Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Before I get started on this section I have one more statement to make about the Mayan calendars.  Neither the Tzolkin which is thirteen equal periods of twenty days each for 260 days, nor the the Haab which is composed of 18 equal periods of tweny days and an extra five days which are not part of any period (total of 365 days) are as accurate as the Gregorian.  if the Gregorian was allowed to go both forwards and backwards from 1582 when it was implemented it would not only be the most accurate calendar, but just as regular as the Haab with its extra five days or the Julian with a leap day every year that is evenly divisible by four.  The Gregorian just drops 3 out of the 4 century leap days that the Julian adds.

Calendar Accuracy
Program Representation
2012-01 Folder (download program)

At one time the United States had mainly incandescent bulbs.  The primary argument for selling DST was the energy savings due to one less hour of them being turned on.  In today's world with Compact Fluorescent lights, that is less of an issue than it once was:

Compact Fluorescent Lights

The most surprising thing to turn up was that we now have a side by side DST versus regular time to compare the two in this energy savings argument now.  Indiana has proved that DST causes more energy to be used, not less.  Here is what Joe Romm has found on the issue:

DST Wastes Energy

It seems Indiana farmers got tired of all the thrashing and that only 15 of the 92 Indiana counties were doing the DST hop dance.  But then Indiana shifted to everybody doing DST by mandating it in the state legislature.  What was the result?  They had to spend $8.6 million more in electric bills every year.  You may be tempted to say that is an exception.  Is it?  Here is what the highly respected Wall Street Journal says:

Wall Street Journal concurs - DST wastes energy

The Golf, Sporting, and other merchandising  people continue to cite an ancient study that DST saves energy.  With shifts of people to more Southern states, the increased energy use of air conditioning is playing more of a factor.  Back when DST was created many people didn't have air conditioning.  Now they do, and because of DST it runs an extra hour at night because people usually turn the AC off when they go to bed.  I am sure I have this link here some place else but it is the Huffington Post weighing in with a more general look at what the effects of DST are but they also mention that over-all DST probably does not save energy:

Huffington Post concurs - DST wastes energy

I have only one more point to make here.  If DST does cause us to use more non-renewable petroleum products and coal and every indication points that way then it is potentially causing an increase in global warming which causes us to use even more air-conditioning which means more coal is burned which leads to more global warming which ...  It gives us an ever downward spiral to more energy use, not less.  These long term effects that don't take global warming into account in earlier studies need to realize that it may be a factor.  Personally I am not all that sold on the cause of global warming.  I can remember the effects of Mount Saint-Helens eruption.  It caused so much snow to fall that it was finally just compacted down on minor streets in Salt Lake City.  In the spring they removed the compacted snow with front end loaders.  They also had an abrupt shift from cold to warm, causing the overflow pipes to no longer be able to contain the run-off and they directed the flow down the streets.  So what we do can possibly cause problems.  But I would say DST is more likely to contribute to warming and thus increased energy use for air conditioning in the long term.  No long term effects and factors have been analyzed in the energy saving issues.  In all future studies they must be looked at.  If we don't do that then we may be robbing Paul in the future with less energy savings to pay Peter with more energy savings now.

Even if DST did save energy and it seems it doesn't, again, by shifting to just doing things earlier we achieve the same results without using DST to achieve it.

If you ask me, heat management is the big factor here.  In southern Spain they manage that by having a lot of cave houses.  I have been in one such house built in the US, not in Spain.  The temperature is remarkably consistent, varying little from summer to winter.  In winter it is much warmer than an ordinary house.  In summer it is cool.  If you want to save energy, build a cave house.  If that isn't possible, then use more insulation.  You will use less energy in winter since you have housing that stays warmer.  In summer you use much less air conditionng.  More insulation will save much more energy than DST ever will save or has saved. So will shifting to renewable rersources like wind and solar to create electricity which in turn will create less CO2 gas that will futher reduce the need for cooling in the summer.  There are a lot of things that can be done to save energy but DST is not one of them.

In short, DST causes us to use more energy, rather than less energy.  Since energy savings is the main supporting argument for DST, once it is shown to be false it is time to just dump DST into the trash-can it came out of.  Let the congressional golfers schedule their government meetings earlier so that they can do their golfing longer and later but do it without DST.  Maybe they should do all their government stuff from home to save even more energy.  There is certainly a lof of hot air generated in those congressional meetings on the subject of DST.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I have had I don't how many conversations wih people about TV schedules.  I can remember an earlier age where they would say 8 PM Eastern, 7 PM Central.  So that makes it 6 PM for Mountain and 5 PM for Pacific, right?  Wrong.  Here is where we get into a lot of problems.

I just went and shifted my History H2 channel from EST to MST in the browser on the computer.  Wonders of wonders and miracles of miracles, it is correct according to what Comcast provides.  But H2 which used to be the International History Channel has never had the problems the History Channel has.  So I shift to the History Channel with Comcast and it is showing "Hairy Bikers, Squirrel Stew".  No amount of shifting the time zone in the browser makes it line up.  How in the world are they going to get it right for DST when they don't get it right now.  There may be a possibility Comcast is airing later but I doubt it.

Since I am in the MST zone I should shift to it, right?  Wrong.  What I do is note the following for every channel.

1. How many feeds do the have?  Occasionally but very rarely would they have one for all four continental United States Time Zones.  Usually they have an Eastern feed at one UTC time and a Pacific feed at a UTC time that is three hours later which means the local time for both the east and west coast are the same.  Central usually gets the eastern feed which means it is one hour earlier in local time.  Mountain can get either Eastern in which case it is two hours earlier or Pacific which means it is an hour later. Some times they have only one feed.  In that case Central is an hour earlier than Eastern, Mountain is two hours earlier than Eastern, and Pacific is three hours earlier than Eastern in local time.  Occasionally, Central has its own feed.

2. You will note I studiously avoid mentioning the feeds in anything other than UTC time.  If you don't do that you foul up.   EST = UTC-5, CST = UTC-6, MST = UTC-7, and PST = UTC-8.  For DST you just subtract one less hour.

3.  Where the problem comes in for MST/MDT is Arizona and attempting to use local time because Arizona is always MST.  I can guarantee that well over half of the TV channels will never get Mountain time straight because of that.

4. Finally I just set it to which ever feed Mountain gets and do the adding and subtracting myself.  Except for the History and a few other channels that usually works, until we have a DST shift.  That usually fouls things up for a few days.

Fortunately, Comcast and other cable providers seem to get things straight.  But even maneuvering around 24 hours in advance is sometimes impossible.  So if you want to see what time Christmas programs come on you really need to use the browser.

Now we add to this already complex situation DST.  When I started off a long time ago I showed just complex that is in a previous blog entry I showed a picture how they have to do those transitions.  I have news people - they are special pages they have to put in place twice per year to handle.  Some never do get it handled.  They have my sympathy.  But more to the point it causes problems for me in knowing what is on when.  There are some Channels I do have mapped out but even now, some are mystery to me.  The History Channel (not H2) will never get it straight until DST is abolished.  They are not the only ones.

So what are airlines, buses, and trains using?  If they are smart they are using UTC time.  Again, using DST fouls them up no end.  A long time ago they were able to use the local times.  But the trains and plane especially probably just use UTC time to avoid collisions.  The avoidance of train collisions was what drove the decision for time zones in the first place on land.  It was always needed at sea for longitude.

There is no doubt in my mind that doing away with DST and having the channels work from the base of their UTC time feeds will finally bring an end to the madness of finding what is airing when.  We will never achieve consistent across the board TV schedules unless we get rid of DST!  Next, Energy Savings.