Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Congress and DST

Proof once again that the people in charge don't have any clue as to reality.

Congress passed changing Daylight Saving Time to start three weeks earlier (March 11th) and end a week later (November 4). They looked at 30+ year old data and said "we can save energy" despite all the current research that shows that we wouldn't save any energy. Just because it gets darker/lighter earlier doesn't mean we're going to change habits of heating our homes or, in this modern era, turning on or off our computers and electronic devices. Congress is simply out of touch with reality on this one.

For astronomers, it’s bad news, as we don’t have enough dark skies during the warmer months, and now we will have a month less. In reality, because we are just "shifting" the hours of daylight forward or backward, we're not actually "losing" anything. It just means starting an hour later each night. But it's a pain, and is unnecessary. But there's nothing we can do. Or is there?

An article that was in the Grand Rapids Press on October 29, 2006 said this…
“Congress passed the changes last year, but lawmakers reserved the right to scrap the new dates; if you don't like them, complain to the Secretary of Energy, who can recommend going back to the old ones.”
The astronomical community as a whole is against the new DST standards, and is speaking out. My astronomy club isn't actively taking sides in this, because it's against their non-partisan rules in their bylaws. So when I tell people to contact the Department of Energy Secretary, I'm just doing it as a "regular" person, and not someone who has any official capacity one way or another.
I think it's s a stupid idea, this change forced on us, and have already written my letter to the Secretary. I just hope enough people do.

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