On the second Sunday in March, at 2 AM, most of the United States will set their clocks ahead one hour for the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. Residents of Arizona, Hawaii, U.S. territories Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands will not participate in the festivities.
About 75 countries participate with Daylight Saving Time, according to TimeandDate.com, which is about a third of the world.
It’s Just a Matter of Time
Mr. “Early to Bed, Early to Rise” himself, Benjamin Franklin, is credited with the idea of Daylight Saving Time, but nobody really considered his idea in 1784. Over a century later, in 1895, George Vernon Hudson reintroduced the concept so he would have more time for his hobby, bug collecting, after work.
During World War I, both sides used the idea in Europe to cut back on the use of electricity, mainly incandescent light bulbs. In 1966, in the United States, the Uniform Time Act outlined that clocks should be set forward on the last Sunday in April and set back the last Sunday in October. Through the years, the DST rules changed… that law was amended in 1986 to start daylight saving time on the first Sunday in April, though the new system wasn’t implemented until 1987. The end date was not changed, however, and remained the last Sunday in October until 2006.
Today, Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. While a few people (called clock-springers*) change their clocks at precisely that 2 AM hour, most simply ‘spring the clock forward’ one hour shortly before they go to bed. Take Your Time, and do it right!
*I just made that up.
The Good News?
You can get that hour back on November 4th, The Second Time Around when we “Fall Behind,” and Turn, Turn, Turn, our clocks back an hour – Minute by Minute.
Just how many ‘time’ songs have I referenced so far? Check here for a list!
A Brief History of Time
(Having almost nothing to do with Stephen Hawking’s book of the same name),
Chronometry is the science of the measurement of time, or timekeeping. By the time you finish reading this, you will be an expert in the field. Well, not right away, but you will.
The Egyptians were the first people who created a twenty-four hour day; ten hours in the day time, ten at night, and two periods of ‘twilight’ in between. A shadow clock was used to keep track of time during the day; and they used large obelisks to track the movement of the Sun.
The Egyptians are often credited with creating the shadow clock, but the Chinese, Babylonians, Greeks and the Romans were using similar instruments to tell time. The large shadow was no more accurate than a smaller one, so the sundial became the standard for most civilizations.
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is?
Were sundials very accurate? Sure, about once a year, for a few brief moments. The tilt of earth’s axis, the seasonal changes of the sun’s rotation, and even the day the sundial came into operation all had a bearing on the time that was (and still is) illustrated. For best results, in the northern hemisphere, the shadow-casting edge is normally oriented so that it points north and is parallel to the rotation axis of the Earth.
The gnomon is the part of a sundial that casts the shadow on the numbers or time indicators on the ground. The most famous is probably the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice inside the church of Saint Sulpice in Paris, was used as a “Rose Line” in the novel The Da Vinci Code.
Does anybody really care? About time?
It Was Getting Better all The Time.
The earliest known water clock was used in the 3rd century BC ancient Greece. Why water? Mainly because some people needed to know when bed-time was, and the sundial didn’t work at night (it still doesn’t in many parts of the world).
How do you set a water clock?
Take a big bucket and fill it with water up to a specific line. Then cut a small hole in the bottom of the bucket and mark off lines on the bucket after each hour has passed while it is daylight, using your obelisk or sundial as a guide.
The Chinese began using mercury for more accuracy about a thousand years ago, about the same time that Arabic people began using gears and weights. Sand, in an encased hourglass, can be accurate as well, at least accurate enough to measure the time it takes for you to draw an alligator in a game of Pictionary.
Mechanical clocks used what was called the ‘verge escapement mechanism’ in Europe by the late 14th century. Basically, these were very large and based on weights and gears, and were the first ‘ticking’ clocks.
The spring-powered clock and pocket watch came into existence in the 16th century, and the invention of the pendulum in 1602 by Galileo, gave a consistency to clockworks unheard of before, and was the gold standard for timekeeping until electricity made clock accuracy even more perfect. A pendulum clock can be accurate to within one second a year.
During the 20th century, electric quartz oscillators were invented, followed by atomic clocks in the 1940s. Today, the NPL-CsF2, in the United Kingdom, is accurate to within a second every 138 million years.
• 15 degrees of longitude describes an hour of time.
• Although Russia is geographically spread over 12 time zones, it officially observes only 9.
• Greenwich Mean Time is the starting point for the world’s clocks. GMT is also called UTC – Coordinated Universal Time. Greenwich is located at 0° longitude, and it was made official at the International Meridian Conference of 1884.
• Time has been described as the “Fourth Dimension.” The other three are length, width, and depth (or height).
• Earth, and the time that comes with it, was created on the evening of Saturday, October 22, 4004 BC, according to James Usher, the 17th Century Archbishop of Armagh, when tracing biblical records.
• Earth is slowing down, about 55 billionths of a second a year.
• “Time” is the most often used noun in the English language.
• Recycle much? In 2012, you can use these calendars accurately -1804 1832 1860 1888 1928 1956 1984.
• A nanosecond is about how much time it takes light to travel a foot.
• A nanosecond is one billionth of a second.
• A picosecond is one trillionth of a second.
• A femtosecond is one quadrillionth of a second.
• An attosecond is one quintillionth of a second.
• In a typical 365-day year, you get five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes.
• That means there are 31,536,000 seconds in a year.
• Time flies and it heals all wounds, they say.
• Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity states that, because of the speed of light, two witnesses to an event will not necessarily see that event at the same exact time. Basically, time is relative to the observer. This is why we may see a star shining in the sky that could have gone dark (or bright) millions of years ago – it takes light ‘time’ to travel.
Can you travel faster than the speed of light? NO. Why? Because Albert Einstein said so.
• Joe’s Theory of Relative Time is the effect of slowly waiting for something special to happen, or doing labor while you know your friends are out having a good time. Where you are is conversely, painstakingly longer than the amount of fleeting time your friends are enjoying themselves or your special event will be.
A Timely Warning:
“The Monday and Tuesday after moving the clocks ahead one hour in March is associated with a 10 percent increase in the risk of having a heart attack,” announced UAB Associate Professor Martin Young, Ph.D., in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease. “The opposite is true when falling back in October. This risk decreases by about 10 percent.”
Wake up 30 minutes earlier on Saturday and Sunday than you need to in preparation for the early start on Monday. Eat a decent-sized breakfast. Go outside in the sunlight in the early morning. Exercise in the mornings over the weekend (as long as you do not have pre-existing heart disease).
“Doing all of this will help reset both the central, or master, clock in the brain that reacts to changes in light/dark cycles, and the peripheral clocks — the ones everywhere else, including the one in the heart — that react to food intake and physical activity. This will enable your body to naturally synch with the change in the environment, which may lessen your chance of adverse health issues on Monday.”
Time After Time, it is our job to remind you to change your fire detector alarm batteries when you turn your clock back!