Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hoosiers Still Can't Figure Out Clocks

Pacific Standard:
So what makes certain parts of Indiana likely to dissent? The state’s refusal to adopt a single time zone is easier to explain: Much of the state wants to be on Eastern Time, the time zone of Wall Street and of nearby Louisville and Cincinnati, but its western corners are metropolitan areas that draw on neighbors (Chicago and the Evansville tri-state area) who observe Central Time, so it splits the difference.
DST, though, is more complicated. The way that DST messes with time is to take the summer months and dislocate their noons from the sun: The “springing forward” pulls noon an hour (or more, depending on your location) before the sun’s highest point, whereas the “falling back” restores the natural match. This can mean that, come June, if you’re far West in a time zone, the sun won’t reach its highest point until, say, 2:00 p.m. If you’re a farmer, that distortion robs you of good working time. And one of the farming regions that’s farthest west in a U.S. time zone, and so most likely to lose the most agricultural working time to DST, is the Eastern Time part of Indiana.
For Indiana farmers like Laverne Stoll, who plants beans and makes hay in Loogootee while also working part-time at Graber Post Supply in nearby Montgomery, a 2 p.m. solar noon can throw off the whole system. “It can be a certain time on the old Standard Time, and we think we should be putting up hay,” Stoll says, “but the dew’s still on the ground, and it just throws us back and throws off the whole schedule of things.” And it was because of objections like Stoll’s that, through 2005, much of Indiana declined to participate in DST.
That whole argument that farmers get screwed by daylight savings time makes farmers sound really dumb.  I mean, without daylight savings time, sunrise would be at about 5:20 am, instead of 6:20, while sunset would be at 8:15 pm instead of 9:15.  There is no loss of working time.  My old neighbor Woodie used to frequently bitch about daylight savings time screwing farmers (he also claimed that Allis-Chalmers gas tractors were more fuel efficient than John Deere diesels).  I never pointed out that it didn't make any difference.  Does it matter if I get into the house at 9:00 or 10:00, or if the alarm goes off at 4 or at 5?  No, so please pipe down, or tell the reporter that daylight savings time makes it really hard to go snipe hunting or cow tipping.  Don't make farmers sound ignorant of basic arithmetic.

No comments:

Post a Comment