Sunday, October 30, 2016

Changing the Clocks

I can't say I'm a particular fan of the twice-annual ritual of changing the clocks. Frankly, it's an absurd practice to spend most of the year with our clocks all set to lie to us in the strange notion that this gives us more daylight at some time of the year.

On the other hand, I suppose that ridiculous practice is marginally better than the 'fix' we see endlessly proposed in the newspapers every time the clocks change; specifically, to keep the country on "British Summer Time" (or, as I prefer to call it, "Liar's Time") all year around.

(The reason it is a lie is that time, like everything else, needs to be measured from a fixed reference point. And since the seasons change, meaning that sunrise and sunset aren't fixed, time is measured from the point where the Sun reaches its highest point over the horizon, which we call 'mid-day'. (Which is also why we divide the day into AM and PM.) Moving the clocks forward during the summer means that the Sun reaches its highest point at 1pm, not at 12 noon, which is incorrect. And since that's done deliberately, it's a lie.)

Anyway, if we must persist with this crazy ritual, could I please make two wee requests of clock manufacturers?

  1. Firstly, could you please make sure to put the buttons for adjusting the time somewhere easily accessible on the device, and could you also make sure to include single buttons for both adding 1 hour and subtracting 1 hour? Having to step through 23 hours, and having to do that for each of three or four clocks last night was just annoying. And having to take a clock apart to access the buttons and then having to step through not just 23 hours but 47 to get past the "24 hour clock" options was especially galling (IKEA, I'm looking at you).
  2. But, actually, since we're talking about new clocks, could you also please make sure to make these easily networked, so that they can pick up the time, and time changes, from a central point (or time server)? The "internet of things" is mostly a nonsense gimmick and waste of time, but this would be a case where it might actually make our lives just a little easier.

(In case you're wondering: no, this post is not entirely serious. The one thing that is is that we can't keep the clocks moved forwards throughout the winter - here in Scotland, the mornings are just too dark for that to be feasible, and it gets worse the further North you go. And it's really not practical for the schools in Scotland to instead move their start and end times instead - even if they could coordinate this, when they can't manage to coordinate holidays so that children and those of their parents who are teachers can holiday together, there would be the problem that everything else would be out of alignment.)

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