Does anybody really know what time it is?

It is time to cast off our chains and free ourselves from slavery to the clock.

On Sunday morning we are required to spring our clocks forward an hour, if we wish to remain in synch with the rest of the nation, get to church and work on time and tune in at the proper time to our favorite radio and TV programs.

Mankind once worked from can till cain’t, as my ol’ grandpappy used to say — from the time you can see till the time you can’t — and farmers and ranchers such as grandpappy still do. But to make the trains run on time, we strapped ourselves to the clock, even though the clock is uniform and doesn’t change when the amount of daylight does.

Ol’ Ben Franklin, while serving as ambassador in France, accidentally figured out that this out-of-synch arrangement was somewhat uneconomical when he mistakenly arose one day at 6 a.m. instead of noon and discovered the sun was shining through his window. “I love economy exceedingly,” he jested, and proceeded to explain in a letter to a local newspaper how many candles and how much lamp oil could be saved by adjusting the city’s lifestyle to the proclivities of the sun.

Franklin observed:

“This event has given rise in my mind to several serious and important reflections. I considered that, if I had not been awakened so early in the morning, I should have slept six hours longer by the light of the sun, and in exchange have lived six hours the following night by candle-light; and, the latter being a much more expensive light than the former, my love of economy induced me to muster up what little arithmetic I was master of, and to make some calculations, which I shall give you, after observing that utility is, in my opinion the test of value in matters of invention, and that a discovery which can be applied to no use, or is not good for something, is good for nothing.”

Then he did the math, and exclaimed, “An immense sum! that the city of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.”

Thus, in 1918 in a effort to be more economical during the war, Congress borrowed from Europe the concept of daylight saving time — springing clocks forward during the summer and back in the winter. From shortly after Pearl Harbor until the end of the Second World War, the nation was on year-round daylight saving time, or war time, as it was called.

National Geographic photo

Moving the clock forward in summer might well save a few kilowatt-hours in lighting, but in states like Nevada that savings is more than made up for with increased air conditioning costs and the fuel used to drive about more after getting off work.

One study found that springing forward causes enough sleep deprivation to cost the U.S. economy $435 million a year. The New England Journal of Medicine found an association between that one hour loss of sleep from daylight saving time and an increase in car accidents, as well as a 5 percent increase in heart attacks in the first three weekdays after the transition to daylight saving time, while an Australian study found an increase in the suicide rate.

In a probably futile gesture to end the charade, the state Legislature a couple of years ago passed Assembly Joint Resolution No. 4 that proposes to make Pacific Daylight Saving Time year-round.

“WHEREAS, Congress also found and declared that ‘the use of year-round daylight saving time could have other beneficial effects on the public interest, including the reduction of crime, improved traffic safety, more daylight outdoor playtime for children and youth of our Nation, [and] greater utilization of parks and recreation areas …’” AJR4 reads in part, also noting possible “expanded economic opportunity through extension of daylight hours to peak shopping hour. ”

It passed both the Assembly and Senate and was enrolled by the Secretary of State.

Changing to year-round daylight saving time might not save electricity, but it could increase productivity and prevent car wrecks.

Alas, as with everything else, the power to fix this lies in Washington, though I can’t seem to find this enumerated power in my copy of the Constitution. Perhaps it is outdated.

In another glaring example of the efficiency and sincerity of our elected officials, AJR4 passed, the morning newspaper reported that no one in Washington had ever heard of AJR4.

AJR4 concludes by beseeching Congress to amend The Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973 and allow each state to opt out, the same as Arizona and Hawaii have opted out, but rather than sticking with standard time, AJR4 would adopt Pacific Daylight Savings Time all year. Why should it get dark at 4:30 p.m. in the winter anyway?

Get used to it. Washington is in another century, much less a different time zone.

Versions of this tome have been posted since 2015.

26 comments on “Does anybody really know what time it is?

  1. Bob Coffin says:

    You have permission to quote my late Uncle Ben Franklin any time. Yes, one time is best but we are joined at the navel with California so, whatever they do, we need to be with them because our unbreakable commercial and tourism ties.

    By the way, when the Brits doubled down on efficiency last World War they called it Double Summer Time.

  2. Steve says:

    Nevada should go on Arizona time.

    Years ago Nevada passed a resolution urging Congress to get rid of this, truly dangerous, time shifting silliness. We should just do it and not being “in sync” with California certainly has done nothing to hurt Arizona. In fact it may have actually helped them.

  3. Rincon says:

    Sunrise at 8:09 sounds a little surreal, but whatever.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Not here. Las Vegas is on the eastern side of the Pacific Time Zone.

  5. bc says:

    I never understand all this about the “danger” of changing the time by an hour. You run to St. George and Cedar City for a long weekend of golf and Shakespeare and you have changed the time by an hour and then go home to Vegas a few days later and you change the time again. Drive across the country and you change an hour every day. Truck drivers and airline folks change time for a living.

    I like the extra daylight in the summer and I do not like the sun coming up at 8:30-9 in the morning in the winter. Extra AC with DST? Do you turn off the AC when you go to bed? Did not think so.

  6. Steve says:

    I (and a lot of others) own property in southern Utah.
    When we go to Utah we all stay on Nevada time.
    Staying on Nevada time really makes no difference because we are not required to get up and be anywhere for work. A long weekend of golf, Shakespeare and/or driving ATV’s on trails is not the same as driving on roads with other sleep deprived drivers forced to get up an hour early for some bureaucratic idea of “savings” driven by playing with a clock.

    BTW This was me:
    Anonymous says:
    March 11, 2019 at 5:25 pm
    Not here. Las Vegas is on the eastern side of the Pacific Time Zone.

  7. bc says:

    So perhaps a weekend playing golf is a bad example, I’ll give you that. When I lived in Vegas it was common for me to fly or drive to Denver for work, be there for a week then come home. People fly or drive over time zones for work on a regular basis and yes they have the time change. At my work we have a facility a hundred miles away in Indiana. Common for folks to run over there to work and deal with the hour difference then come home after a few days or a week. I don’t see people dropping dead from that.

    Honestly, I don’t understand the fuss.

  8. Anonymous says:


    I can summarize the objections for you.

    “Hey kid, get off my lawn”

  9. Steve says:

    Flying. OK jet lag. I bet those people aren’t driving rental vehicles.

    Starting to sense a common thread?

  10. Steve says:

    And, you are talking about a very small sample in comparison with even one states population all driving with some sleep deprivation. When everyone on the road is feeling the same effects, the issue is compounded.
    Fatalities, as the NIH shows are a direct result.

  11. Anonymous says:

    the study you cited stated that there was a small increase, probably close to the margin of error. The NIH also has another study from Sweden that said there was no real change.

    I’m with Anon, “get off my lawn”. Much ado about very little.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It’s nothing at all, until you experience it.

  13. Steve says:

    So, why is it just totally OK to “get on your lawn” for standard time but but totally “get off your lawn” for DST?

  14. Rincon says:

    The ones who worry about a possibly theoretical safety issue regarding DST are often the same ones that want to yank funding for things like highway safety or protest things like mandatory backup cameras on new cars. Go figure. Besides, has anyone bothered to see if there are perhaps fewer traffic deaths on the day that we gain an hour? Partial information can be worse than none.

  15. Steve says:

    Actually, the same amount of fatalities seem to occur during the fall.
    They attribute it to staying out later than usual and drinking more with the extra hour added to the day.
    Fender Benders, are a big uptick on both ends of the clock switch. I bet a bunch of body shops are the resistance!

    Now, anyone want to answer why it’s perfectly ok to stay on standard time year round but totally illegal to stay on DST all year round?

    Whose lawn is it, anyway?

  16. Rincon says:

    “An increase in car accidents during daylight saving time has been both supported and refuted in the academic literature. The general concept supporting the case, however, is that subtle changes in sleep patterns and circadian rhythms can alter human alertness and, in some cases, might increase the risk of potentially fatal car accidents.

    Still, one 2010 Journal of Environmental Public Health study that analyzed the number of traffic accidents in Finland one week before and one week after transitions into and out of daylight saving time from 1981 through 2006 found no significant change in the number of accidents during this time period. Another 2010 study published in the Journal of Safety Research found that daylight saving time can actually result in fewer crashes by increasing visibility for drivers in the morning.”

  17. Steve says:

    Lies, damned lies and


    Whos lawn is it?

  18. Rincon says:

    Call it what you will, but I see no evidence that my source is inaccurate or biased. Do you have more compelling evidence in the opposite direction?

    The lawn belongs to the voters. For me, a referendum or even an accurate poll would be sufficient, I looked up polls and find substantial disagreement on both results and methods, and many say they want permanent DST, which confuses things enormously. First though, we would have to decide if it’s to be nationwide, state by state, county by county, or property by property We should also avoid the stupidity perpetrated by the British with their Brexit referendum. A 50% vote for change isn’t good enough, because a 51% majority can easily become a 42% minority in less than a month. It should be perhaps 2/3 or at least 60% for a given change.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see you support the Senate and the Electoral College, Rincon. You constitutionalist, you.
    Patrick’s gonna be dissapointed, after all in a Democracy, 51% is the undisputed majority.

    All Congress needs to do is allow states to choose from three options:

    Standard time year round (this option already exists. Arizona uses it. It works best for places on the western edge of the time zone. Arizonans get to drive home in the dark a lot.)

    DST year round (currently forbidden by federal law. This option would benefit states on the eastern side of a timezone the most)

    Or (number 3) the current clock shifting silliness.

    In other words, let the states decide what works best within the time zone, in cooperation with the nearest time zone, where they are located.

    Currently, there are even some counties inside states that remain on Standard Time year round while the rest of their state shifts the clocks. The option to stay on DST should be available the same as Standard time is.

  20. Rincon says:

    I believe what you recommend is already in place. My brother lives in Arizona and, at least through last year, they did not go on DST. As in Nevada, most residents live in the southern part of the state. If Nevada went on standard time year round, at least it would be contiguous with Arizona.

    I would rather not see a patchwork of DST zones, if feasible. This is part of why I am not convinced by a slight majority vote. That is not to say that majority shouldn’t rule; just that I don’t like changing things greatly when there’s no real consensus. Admittedly though, with our first past the post electoral system and our massive propaganda networks, waiting for a consensus on almost anything might well paralyze us. That being said, it’s amazing how our leadership sometimes stiffs us even when there is a consensus among the citizens. Human euthanasia, global warming, firearms background checks, and term limits come to mind.

  21. Steve says:

    Arizona stays on Standard time.

    there is already a
    “patchwork” of standard time places

    The only thing blocked from an option is staying on DST.

    As for AGW, Beto O’Rourke clearly displays what I dislike about politicizing science.
    The fact checkers are having a field day with his statements.

  22. Rincon says:

    I agree about the politicization of AGW. Unfortunately, very few of us bother to check the science and instead, decide which political bigmouths we trust and then follow them like a pied piper. For me, it was the opposite. I studied the science first and then used it to help me decide who was lying.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Mean Mr. Wilson’s of the world UNITE!

    So the “hey kid get off my lawn crowd” are apparently terrific organizers although you wonder where they get the time what with needing to report people for parking in front of their houses, writing letters to the editor, and waiting for the mail to come.

    This one is for you Thomas.

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