So the Miami Herald Editorial Board ("End 'spring forward, fall back' for good," Nov. 9) wants to stick with daylight saving time all year. If I lived in Miami, I might agree. But here in Minnesota, the winter days are a lot shorter. I looked it up: On Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year is 10 hours and 31 minutes long in Miami, but only eight hours and 46 minutes long in Minneapolis. On Dec. 21 in Minneapolis, the sun will come up at 7:48 a.m. — but if we didn't "fall back" an hour after the end of DST, the sunrise instead would be at 8:48 a.m. If we stuck with DST year-round, the sunrise in Minneapolis would be after 8 a.m. from Nov. 7 through Feb. 23. In the depths of Minnesota winter, getting up in the dark for two and a half months out of every year would be a genuine price to pay.
Timothy Taylor, Bloomington
This is in further reply to the article "Make standard time, not daylight savings time, permanent" (Opinion Exchange, Nov. 16).
The argument appears to be twofold: that standard time is "natural" and that DST results in more energy consumption.
The answer to the first argument, leaving aside whether nature is actually constant and immutable, is that mankind has always circumvented the laws of nature to improve the quality of life. Nature did not provide for people to be cooled in summer or warmed in winter or to fly through the air. We have overruled nature with air conditioning, furnaces and airplanes.
As for the second argument (energy usage), there are questions about the underlying study. Logically, the increased usage from arising an hour earlier in the morning would be offset by decreased usage from retiring an hour earlier at night. Besides, is the difference substantial enough to justify a decision opposed by a large share of the population?
DST vs. standard time should not be viewed as a science issue but as a quality-of-life issue. People would rather have an hour of daylight in the evening when they are awake and active than in the morning when they are asleep. The clock should reflect that preference with year-round DST. The side-effects are inconsequential compared to the increase in quality of life.
William Soules, Minnetonka
Push back against DST seems to be especially strong this year. Or perhaps the press is just getting used to stoking any discontent available.
I have to say that I find DST somewhat annoying, but nothing that rises to the level of writing my congressional representative. Yeah, it's sort of a pain to change the clocks (those geriatric models that still don't update themselves) and adjusting one's sleep cycle to going to bed and getting up a little later (or vice versa). One a scale of 1 to 10, my discontent is about 2.
So why even write about this topic? To me this is the perfect problem that calls for a solution from the radical center — one that is sure to make people angry on both sides of an argument.
From what I read, just about everyone wants to do away with this time shift. The controversy seems to be about whether the permanent shift gives us the extra daylight in the morning (standard time) or in the evening (DST). I personally like the sun coming up a little earlier, but I can also understand why golfers might like the extra light in the afternoon. Both sides seem to be able to make a case that the health and safety of people improves with either earlier or later sunlight — melatonin, traffic accidents, etc.
So here's my modest centrist proposal: Let's reset all of our clocks just 30 minutes forward next spring and leave them there forever. Neither the early birds nor the night owls will get everything they want, but everyone gets a little.
I really don't understand why I've not read this solution before. It's brilliant, if I do say so myself.
Doug Johnson, Burnsville
Regarding seasonal time changes, I really don't see what the fuss is about. I think most of us lose an hour or two of sleep regularly, whether through insomnia or losing yourself in a book or myriad other ways.
I lose an hour or two of sleep every time the Vikings play a late game. On Sundays I usually lose a couple hours because I'm in weekend mode, staying up later than my normal 8 p.m. bedtime and sleeping later than my usual 4 a.m. wake-up, so I don't get more than five or six hours on Sunday nights. And yet life goes on.
Funny how people don't think twice about an hour or two (or more) of time change when it involves going on vacation. Yet change an hour for DST, and the fretting and hand-wringing begins. I don't get it.
If we do end up changing it one way or the other, my vote is for more daytime daylight in the winter.
John Morgan, Burnsville
Before we get too caught up in the current enthusiasm to scrap our biannual clock changes, we should take a fairly basic step: Consult a sunrise-sunset chart to see what the effects of proposed changes would be.
Staying on DST year-round would push our latest sunrises in Minneapolis near 9 a.m. In fact, the sun would rise later than 8:30 for about two months, from early December until early February. That means children walking to school or the bus stop when it is both dark and peak rush hour. We tried this in 1974; it was so unpopular the change was reversed.
Staying on Standard Time year-round would push our earliest sunrises to about 4:25 a.m. In fact, the sun would rise before 4:30 for nearly six weeks, from late May until early July, and before 5:00 from the end of May to the beginning of August. All that squandered daylight before most people are awake would be subtracted from our summer evenings.
Springing forward and falling back may not seem ideal at the time, but a longer view shows it's preferable to either of the alternatives.
K.S. McClure, St. Paul
BIRDS AND STADIUMS
Just fix the glass, already
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) runs the football stadium downtown. Current management decided to spray something called "BirdBuffer" into the air for several blocks around the stadium — air that most definitely does not belong to them ("Audubon group rebuffs bird repellent at stadium," Nov. 19). They don't even know what's in the stuff because the manufacturer says 80% of it is a "trade secret."
The owners planted this stadium site in the middle of the single biggest migratory bird pathway around. Birds are dying by the thousands, crashing into all that reflective glass. They knew this would happen before they built it. They refuse to fix it because the Wilf family, which owns the Vikings, want to keep the shiny newness, regardless of the ongoing slaughter.
If the MSFA can spray unknown chemicals into the air we breathe, why can't they spray a non-reflective coating onto their stadium? Drones can provide targeted, noninvasive and accurate application. If they won't do it themselves, others can do it for them.
Dave Porter, Minneapolis
Ho-hum, here we go again. Over many years the Audubon Society has ranted on about the stadium being injurious for birds migrating near the river.
Let's ask them a few logical questions: Are they concerned about the 41-story Eleven Building right off the river, or the new 37-story Four Seasons on Hennepin and Washington Avenues only a few blocks from the river, both made with glass?
Are Audubon Society members anti-football? Not a peep out of them on those buildings from what I've heard ... pardon the pun.
Barbara Nylen, Minneapolis
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