Using this Search Engine helps the Bay Weekly raise money so bookmark this page & get googling!

Search Goggle

Volume 14, Issue 43 ~ October 26 - November 1, 2006

Sky Watch

by J. Alex Knoll

Time Waits for No One

At least not until you figure out how to set all your clocks back an hour

A waning gibbous moon lights the way for trick-or-treaters Tuesday night, appearing high in the southeast at sunset, a few minutes after 5pm, and setting around 1am — Standard Time.

Yes, by Halloween, most of us will have finally found all our appliance, computer and car manuals so as to figure out how to set back one hour the clocks on our TVs, VCRs, coffee makers, ovens, microwaves and every other gadget.

Years ago, before mass communication and mass transit, our ancestors relied on a far more primitive technology for telling time — the sun. When you had an appointment to keep, you looked to the sun, which soon enough led to the invention of the sundial and sunglasses.

For countless millennia, that was as good as it got: people were always late, but they looked cool in their Ray Bans, and the sundial led to the advent of other garden art, like the garden gnome and pink flamingoes.

The first clocks were built in Germany in the early 1500s, but they were horribly inaccurate. No two clocks kept the same time. When traveling to a neighboring village, people were always late. Most often it didn’t matter, because many died from fatigue, as those early clocks were most cumbersome.

The strain of carrying such heavy clocks from village to village led to the invention of the train, the plane and the automobile, which led to a synchronized global time system then Daylight Savings Time, which every spring takes an hour of daylight from the morning and moves it to the evening.

But time waits for no one, and at 2am on the last Sunday in October — the first Sunday in November hereafter — we set our clocks back one hour. As a result, we’ll likely be late until the return of DST in March. But thank your lucky stars for the advent of miniaturization, which led to all those clock-bearing gadgets, as the first watches were murder on the wrist.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.