305) Homepage Journal
    Wow. My coffee-starved brain read that and believed it for a whole three paragraphs. I'm shocked at my own gullibility.

    That said, funny shit.
  • by twivel (89696) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:26AM (#18315345)
    Ack! It's not worth it? All that extra time spent working to update our programs through the night and for no benefit?? And to make matters worse, those of us who spent time updating Java for DST might have been installing broken timezone data. See -time-sun []
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:27AM (#18315361) Homepage Journal
    I can't remember specifically where I heard this (NPR?) but late last week a story came out detailing who would benefit and who wouldn't from the time change. One thing that came out was that by adjusting the time, there would be a longer period of sunlight for people to play golf in. Thus, more people = more greens fees = more profit!

    Whether or not this is true I have no idea but here is a link [] from ABC from back in 2005 which says the exact same thing.

    Conspiracy? You decide.

  • by benhocking (724439) <> on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:46AM (#18315625) Homepage Journal

    My understanding is that this would only be true if it were year round. Accidents increase [] on both [] the days that we spring forward [] (less sleep) and the days that we fall back (interruption in our "circadian rhythms").

    Of course, it turns out that it might not even save lives if year round [] (search for "school bus accidents").

  • by DShard (159067) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:05AM (#18315913)
    Time zone specific calculations are on the client end, as all NTP sources give time in UST. So even if your embedded device is time syncing, if the software says "DST starts in april in timezone X" it is going to be wrong (even if it is very close to being wrong by an hour). The GP ignores the fact that no amount of "flexibility" in the DST implementation is going to make it economically feasible to support a $50 device for longer than production run. The thing to fix is setting up a public system that stores time offsets for all localities and make it a standard part of all OSes, like NTP.
  • by soupforare (542403) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:15AM (#18316051)
    Humans are clock oriented because society is clock oriented.
    It's popularly difficult to interact, consume, create, foo unless you've got little deadlines controlling your movement. I blame grade school bells.
  • Re:News Flash (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Larus (983617) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:56AM (#18316591)
    I have clients in East Asia, and I live in a 9PM-5AM world, catch a nap, and start dealing with the work on the US side. Now I'm going 10PM-6AM, breakfast, and back to work. Most of the world don't change clocks, unlike us.

    Americans love traditions, no matter how idiotic it is.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:59AM (#18316629)
    That's because every time you get an experienced batch of 45 year old programmers, they replace them with another batch of inexperienced 22 year old college kids.

    The last project delivered by IBM (three "teams" of basically college kids under three seasoned vets) had some extremely boneheaded obvious mistakes. The basic design was pretty good (effect of the vets probably) We spent over 4 years fixing what we could but without a clear ROI some things will never be fixed.

    Hiring inexperienced programmers always pushes the costs into the future tho. You don't pay today. You get the product delivered and get promoted out. The mess comes later and is covered by the next guy or the support programmers.
  • by skoda (211470) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:17AM (#18316851) Homepage
    I love DST! I think we should be on it all year 'round.

    On a normal work schedule, DST gives me more sunlight when it matters most: in the evening when I'm home. It also preserves a bit more afternoon sunlight in the short, dark winter days.

    As for morning sunlight, I don't care. I'm getting up before sunrise much of the year anyway. I might as well suffer a bit there to have a better evening.
  • by theonetruekeebler (60888) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:21AM (#18316917) Homepage Journal
    A few years ago the Wall Street Journal estimated that every year we lose billions in productivity worldwide this week, due to simple grogginess. Hundreds of millions wake up an hour earlier than usual then spend a week trying to adjust. It sucks complete ass.

    I have a toddler. Toddlers don't spring forward very well. Put them to bed an hour early and they'll spend two hours fighting it. Then get them up an hour early and see how happy they are to see you.

    Please, please, either ditch it completely or use it all year long. I really like having an extra hour of daylight to spend outside with the boy, the dog, and the missus.

  • by tbuskey (135499) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:26PM (#18318621) Journal
    In the early 80's I worked at an HVAC company. We had a program to do sizing estimates. You put in lat/long, ORIENTATION, window area, overhangs, heat sources (stoves, computers), humidity sources (coffee pots), ocupancy (heat + humidity there too), insulation R values in walls, roof, basement, etc.

    It would take that information and tell you what size AC you needed to cool it. With these measurements & no college degree (yet) I would come up with the same answer the boss did with his 20 years of experience.

    There was another module for the software that would let you rotate the building and see the difference. Making as much of the windows directly south facing and as few north made a *big* difference. It could be a 20-40% savings in cooling cost vs lining it up with the road like most developers do.

    Of course most houses are build to parallel the road, not the sun.
  • Re:New DST Rules (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wbav (223901) <> on Monday March 12, 2007 @04:05PM (#18321599) Homepage Journal
    Formatted correctly:

    1% Energy Savings
    2 Billion spent in software/device updates
    3 Weeks until the next set of issues
    Forlorn It Techs everywhere

  • by trix7117 (835907) on Monday March 12, 2007 @04:16PM (#18321787)

    We're actually spending more money because DST has a specific effect (ask any retailer) - more sales. People shop more during DST, and it's an immediate noticeable increase. I notice increased sales on the web as well.
    I'm sure that the fact that DST just happens to include summer, when people are much more likely to travel and spend money, has nothing to do with increased sales.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen