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March 12, 2011

Reminder: Um, DST Starts Tonight

That stupid-ass time change is upon us again.

This tinkering with clocks is our inheritance from a people obsessed with time. Clocks spread rapidly in early America. They were expensive imports, but popular among the Puritans, who despised idleness. Massachusetts passed a law in 1663 making the wasting of time a crime: “No person, householder or other shall spend his time idly or unprofitably, under pain of such punishment as the court shall think meet to inflict.” A century later, the Boston-born Benjamin Franklin (“time is money”) proposed a version of daylight saving time as a joke to stop slothful Parisians from sleeping in. But it was an English Puritan, Ralph Thoresby, who invented an early alarm clock.

By the mid-19th century, Americans were producing their own clocks. Workshops in Connecticut produced cheap models with wooden gears. Peddlers sold them from coast to frontier. The “Yankee clock peddlers” managed to “stick up a clock in every cabin in the western country,” reported George William Featherstonhaugh, an English geographer who visited the States. “Wherever we have been, in Kentucky, in Indiana, in Illinois, in Missouri, and here in every dell of Arkansas, and in cabins where there was not a chair to sit on, there was sure to be a Connecticut clock.”

There's a fairly interesting recounting of the phenomena of setting our clocks this way. But it boils down to one simple fact: Congress is made up of a bunch of meddlers.

Set your clocks one hour ahead. (So you lose an hour of sleep...or an hour of drinking while sobbing over your pathetic existence, as the case may be.)

I'll be all messed up for a week because of the change. As far as my body is concerned, the sun is in the wrong place in the sky. I might as well be on another planet.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:18 PM

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