Time change change is good

Monday, November 5, 2007

There was more light this year for trick or treating since daylight savings time will not end until 1 a.m. Sunday - the first Sunday in November- rather than the traditional last Sunday in October.

We've always thought it didn't make sense to change from daylight savings time just before Halloween, increasing the danger to kids by prolonging the time they are out in the dark.

The danger of drugs, poison or sharp objects being put into trick or treat candy is an urban legend, it never happens. Kids being hit by cars at night does happen.

Although the change from daylight savings time is a shock to the system on those first days of afternoon darkness, the change does make sense.

Benjamin Franklin first proposed daylight savings time more than a century before it was first implemented in 1918. His idea was an urban innovation during a time when the population was overwhelmingly rural. For people out on the farms back when a clock was a rare possession, the position of the sun defined time rather than a numerical designation.

People would naturally get up earlier as the sun started rising earlier. Now, as our life is more rigidly scheduled in accordance to the clock, some people would spend more daylight time sleeping, depending on their sensitivity to light and effectiveness of curtains in blocking the sun.

Arizona does not observe daylight savings time and naturally, neither does Hawaii. We say naturally in the case of Hawaii because daylight savings time serves little purpose in the tropics where there is little difference between summer and winter as far as the amount of daylight.

In the northern latitudes, winter darkness is the price we pay for the brightness of summer.

Whether we start our day well before sunrise or end our workdays after the sun starts to set, there is no cure for the shortness of summer days other than a trip to the tropics.