Sunday, March 11, 2018

Florida's "Other Weird Law"

Getting nowhere near enough attention from the media in the aftermath of the Democrats getting the Republicans to enact their gun control proposals for them, is that the State passed a law making Daylight Savings Time permanent, all year round.
By overwhelming, bipartisan majorities, the normally fractious Senate and House agreed this week to make Florida the first in the nation to adopt year-round daylight saving time statewide. It would mean later sunrises and sunsets from November to March, peak tourist season for many beach cities.
I've searched for news of whether or not Governor Voldemort has signed this into law, but haven't found any indication.   All reports say that after his signing, we would require permission from the to enact it.  Assuming the Fed level at this time is inclined toward letting states do what they want in such minor things, the bill is supposed to take effect this summer, meaning this morning's clock resetting will be the last of those.

Not really.  Staying on DST forever makes me wonder if I'm going to have to go around the house un-setting all the things that automatically set themselves.

Most of the clocks in the house are self-adjusting.  The PCs, phones and tablets get the correct time from a server.  Just three or four clocks require manual intervention.  Several clocks, including the watches Mrs. Graybeard and I both wear, are so-called "atomic clocks": they synchronize to the NIST radio station WWVB between midnight and dawn (when conditions are the best for radio propagation for them).  Those all auto-update for the daylight/standard time transitions.   

We have one clock, now banished to the bathroom, that's sort of a "short bus"/"special needs" clock.  It routinely thinks it got its radio sync from WWVB and is within milliseconds of the right time, yet it's anywhere from minutes to months from the correct time and/or date.  We have a couple of things that used to "automatically" set to DST by using a perpetual calendar, but since the extended  the start and stop dates, we have to change them manually four times a year: once to start DST early, once when it adds another "spring forward", and a similar two times when DST ends late.

I actually wrote a piece about this idea last October when DST ended - although it was about some New England states and not Florida. 
It's unavoidable that we'll face longer days in the summer and shorter in the winter.  That change in sunlight hours is part of the change of seasons  caused by the 23.5 degree inclination of Earth's orbit.  I'd guess that most of us have traveled enough to notice that day and night length vary with latitude at any time of year, and it gets more extreme the farther toward the poles you go.  Here in the southernmost reaches of the US, (I'm not in the tropics - none of Florida is) we have less variation.  On the summer solstice, our day is just short of 14 hours long - 13:55:30.  On the winter solstice, our daylight is 3 hours 34 minutes shorter, 10:21:43. (source)  In Minneapolis, MN, the longest day lengthens to 15:36:48, and the shortest day shortens down to 8:46:12, virtually seven hours shorter than their longest day.  Nothing can be done about that.  All DST does is change what we call those hours.
 (Day length vs. Latitude for the year.  Source)

I've got to say that if I wrote such ninny legislation, I would have made Standard Time the standard time.  Solar noon is when the sun is on the meridian, that line that goes from north to south passing directly overhead.  With DST, solar noon occurs at 1PM, not 12.  Maybe I'm anal-retentive, but having solar noon at 1PM forever is just wrong.


  1. All Trump has to do, to become the most popular president in US history, is two things.

    #1- Find, convict, and execute the people who foisted the "spill proof gas cans" on us, along with reinstating the old ones that worked.
    #2-Eliminate DST, it won't matter which way it goes, just make it constant so we don't have to reprogram our bodies and clocks every six months. Sometimes I think it is a Soviet era psy-ops program that is still running, as a way to discombobulate the public for a week every year.

  2. Arizona beat FL to it. It has no DST.

    But I agree with you.

    1. Been there (Arizona, I mean) but the reason they say Florida is different is that Arizona is on standard time and Florida wants to stay on DST. That means we'll be in the same time zone as Halifax, Nova Scotia.

      Some people in the media are saying that's introducing a new time zone into the country and it's a "big deal" or at least a bigger deal than staying on standard time.

      I can see it being a pain in the butt for airlines and travel schedules, but it doesn't seem like that big a deal to me. The airlines deal with that every day.

  3. Wait, the solar noon thing gets better!

    Florida is on the western edge of eastern time, so we're more like 1330 for solar noon.

  4. How many of those things that "automatically set themselves" are actually hard-coded into the hardware? And how many instead are done in software which is routinely updated, for security purposes if nothing else? And do those hard-coded items not have a manual option to turn DST on or off? I suspect you'll have less resetting than you think...

    1. All the watches and clocks that use WWVB are hard coded hardware. I have the manuals, but haven't (Read) TFM. The computers around here will get Windoze updates, and I'm sure they'd be OK.

      The things that can't be changed, like the clock radio that will go on DST at the end of this month and another digital clock like it, will need to be reset.

      It's not a big deal.

    2. So you're already having to reset that clock radio four times each year, anyway. I wonder if WWVB carries a DST indicator, since those "clocks" don't run into your clock radio issue, where the DST start date has changed since the device was manufactured? And my watch that gets WWVB has an option for "auto" or "on" or "off". I suspect if you RTFM for your similar devices, they will have something similar.

    3. Yes, the WWVB code contains DST information, so we should be able to tell the watch or clock to ignore it.

  5. Was stationed in Hawaii for a number of years. The days slowly got longer, then slowly got shorter. Enjoyed not having those two jumps every year. Seemed to be a lot easier on the biological clock.

  6. You are correct; they should have made Standard Time last forever.
    Noon is Solar noon, at the exact center of your 15° swath of time zone, period. If states and countries want to gerrymander the edges a bit for political boundary reasons, well and good for them.

    But stop this nonsense.
    We ain't milking cows, and it just messes with everything to no good purpose.
    It's gone from semi-practical, to government tradition that cannot be killed.

    Put a bullet in DST's head, once and for all.

    1. Last time we talked about this, it turned out farmers milking cows hate it as much as anyone else.

      I think the only ones who push for it are the greenies who think getting home during the heat of the summer day means you'll use less electricity than if you come home when it's further into evening. Because reasons.