Hi Brian -- two things -- the first is that the ancient Egyptians had water clocks that varied throughout the year such that they always had 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime -- it's just that the lengths of the hours varied from month to month.
The second is that I heard that the number of heart attacks rise for the first week or two after the time changes ... maybe not by huge amounts but certainly by measurable amounts -- so in a day daylight savings time is killing us :-(
Can you imaging the uproar that would exist today if the hours got longer in summer -and you still had to work from 9-5. People would only want to work in Winter. What would happen as well to all of the measurements that depend on time. Would things go 'slower' in summer...
I don't miss DST even a little. With the changes in the switchover dates in recent years, I have a hard time remembering what time it is elsewhere, but a nice advantage of never changing your clocks is you always know what time it is where you live :)
Coming from Zimbabwe where daylight length varies only about half an hour either way, I had a hard time getting used to DST in Australia. Most folk here seem to like it, it gives you a few extra hours after work to play sport or (in my case) mow the lawn. I'm pretty ambivalent about it, one thing I do like is that it makes dawn at a normal time instead of 5 am or earlier so you don't have to have blackout curtains to get your beauty sleep in (no, I know it doesn't work for me :-) My mom is in UK, so it makes for some serious head scratching trying to work out what time it is over there (4 different differences thru the year). Thank god for Google.
Point taken Brian - though about the most I use Google for is finding the time in other places, finding Datasheets, etc. I don't use them for much else. Though I guess they'll be trying to get personal info off us there as well soon....
We need to make the days for the first half of the year one minute shorter and the days for the second half of the year one minute longer. We can call the second half of the year summore time and the first half sumless time.:)
In the UK, we are spun the line that people don't like getting up in the dark. Personally, I would rather have as many hours of daylight as possible after I come home from work. I tend not to do my socialising/going out/shopping/sport/walking the dog etc before work - I do it afterwards. So I don't personally much care whether it's dark when I cycle in to work in the morning. I prefer it to be light when I get home and to stay light for as long as possible between then and bedtime.
But DST here is aimed at making it lighter in the morning, which doesn't bother me at all! We are spun the line that more children die going to school in the dark then coming home in the dark. There is some truth in this I'm sure - the start of school in the morning coincides with morning rush hour so we'd like as much light as possible whereas school finished in the afternoon long before rush hour starts so we don't care if it's dark then.
There is some guff about it saving power as well but I've never been convinced of that one.
There's a lovely anomaly you may not have heard in Arizona which has always raised a chuckle. The state of Arizona does not observe DST. However the Navajo Reservation (which lies mostly within AZ) does change to Daylight time. The Hopi Reservation (which is wholly within the Navajo Reservation) does not observe DST. This means that a straight line journey taking you through both reservations involves putting your clock back or forward four times in the space of a couple of hundred miles! Only in America...
Most humans (self included) prefer to rise with the sun. Time zones and constant-length hours and days are essential to non-local commerce. Daylight time is compromise of the latter to accommodate the former.
Someone wrote a book on the subject. Look for: Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time by Michael Downing.
"...first adopted in wartime Germany in 1916 to keep energy costs low. While many nations (including the U.S.) followed Germany's example through WWI, only Britain maintained the policy following the war. ...It was New York City (not the nation's farmers, as many incorrectly believe) that rallied for its reinstatement. Pressured by bankers and brokers who wanted to capitalize on the hour of arbitrage daylight saving allowed with the London markets, the New York City Board of Aldermen lobbied it into law in 1920."
I'd be fine with daylight saving time all through the year. I guess that would make it standard time. Being an evening person, I'd personally benefit from always having more daylight hours in the evening. But, I suppose that would be discrimination against morning people.
Maybe, in the same way that people register (in the US, anyway) as republican or democrat, people could register as evening or morning. Then there could be morning leaning and evening leaning work places that folks could choose from. I'm not sure where that would leave the people that register as independent, such as myself, though. Perhaps we could choose to set our own work hours.