Monday, March 21, 2022

Daylight and Systems

I saw someone posit on Twitter that the Daylight Saving versus Standard Time thing is a fight between morning and night people. Now of course the factions are more nuanced than that, and full disclosure, I consider myself an afternoon person and a Daylight Savings stan.  If I have to pick more dark mornings versus more dark nights, I pick mornings.  
I found this article about the time we went all daylight saving all the time interesting mostly because it seems people really like it when there's lots of daylight and really hate it when it's not. 
I am going to digress a bit and tell you when I started at my university they were on a trimester system.  So most classes you enrolled in for the entire year - had two normal sized trimesters, and then one shorter one that had several weeks dedicated to final exams.  We had a winter break and a spring break between the first and second, and the start time of the first was designed to run us, through to winter break.  
Of course, not everything is a course designed for an entire academic year. So there were half courses, and if you were enrolled in one, you started with the other classes and then ended at a point in the middle of term two, and likely started another that then ran through the rest of the year.  
While I was there, the university began discussing moving to a semester plan.  In order to provide a small mid-semester break so one didn't have classes for a much longer period of time with no break before winter, the proposal involved shifting the start of semester earlier, truncating the spring break since it would now be a mid semester break, and then ending a few weeks earlier than we currently did.  
People were so upset.  They were losing summer, they were getting less time off, this was all a terrible idea and also their professor told them that because we were changing to semesters they had to get rid of classes.  
Now of course, if you did the math, the breaks and the days of classes were exactly the same, they were simply differently distributed.  Also, semesters were going to change course offerings, not because semesters were killing courses, but the opportunity to offer course aligned to semesters, was of course going to have departments re-evaluating their course offerings.  
A lot of the time change stuff feels like this to me.  I love getting to see sunshine midweek.  For me that means sunshine in the evening.  But of course if there was more sunshine in the morning and I choose to do things like sleep, then that is my choice.  
We have twenty four hours regardless of the times we assign them.  I will still be bad at calculating Alaska time.  (Sorry Alaskan peeps.  I'm working on this.)  Because we have school in winters, and because we get down to eight hours of daylight in most of the US, children will wait for and/or get off a bus in the dark. 
But see all those becauses?  Because we have school in winter.  So what if we didn't?  What if we had a longer break in winter to account for the lack of daylight?  
What if school was shorter so the number of days that was an issue was less?  
What if school started later and ended earlier?  
And I know there are ripple logistics.  Many schools don't have AC, so the academic year needs to wrap before the heat kicks in.  
Many school districts have limited bus drivers, so they stagger start times. 
But all these things are system failures we are accepting.  
And look, I work at a job where I need to show up at an exact time, and I get it.  Not everything can change and some of these changes are expensive and resources are slim these days.  
But I am fascinated that we have decided changing the time we call it, will cover up the issues we've been letting drag on for a while.