Time to flip the switch
Daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday. It could be one of the last times we turn the clocks back after the Senate approved a measure called the Sun Protection Act back in March. The bill would make daylight saving time permanent from 2023. The bill must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by the President.
Since 2015, about 30 states have enacted legislation to end the twice-yearly clock changeover, with some states proposing to only do so if neighboring states do the same.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, suggested it would reduce crime, encourage children to play outside and reduce the risk of heart attacks and car accidents.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the issue last spring at which Rep. Frank Pallone, the committee chairman, said: “Losing that one hour of sleep seems to affect us for days afterward.” It can also have a devastating effect on the sleeping habits of our children and our pets.”
Pallone supports ending DST, but hasn’t yet decided whether to support Daylight Saving Time or Standard Time as a permanent choice.
At the hearing, Vanderbilt Sleep Division director Beth Malow argued that daylight saving time makes it harder to be alert in the morning, saying it’s “like living in the wrong time zone for nearly eight months of the year.”
But the research overall is mixed, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine supports the opposite shift to a permanent standard time, as research shows our bodies function best with more sunlight in the morning.
Note: In California, Senate Bill 328 went into effect this year, requiring high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and middle schools no earlier than 8 a.m
If you turn back the clocks, you gain 3,600 seconds of the day. Not much considering there are 86,400 seconds in a day. The first clocks with a second hand appeared in the 1750s.
Take an eon
In formal usage, eons are the longest stretches of geological time (epochs are the second longest). Three eons are recognized: the Phanerozoic (reaching from the present to the beginning of the Cambrian), the Proterozoic, and the Archean. Less formally, Eon often refers to a span of 1 billion years.
The following four calculations were made by National Park Service geologists:
If a one-inch thread represents a year, then 6 feet is the average lifetime of a person living in the United States. A thread representing all of recorded human history would be 1.6 miles long. And a piece of string representing the age of the earth would be 72,600 miles long. This length of cord could be wrapped around the earth three times.
Let’s say a quarter represents each year in Earth’s history. A stack of 4.6 billion quarters would be more than 5,000 miles high. Such a stack could reach from your location through the center of the earth and halfway to the other side.
Give time a hand
Spread your arms wide. Look at one hand with the span of your arms representing all geological time: your fingertips represent the formation of the earth and the beginning of geological time. Now look at your other hand: the Cambrian begins at the wrist area of this hand, and the Permian Extinction is at the other end of the palm. The Cenozoic is in a fingerprint, and with a single swipe of a nail file you erase human history.
Geological time scale as a calendar year
Geologic time began ticking when the Earth formed about 4.6 billion years ago. Extrapolating this vast span of time to our calendar year, each of the 12 months represents 383 million years (4.6 billion ÷ 12). In general, each year has 365 days, so each day represents 12.6 million years on our geological calendar. Each day has 24 hours, so one hour represents 525,114 “geological years”. Every hour has 60 minutes, so one minute is 8,752 “geological years”. After all, every minute has 60 seconds, so every “geological second” represents 146 years.
Scaled to the geological calendar, here are some geological “holidays”:
January 1: Formation of the earth
Feb 13: Formation of the oldest known rocks
March 27 First recorded life forms
Nov 19 Cambrian “explosion” of hard-shelled life forms
Nov. 23: Life draws ashore (Ordovician)
26 Nov: First mass extinction (late Ordovician)
Dec 3: Second mass extinction (late Devonian)
Dec 12: Third and largest mass extinction of all time (end of Permian)
Dec 15: Fourth Mass Extinction (Triassic)
Dec 15: Dinosaurs become dominant
Dec 19: Fifth and most famous mass extinction; Dinosaurs are dying out
December 19: Flowering plants begin to cover the landscape
Dec 31: Pleistocene Ice Ages (last 3 hours and 26 minutes)
12/31, 11:38 p.m.: Homo sapiens (modern human) appears
December 31, 11:59 p.m.: Beginning of the geological time we live in (Holocene epoch)
Done in no time
4.6 billion years is a lot of eons, so here’s something scientific that’s much faster. A Jiffy is a degree in electronics, computer science, astrophysics and quantum physics. In physics, it’s roughly the time it takes light to travel 1 centimeter in a vacuum, roughly 33.3564 picoseconds (a picosecond is one trillionth of a second).
Sources: The Associated Press, Timeanddate.com, National Park Service, NBC News, National Conference of State Legislatures, California Legislature
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/11/04/why-california-students-wont-be-impacted-by-daylight-saving-time-clock-changes/ Why California Students Are Not Affected by Daylight Saving Time Changes – Orange County Register