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Monday, March 05, 2007

New Daylight Savings Time is Another Y2K

You all may be hearing a lot about the new disaster coming our way. Congress has changed the dates for Spring-Ahead and Fall-Back. The problem is, most computers won’t know about the change and won’t automatically adjust for the new daylight savings time.

Comparing this to the Y2K panic is accurate because if you remember correctly, everyone freaked out over nothing. In this case, it’s also a non-event.

It really wasn’t that long ago that we computer users were responsible for updating their system clock to the new time. We all seemed to handle it ok and nobody died. I’m told my TiVo won’t miss recording American Idol and Desperate Housewives so I’m good.

The concept of Daylight Saving Time was first published by Benjamin Franklin back in 1784 to save on candle wax. In Paris alone he calculated it would save over sixty four million pounds of wax. It was finally adopted in the US in 1918. From 1942 to 1945 DST was made permanent by Franklin Roosevelt and called “War Time”.

In old England, there really was reason to a panic. Imagine the birth of twins at the magic hour. Suppose first one comes out before the time change, and then the clocks are moved back before the 2nd was born. In a culture where the oldest child received family property and titles, who was the legitimate heir? I see that being a much bigger problem than anything we will experience on March 11th.

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