Monday, November 4, 2013

Opening the mind wider, with DST

[As a part of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), I'm posting here once a day during November.  Today is Day 4.]

My friends and family in the USA all turned their clocks back an hour last night as Daylight Savings Time (DST) ended.  I am now 15 hours ahead of them instead of 14 because Korea does not use DST.

Just like animal noises, it was during my study abroad year in Spain when I first learned that Daylight Savings Time wasn't global.  Spain does use Daylight Savings Time, but that year we changed our clocks a week or two after the USA.  That discovery led me to learn that only some countries use Daylight Savings Time.  Mind blown!

It feels wrong to say that I assumed all countries changed their clocks back when we did.  Rather (like the animal noises), it's something I had never even thought about.  I didn't know that it could vary by country!  The things I had been exposed to in my Wisconsin life never pushed me to think about DST in other parts of the world.

For you curious people who may have already wiki'd it, here's a neat map about DST from Wikipedia:

Blue - DST is used
Orange - DST is no longer used
Red - DST had never been used

Korea does not currently use DST, but they did in 1948-1951, 1955-1960 and 1987-1988.  Knowing this, I told my co-teacher about DST today, thinking it might be interesting to her.  It was, as she had never heard of such a thing.  She was very surprised that it exists, seemed a bit confused about why we do it, and wondered if there weren't problems getting everyone to change the time.

It does seem kind of crazy when you look at it from an outsider's point of view.  Every computer, phone, microwave, car, electronic, watch, wall clock, etc. must be changed.  And six months from now, you must change it again.  Apart from changing the time in your home, think about possible consequences for international businesses.  What a headache to schedule meetings, make calls, etc.  I suppose most companies and airlines must have DST built into their computer systems, but still.

Is it worth it?  I think perhaps it isn't, but I haven't heard of any strong opposition to DST during my lifetime.  I don't see it going away anytime soon.  So for now, it will simply be less likely that I call anyone in the midwest on my weekday evenings, as my 10pm bedtime is now your 7am wakeup time.
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