November 11, 2013

Zoned out

Allison Schrager is certainly right about getting rid of DST:

It would seem to be more efficient to do away with the practice altogether. The actual energy savings are minimal, if they exist at all. Frequent and uncoordinated time changes cause confusion, undermining economic efficiency. There's evidence that regularly changing sleep cycles . . . lowers productivity and increases heart attacks.

But she isn't content to stop there:

Americans on Eastern Standard Time should set their clocks back one hour (like normal), Americans on Central and Rocky Mountain time do nothing, and Americans on Pacific time should set their clocks forward one hour. After that we won’t change our clocks again--no more daylight saving. This will result in just two time zones for the continental United States.

An intriguing idea, to be sure, and there is something to be said for getting everybody on the same page. Or on the same two pages. Nothing's more confusing than flying through Phoenix in the summer.

But the world is round and there are 24 hours in the day. That means time zones.

Besides, the real reason Brigham Young moved the Mormons to Utah was so we'd end up in the Goldilocks time zone. Prime time television starts at 7:00 PM and ends at 10:00 PM. Weekday sporting events are over by 9:30 PM.

And all those annoying political interruptions radiating from Washington start at 7:00 PM or earlier, making them that much easier to tune out.

That won't work if the East Coast is only one hour ahead of us.

On the other hand, prime time television would still start at 7:00 PM in Utah. Weekday sporting events (and presidential addresses) could start two hours earlier on the East Coast because California would now only be an hour behind.

So maybe Schrager's onto something here.

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