New York & Los Angeles Just An Hour Apart?

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It's about time

Today's the first day of standard time. At 2 AM this morning, Daylight Saving's time ended. No, I got that right. You'd think it was the other way around, daylight savings would come for the winter months, but it's actually the summer, when you analyze it. Veracity Stew.com:

It would seem to be more efficient to do away with the practice altogether. The actual energy savings are minimal, if they exist at all. Frequent and uncoordinated time changes cause confusion, undermining economic efficiency. There’s evidence that regularly changing sleep cycles, associated with daylight saving, lowers productivity and increases heart attacks. Being out of sync with European time changes was projected to cost the airline industry $147 million a year in travel disruptions.

Bottom line is it gets darker earlier now but we have more daylight in the morning. That is of course, unless you live farther from the equator where you get 24 hour daylight in the summer (Scandanavia, Alaska) and total dark days during the winter. Kind of crazy but people adjust.

Here we are graphically now, and as proposed:

time zones

What you see above is the breakdown of the four time zones we currently have in the states (on the left) and the proposed two time zone map on the right.

Okay, what's up with that? Well, for starters, practicality. We're basically a country of commercialism. Business is where the money is. As technology has become globalized, so has business. And in the states, it's nothing to have offices across the entire country. But what happens when you want to do business in New York and you live in LA? You have to find a mutual time when everyone is in the office. But when it's 9 AM in LA, it's noon in NYC and everyone's gone to lunch. When they get back around 3 PM Eastern, it's noon in LA  and the west coast people are heading off to lunch. So your mutually "in the office hours" are really very limited. When the LA people return from lunch at three, the New Yorkers are going home for the day.

VERACITY STEW.COM

This year, Americans on Eastern Standard Time should set their clocks back one hour (like normal), Americans on Central and Rocky Mountain time do nothing, and Americans on Pacific time should set their clocks forward one hour. After that we won’t change our clocks again – no more daylight saving. This will result in just two time zones for the continental United States. The east and west coasts will only be one hour apart. Anyone who lives on one coast and does business with the other can imagine the uncountable benefits of living in a two-time-zone nation (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).

As it is now the time zones are arbitrarily drawn. Some larger than others, some states even in two different time zones. Crazy.

Now before you go all ballistic on me, think about it for a beat. What really changes? We'll no longer lose an hour of sleep. We commercially can be more productive. And even now in some states it gets darker earlier than in others. We'll only be, at the most one hour time difference than anyone else in the US.

So what are we holding onto:

holding onto time

It’s a controversial practice that became the official standard in America in 1966 and adjusted throughout the 1970s with the intent of conserving energy. The fall time change feels particularly hard because we lose another hour of evening daylight, just as the days grow shorter.

Truth is, the hours of sunlight per day don't change, nor do the hours of darkness. That's determined by how close or far we live from the equator and that's not changing. Just when those hours fall. We simply adjust.

Think of how much easier it will be to chat with friends on the other side of the country? And plane flights will be so much easier to figure out. You now leave LA at noon for a five hour flight to NYC and get there around 8 PM, eastern time. Wouldn't it be better to arrive at 6 local? Look at how much more time you'd have to spend in the Big Apple.

As it is, there are states like Arizona and Hawaii that opted out of Daylight Savings and don't have time changes. They survive quite well. So can the rest of us. And no more states with two time zones.

Maybe it's time to change time. Think about it. Nothing much is going to be different, except perhaps our sanity an not having to become slave twice a year to programming all those damn, digital clocks.

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  • David G

    Oh, I think there's justifications for the change or not -- but I wanted people to think about it. High noon is but a very small one. Shadows aren't the important issue today. Communications and commerce outweigh those. Things like a single state having two time zones offers bigger problems. Mostly, this is fodder for thought, and doing away with daylight saving's time. It's importance is relatively bogus now.

  • differentdrummer

    Your point about daylight saving time is one thing, but going to two time zones has one strong counter argument: the curvature and rotation of the planet. Time zones are the (approximate) size they are so that noon is when the sun is directly overhead wherever you are.