“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” Buddha
Doubtful Gaelic Folk Singer Julie Fowlis needed an extra hour of sunlight
by henry b. rosenbush
I wonder if Sol would be amused that humans, in constant attempts to control the environment and galaxies beyond their reach, created a fictional construct to change her shiny schedule?
Think the Remaining Universe Needs DST?
While at work yesterday; I have the graveyard shift at a local convenient store-fuel station, listened to myriad customers remind that is was the weekend of setting clocks forward with such seriousness that I began pondering, as I do twice a year, about the historical and hysterical background of DST.
I know that in the United States the practice of setting clocks forwards and backwards, to utilize natural sunlight, was first started in 1918, stopped after World War I, then resumed during the energy crisis of the seventies. You will recall that again, The Sun had no involvement with the crisis, that was greedy human profiteers.
Guess I am channeling my eXisTenTiaLNihLisT persona today because the idea that humans can somehow control the length of night and day is, in equal measures, disturbing and amusing. It reminds me of when I was in Henderson, Nevada, in June, 2011, mere weeks after surviving the catastrophic tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama that proved dramatically that nature, in her majestic glory and extreme punishment, will always win out over humans, that I listened to someone tell me about the differences in the heat of Nevada versus the heat of Alabama.
“It’s dry heat,” I was told repeatedly, as if 115 degrees was scientifically different, wherever the conversation was held. They actually seemed proud they lived in a state where temperatures can be in triple digits long after midnight. No wonder they call the long street in Las Vegas “The Strip!”
I replied, dryly: “If you are inside an oven, set at 115 degrees, I doubt you’d feel the difference in either state.”
Perhaps the reason I flunked Fundamentals of Science 104 twice, under the same Southern Miss Professor, back in 1975, was that I believed more in the “basic principles” behind the disciplines and less about the Periodic Table and composition of the elements. It could also been the fact the the instructor, who held not a Phd, but an honorary position, was not a good teacher and I was certainly, during this era, not a good student.
It was, after all, the epoch of sex, drugs and rock and roll and only a few years after KAAY’s “Beaker Street” in Little Rock, ARK, ended its glorious run. However, only ten to thirteen television channels (and only the weekends had WWL Channel 4 “All Night Movies,” pirated from New Orleans, LA televising long after the Indian Test Pattern was broadcasting most everywhere else) and lest we forget there were no personal computers, I-phones, IMAX, social media outlets or mind-warping electronics; there was instead, pool, Foosball, pinball machines, lots of high quality South American reefer, LSD, cocaine, cigarettes and gasoline were less than a dollar, minimum wage was soaring at 1.65 an hour, at least in Mississippi, and a full meal at Western Sizzlin’ was under seven bucks, that’s money not deers.
I should digress at bit longer to share a quick Beaker Street story, from early 1972, about calling under the influence of powerful marijuana after hearing a track off Van Der Graaf Generator’s “Pawn Hearts” and calling the station to find out the name. It took the patience DJ several times to advise the group and album name and cut because I was so stoned as to confuse them all. For the record (teehee) Group: Van Der Graf Generator, LP: “Pawn Hearts” (1971), Track: “Man-Erg.”
“Man de graaf Hearts or Pawn Generator?”
The deejay knew I was ripped and finally hung up, but not before saying, something to the effect, “Just get some sleep, man, and go to your local record store tomorrow and say Van Der Graaf Generator.” Thank Goddesses he wasn’t playing “A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers” or I would never had found the English progressive rock group the next day.
Anyway, almost back to the point and how all this will return to DST…
How and why I flunked twice under the same person, in less than three quarters, did not help my GPA yet, I persevered, tried a third time under an authentic degreed professorie and gained a D, which does not negate two “F”s; did I mention Mathematics was not one of my favorite subjects?
I graduated in 1976 with a BS degree in Journalism and English; better for a writer-thinker than a failed scientist cum mathematician.
I still believe, in my ordinary manner of logic, that one hundred and fifteen degrees is constant. Dry, wet, with or without a breeze remains one hundred and fifteen degrees at some juncture, even if we factor in heat indexes once all other data is stripped from the equation it is not one hundred and thirteen or fourteen. Even with meteorological explanations of “it feels like this but it is really that” actually works…it raises my blood pressure and body temperature trying to evaporate it from my brain engrams.
Trailer for Doctor Who “Sleep No More” “Who” Needs Rest?
If you want to know where Daylight Saving Time (DST) originated you need to board Doctor Who’s TARDIS and travel to New Zealand in the late 19th Century; 1895 to be exact and meet George Hudson (1867-1946), the entomologist, not same-named The Railway King, an English railroad baron (1800-71) who controlled significant tracks, who proposed to the Wellington Philosophical Society the concept of a two-hour shift (forward in October, back in March) that was interesting but rejected.
British builder William Willett, independent of Hudson, proposed, in 1905, setting clocks ahead twenty minutes on each Sunday in April and then back on the four Sundays in September. Obviously, that did not occur either and it is an often misconstrued belief that our favorite kite-flying shock forefather, Benjamin Franklin, started the annual “spring forward, fall back” when he jokingly suggested it would save on candle use so that Parisians could get up from bed earlier and utilize natural sunlight.
Ironically, Germany was the first country to introduce DST; Canadian neighbors may recollect that Thunder Bay, Ontario was the first location to use it (July, 1908), or that next was Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada (April 23, 1914) followed by Winnipeg and Brandon in Manitoba (April 24, 1916) but Bundesrepublik Deutschland found a more profound reason:
April 30, 1916, to minimize the use of artifical lighting and conserve coal for the war effort in World War I!
Before we give Benji an static electrical back pat consider past civilizations adjusted their daily schedules to that of the Sun’s. Too often we have purposely forgotten that what we arrogantly refer to as “ancient civilizations” were eons ahead of current carbon based life forms because, they, unlike most of us were concomitant with nature.
Our ignorance towards the acquiescence we should accept: our natural world will always control our penultimate fate just prior to its own demise.
Who else but mankind would build houses on beaches and cliffs and then act bewildered when hurricanes and mud slides destroy them. What do were do? We rebuild in the same locations!
We only destroy nature to make room for more buildings, that nature floods, collapses in earthquakes and tornados; highways, that buckle once the asphalt dries because they are hurriedly and poorly maintained and never properly designed for increased weight of future vehicles and traffic. Maybe the aforementioned is considered in planning meetings but clearly not implemented in construction.
Further proof exists that other oxygen breathers, who make the most of their lives, is mere feet from where I stand writing this post: outside the glassy back door, on the cracked patio (because the builders placed a large tree whose root system compromised the concrete slab), in a fenced, albeit ugly deteriorating wooden enclosure (another design flaw), are the local stray felines I offer protection who are lying on my donated summer lawn furniture and sleeping: an orange and black cat (from different past litters) embracing one another at one end while two black adults are blanketed with two kitten survivors or a recent birth and a tuxedo cat, from yet another past family eating nearby.
No racism towards different colors and not a dollop of judgmental hissing that “you do not belong here.”
Just the quietude that humanoids cannot, and indeed, do not embrace because we are too busy texting and I-phoning and self-photographing and hating what we do not understand, believe in or care about…which is ourselves.
How will I spend that spring-forwarded hour?
I work a 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. shift Saturday so technically, if only esoterically, when two ayem becomes three I will be putting the doughnuts out earlier after sweeping up cigarette butts and trash, from the parking lot, left by the kindness of strangers.
And where is my Sun?
Where she is always, shining and warming another portion of the Earth.
Soon her light and warmth will come to the Southern Uninvited States of ‘Mer-Ca.’
I am thankful for her presence; even at 92.96 million miles away. She is appreciated and honored in the cosmos. At the speed of light of 186,000 miles per second, still the fastest WE believe anything travels in The Universe, from our elliptical orbit, light takes eight minutes to arrive here. To put a light year into an easily understandable perspective, at that speed one could travel around the Earth’s equator 7.5 times in one second!
While I am alone tomorrow tonight, with the mechanical whooshing and fluidly sounds of percolating coffee and fountain drink machines and a BING BONG front doorbell alerting to customers who will be buying potato chips, condoms, sweeties and tobacco products and soon, now that the Sunday alcohol law passed in Shelby County, beer and wine ’round the clock, I will be wishing for a solar disturbance to shut down everything electronic and powerful, even if just for a nanosecond.
Imagine a day without texting and televised madness and worldwide violence and ugly politicians pontificating?
That would be worthwhile, so, stock up on candles and condoms in case you are in the flipping dark!
A full historical overview can be read at TimeandDate, where you can set your clocks ahead or behind to the remainder of Planet Earth. Did you know, if you are in the Central Time Zone, where I reside, it is 19 hours ahead in New Zealand? It only gets confusing when you consider there are 24 Time Zones on Earth!
History of Daylight Saving Time
DECREASED VOLUME ADVISED; if feline companions are nearby. “Trust Me,” even if I’m not The Doctor.