Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tick Tock! Tick Tock! Tick Tock!
Wake Up! It's Daylight Saving Time Again!

Russia has 11. China only has 1, though it should have 5. India also only has 1 and that's due to outsourcing by the nice people at Dell and Microsoft. The United States has 9. We're not talking about people with common sense. On March 31, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson signed a law enacting a change. Robert Garland of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was the leader in the introduction and passing of the bill. Like any new idea, the idea did not immediately catch on, but in 1884, when the Prime Meridian was set, the time zone concept was introduced and accepted. But not until the Standard Time Act of 1918 thanks to our pal Woody, were the time zones enacted into law. This Sunday we "spring forward" and enter Daylight Savings Time once again. So folks, don't be late for church! Set your clocks ahead tonight!

Speaking of time zones, they have not been around forever. Time zones are the product of train schedules. Until the advent of the railroads that transported people rather quickly, all time was calculated by solar time. When the sun was directly overhead, wherever you were located, that was noon. You can imagine how confusing a train schedule could become for anyone traveling from New York City to Chicago, let's say. The rather ingenious idea for time zones was developed by a Canadian railroad engineer named Sir Sandford Fleming. He divided the world into 15 degree pieces, reasoning that the Earth rotates once every 24 hours and there are 360 degrees of longitude. So, 1/24 equals 15 degrees. Although the DST act was part of a federal law, it is not mandatory for anyone to observe the time change. However, if a state or community decides to incorporate the change, that entity must abide by the federal schedule. Enought of the technical crap, hunh? If anyoneone can figure out this bizarre clock you're a friggin' genius!

In 2005, a new law, part of the 2005 energy bill, set new times for the beginning and ending of DST for the same basic reason Ben Franklin thought of the idea in the first place. By adding an hour of sunlight, we might be able to cut down on energy consumption. There are still a few places that do not observe DST: Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Here's the most confusing place to tell time.- It's Indiana. The Hoosier State has one geographic problem and, for years, many stubborn citizens. Let me explain. First, Indiana is divided by two time zones, Eastern and Central. And until recently, some of the counties observed DST while others did not. It would have been possible, if you were in the right place, to literally look across the street and have a two hour time difference.

Now here's some more mindless Indiana trivia. For years, and it may still be this way, Indiana was the only state to collect the state gas tax separately when you filled your car with gas. No wonder Hoosiers can be a little confused. Must be all of that grain alcohol or something. Just remember to set your clock ahead tonight. Of you may be in for a shock on Monday morning! By the way, Discover Insanity may be "out of commission" for a couple of days. We're moving to new digs in the alley. But we'll be back. You can take that to the bank!