Description of relations between Axial tilt (o...

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Daylight Saving Time is a time of loss for some. Those who complain they ‘lose’ an hour in March should beware. We may have lost yet another 1.26 microseconds for good, too.

The massive earthquake in Japan was so fierce that it literally shifted the earth’s axis. As any lay physicist (or is is geologist?) knows, our days are measured by the earth’s rotation.

According to the Italian Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology, the 9.0 earthquake moved the Earth by ten centimeters. It is the largest shift reported in over fifty years. Last year, after the Chilean earthquake (8.8) we lost 1.26 microseconds. So the question during the lengthening of days for the Northern Hemisphere is, are our days really getting shorter?

If yes, how will you spend what time you have left?

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Where in time do we live?

November 8, 2010

A map of the time zones of the United States; ...
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For those of you in North America, time may have been on your mind a bit more this weekend as you gained a clock hour. For a week the European continent (and much of the rest of the world) was one hour closer to the US time zones than usual since we changed our clocks at the end of October. The Star-Telegram and I had a chat about time zones a while back, which is published here.

USA Today recently came out with a snapshot graph of how the population is spread out amongst the United States’ six time zones. It’s no surprise that the East Coast wins out with 47.5% of the US population nestled between the Atlantic and somewhere before the Mississippi. In the Central time zone 28.9% hang out amongst the cornfields (and Chicago) while only 6.6% reside in Mountain time. A paltry 16.4% live in Pacific Time while Alaska has 0.2% of the population. Although much smaller geographically, Hawaii enjoys 0.4%.

Wherever you are in the world, remember that time is merely a construct. What’s most important is what you do with the time that you have!

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Remember that cool car Michael J Fox drove in the movie, ‘Back to the Future’, that ultra-suave time machine that allowed him to not only look cool on screen, but also impact events in past and future? On Sunday, March 14 at 2 a.m., we’ll be wishing we looked that dapper. Daylight Saving Time has more of a bewildering effect on our organism than anything else. It is mini jet-lag at its best.

Every year it’s the same old story. We switch the clocks, blink bleary-eyed out the window, and wonder why it’s still dark outside. We battle with our own instincts to curl up into the fetal position for one more round of sleep.

Let’s look at it positively. It is the one moment of the year in which we get to jump forward an hour with a simple twist of the clock. A minor inconvenience of modern life, Daylight Saving Time is meant to save energy. While most of our lives is spent on some level of clock combat as we try to beat more into our schedules, Daylight Saving Time has more to do with war than you might know.

Daylight Saving Time was first instituted during World War I in the United States to take advantage of the longer daylight hours for war production between the months of April and October. During World War II the time change was reinstated for the same reasons. Between the wars, the federal government allowed each State to decide whether or not to observe the time change. It wasn’t until 1966 that the Uniform Time Act standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time. During the Bush Administration, Daylight Saving Time was extended by four weeks after the Energy Policy Act was passed in 2005. By 2007, forty-seven and one-half states, with the exception of Arizona, Hawaii and the Eastern Time Zone of Indiana that do not observe the time change, got to spring forward in March instead of April.

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Time Resources:

Time around the world:  www.worldtimeserver.com

Time-saving tips:  www.PowerofSlow.org

Virtual calendar: www.google.com/calendar

Biological Age: www.realage.com/

If changing the clock gives you the blues, you are not alone. According to an informal poll on PowerofSlow.org, most people reported feeling groggy and disoriented for a few days after the clocks turn forward. According to research presented in the Journal of Applied Psychology in September 2009, job-related injuries soar right after Daylight Saving Time. Although it is intended to save energy, in some cases changing the clock costs people sleep, thereby leaving them lethargic and more accident-prone.

To ensure you keep a spring in your step, consider these tips to offset the effects of this year’s clock change:

  1. Progressively go to bed a few minutes earlier a week before the clock change.
  2. Be sure you get sufficient exposure to natural light. Your body’s circadian rhythm depends on it.
  3. Not only the time change, but also the change in weather can affect your immune system. Eat vitamin-rich foods. A rule of thumb is to eat one thing in its natural state with every meal (yes, lettuce on your sandwich counts!).
  4. Sleep with the shades up for a few days so it is easier to get up in the morning.
  5. Research at the University of Sussex has shown that reading for just six minutes can reduce your stress level by sixty-eight percent.  Integrate some reading time into your routine before you go to sleep.

Our relationship with time impacts every other relationship we have. When we feel rushed and time-starved, we enjoy our lives less. Daylight Saving Time is a great opportunity to embrace the notion of time abundance, even as we seemingly ‘lose an hour’.  Time abundance is a mindset that says you have more than enough time to fulfill your ultimate purpose. Just know you are only temporarily without the hour this March because you get it back in October. Besides, if we are all still around in 2012, you get to jump for joy for a whole extra day on February 29th. Now that’s reason enough to leap through the year!

Nature’s Narrative

February 22, 2010

For the third time this winter, we’ve seen the sun.

I exaggerate.

For the second.

It has been a Star Wars-like season ~ dark battling light. It appeared for a time that the darkness had won. But in the last few days, Nature has spoken in more ways than one.

It started with a long walk outdoors I took yesterday. Face sunward, I gleefully donned my winter boots for a communion with the light. The concerto of spring-minded birds taunted my ears. I stomped through the crisp snow to the forest’s edge. Dipping into the shaded woods, I followed deer tracks for a while, then a set of badger paws that seemed to be following the deer themselves. The baby deer tracks made my heart leap for joy.

“You made it. Your mama, too.” Winter’s final cry has come in the form of curtains of snow colliding with the Earth as the sun’s proximity leaves the houses dripping.

Nature has spoken. And I like what I hear.