Liberal Arts Blog — Let’s Count The Cost of Turning the Clock Back on November 1st

Liberal Arts Blog — Monday is the Joy of Math, Statistics, and Numbers Day

Today’s Topic — Let’s Count The Cost of Turning the Clock Back on November 1st

Daylight savings time ends on November 1st. The sun will set earlier and earlier. Does this turning back of the clock make sense? Should “daylight savings time” be made permanent? Or is the switch back to “standard time” a good thing because otherwise, sunrise will be later and later? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.


1. “Polling from last fall shows that only about 3 in 10 Americans enjoy the Ping-Pong between falling back and springing forward. Most would prefer a reversion to either permanent daylight saving time or standard time.”

2. “Daylight in the evening is better than daylight in the morning.”

3. “Americans leaving work and driving home in daylight, not surprisingly, leads to fewer car accidents and fewer robberies. Oh, and having more daylight would give kids more time for physical activity, which in a country that has the highest obesity rate in the developed world is no small thing.”

THE OPPOSITION; the safety of children, the depression of workers, three experiments that failed

1. Walking to school in the dark in the morning is dangerous.

2. Late winter sunrises are just too depressing.

3. During the energy crisis of the 1970s making daylight saving permanent was considered in the US and the UK but was rejected. Russia instituted standard time year-round in 2014.

BACKGROUND — What countries use daylight savings time? which don’t? which tried and rejected it? which never used it? What did the Romans do? Who still does it that way?

1. The blue and orange regions currently use it. The light gray tried it but no longer use it. The dark gray never used it. Note that countries near the equator experience little variation in the amont of daylight.

2. The Romans and other ancient peoples always divided daytime into units of 12 equal lengths. The result was hours of different lengths in the winter than in the summer. An hour at the winter solstice was 44 minutes long. At the summer solstice 75 minutes long.

3. This practice persists in traditional jewish practices (“the halachic” or “relative” hour) and in the Eastern Orthodox ceremonies of the monks of Mount Athos.

(Don’t) turn back the clock — The Boston Globe

Daylight saving time

Relative hour

Click here for the last three years of posts arranged by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive


So what are your personal favorite magic numbers? What do they stand for? Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to math, statistics, or numbers in general. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to math.

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.



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