Most parts of the US and Canada entered daylight saving time overnight, spurring the annual calls for changing the practice:
The so-called "Sunshine Protection Act of 2021" was reintroduced Tuesday by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, R-Florida; James Lankford, R-Oklahoma; Roy Blunt, R-Missouri; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island; Ron Wyden, D-Oregon; Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Mississippi; Rick Scott, R-Florida; and Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts.
In 2018, Florida passed legislation to keep DST, but a federal statue is require for the state to enact the change, according to a press release from Rubio.
The "Sunshine Protection Act of 2021" would apply to states who participate in DST by negating Standard Time, which only lasts between November to March, when Americans turn their clocks back one hour.
Of course, as one would expect from Marco Rubio and the august institution he serves in, abolishing daylight saving time fixes the problem exactly the wrong way. Permanent DST would lead to dark winter mornings for no real benefit winter evenings. Abolishing it makes a lot more sense. Cartographer Andy Woodruff built an app to demonstrate why. Simply, if you like the idea of 8:20 am sunrises in Chicago—which means 9:15 am sunrises in western Michigan—then make DST permanent. I say no.
Wall clock time doesn't really matter, anyway. The world runs on UTC.
Update: I forgot to include Binyamin Applebaum's op-ed in the Times from Friday, exhorting us to "learn to love daylight saving time."
Well, it hasn't ended here in Chicago, where it's 4am on December 31st. And it won't end for ships at sea in Time Zone Yankee, 12 hours behind UTC, until 6am tomorrow Chicago time.
But on Kiritimati, it's now just past midnight on January 1st, meaning the tiny atoll in the South Pacific has become the first place on Earth to enter 2021.
Only 20 hours to go for us...and 26 hours to go until the whole planet puts 2020 safely behind us.
Some headlines this morning:
Remember Y2K? Oh, boy, I do, especially as I had to spend part of New Year's Eve in a data center on 1 January 2000.
Apparently, some of the fixes people made to their software back then solved the problem...for a time:
A Register reader, having sold a vehicle, filled out the requisite paperwork and sent it off to the agency, which is responsible for maintaining a database of drivers and vehicles in Blighty. An acknowledgement was received, which helpfully noted that it been printed in 1920.
Sadly, we doubt Doc Brown was involved in this one. A spokesperson for the agency told us that "it looked like a blip when printing the date on the letter", although we're mindful of the quick and dirty solution to the Y2K problem a large number of engineers opted for back in the day.
Rather than rewriting code to handle a four-digit year, many opted for a windowing approach, where systems would treat the 20 years from 00 to 19 as being from the 2000s.
New York parking meters stopped accepting card payments as the year turned, and some Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) sold by Trimble (formerly PeopleNet) threw a wobbly as 2020 arrived and a disconnect between GPS and server clocks left gear in a continuous reboot cycle.
In the case of the latter, it meant some US truck drivers were forced to switch to paper-based methods for logging until borked units could be dealt with.
A windowing approach also caused problems for a hardware manufacturer back in 2016...and will again in 2032, apparently...which will give them plenty to do before the 2038 problem ends civilization.
Every part of the world has now entered the '20s. There is a "UTC-12" time zone for ships at sea traveling between 172°30'W and the International Date Line (180°E/W), which as you might imagine is 12 hours behind UTC. So at noon UTC on January 1st, it's midnight UTC-12, and the whole world has the new year on their calendars.
The last inhabited places to get here were the Hawai'ian Islands two hours ago.
Specifically, it's 2020 in the UTC+14 zone occupied by Kiribati and Kiritimati, the latter being somewhat to the east of Hawai'i (UTC-10). So begins the 24-hour period where some part of the world goes from 2019 to 2020 every hour (or, in the case of India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Newfoundland, and a couple of other places, at the half- or quarter-hour).
So welcome to the '20s, Kiribati.
Apparently the morning people haven't let up in their assault on us night people:
[S]o far, legislation to go on year-round daylight saving time has passed in at least seven states, including Delaware, Maine and Tennessee this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oregon was the most recent, approving year-round daylight saving on June 17.
“After the 2018 time change, I don’t know what happened, but people got grouchy,” Oregon state Rep. Bill Post, a Republican who sponsored the bill, toldthe Oregon Public Broadcasting network.
The grouchiness is not just in Oregon. A month earlier, Washington legislators adopted year-round daylight saving time. California voters have approved the same, and sometime as early as next month, the California state Senate is expected to review the matter, according to state Assemblyman Kansen Chu, a Democrat and the bill’s author.
OK, let's review: clock time is completely arbitrary. It has no relation to the iron-clad astronomical motion that determines when the sun comes up and when it sets.
I think the permanent DST idea attacks the problem from the wrong side. Maybe the problem is that so much of our life requires people to get up and go to sleep when their bodies don't want to. Changing wall-clock time twice a year just shuffles the furniture.
But, hey, let's apply our energy to this anyway. It's easier than fixing real problems.
NPR and other outlets reported earlier this week that the far-north Norwegian island of Sommaroy planned to abolish timekeeping:
If the 350 residents of Sommaroy get their way, the clocks will stop ticking and the alarms will cease their noise. A campaign to do away with timekeeping on the island has gained momentum as Norway's parliament considers the island's petition.
Kjell Ove Hveding spearheaded the No Time campaign and presented his petition to a member of parliament on June 13. During the endless summer days, islanders meet up at all hours and the conventions of time are meaningless, Hveding says.
Only, a subsequent press release admitted the whole thing was a marketing campaign:
NRK.no revealed today that the initiative to make Sommarøy a time-free zone was in fact a carefully planned marketing campaign, hatched by the government-owned Innovation Norway.
The story has been covered in more than 1650 articles in 1479 different media, including CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Independent, Time, El País, La Repubblica, Vanity Fair and Der Spiegel, potentially reaching 1.2 billion people. The value of the coverage is estimated to 11.4 million USD - a pretty good return on investment for Innovation Norway, which spent less than 60,000 USD on the campaign.
Paul Koning, one of the moderators of the IANA Time Zone group--the group that maintains the Time Zone Database used in millions of computers, phones, and applications worldwide, including The Daily Parker--was not pleased:
That's very disturbing. It's problematic enough that not all governments give timely notice about time zone rule changes.
But if in addition we have to deal with government agencies supplying deliberately false information, the TZ work becomes that much more difficult.
Difficult indeed. The group has to deal with dictators changing time zones with almost no notice, political groups attacking the spellings of time zone identifiers, and all sorts of hassles. For a government agency to do this on purpose is not cool.
A large number of articles bubbled up in my inbox (and RSS feeds) this morning. Some were just open tabs from the weekend. From the Post:
In other news:
And now, to work, perchance to write...
The day after a 3-day, 3-flight weekend doesn't usually make it into the top-10 productive days of my life. Like today for instance.
So here are some things I'm too lazy to write more about today:
Now, to write tomorrow's A-to-Z entry...