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2 November 2014 - To Change or Not to Change, That is the Question

A story came across my desk this week from BBC News in Europe, with a headline that caught my attention. The headline - “Russian Clocks Go Back for the Last Time.” The story - Russia will turn back its clocks for the last time on Sunday to permanently adopt ‘winter time’.

For the last three years, Russia has experimented with keeping permanent ‘summer time’, but it proved to be highly unpopular with many Russians, particularly in the northern part of the country where people complained about darker mornings in winter. The Soviet Union introduced daylight-saving time in 1981. The Deputy Director of the Geography Institute, Archady Tichkov, said he was against the latest change to year-round ‘summer time’, because he believed it was carried out to please advertisers because it would result in more people watching television.

Well, I don’t often agree with Russia, but in this case, I think they got it right. Going to just one time, whether its ‘summer time’, which is the same as our daylight saving time or ‘winter time’, which is our standard time observed during the winter months, just makes a lot of sense to me.

For decades, I have been a voice in the darkness, calling for an end to this twice-a-year waste of our time, in the Spring when we move our clocks forward one hour and in the Fall when we move them back one hour, which I just finished doing before writing this column. I understand that with today’s satellite technology many of our timepieces do it automatically, but you still have to remember the time change, and in the case of many public clocks on building towers, it does take labor and time to do it.

While there may have been reasons to have daylight-saving time back in World War II, I think those reasons have disappeared. For many years, farmers and ranchers were blamed for wanting daylight-saving time. But those reasons, whatever they might have been, disappeared decades ago.

I know not everyone would be happy with one time over another, but I don’t care which way we go. I simply say let’s do what the Russians are doing and do away with this twice-a-year exercise. Pick daylight-saving time or standard time, and leave the clocks alone. And let me remind you again my definition of daylight saving time...it’s like cutting a foot off the bottom of the blanket and sewing it on the top to make it longer. It just doesn’t work!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.