The Scourge of Daylight Savings Time

Endless Summer – New York Times
Michael Downing, author of the book Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time has an editorial in today’s New York Times which encapsulates his opinion about the drawbacks of DST, and the real reasons behind it.
It’s not the farmers.
Daylight Savings Time is a gimmick, really. Its not really an energy-saver, as Downing points out in his editorial. Its a bookkeeping measure, nothing more.
The problem is that its being extended in 2007 from March to November as part of the Energy Bill. The major upshot to this is that in November and March, toward the end of the newly extended DST, the sun will not rise until 7:30 in the morning.
Somehow I don’t think the legislators who crafted the energy bill (or, let’s face it, the lobbyists) considered the fact that there will be millions of schoolchildren going to school in pitch black darkness.
No, Big Business retailers, with the potential of their consumers to do more shopping at the end of the day, is the ones who will mostly benefit. And that’s what counts, right?

Hugo Award Winners 2005

As this weekend was Worldcon in Glasgow, that means, of course, that the Hugo Awards were awarded…
And something SO good, that I can’t keep it below the cut. My friend Elizabeth “Sarah” Bear, author of Hammered, and Scardown, won the Campbell Award for best new writer!!! It’s technically not a Hugo, but, then, the Peace Prize is technically not a Nobel Prize either.
Do you really need any more reasons to try her work? Scardown is moving ever higher on my reading queue and like Hammered will be reviewed on the blog once I get to and devour it.
And so, to the other winners…

Continue reading Hugo Award Winners 2005

Too many Planets?

Too Many Planets Numb the Mind – New York Times
The NY Times seems to be taking the position of Neil Degrasse Tyson, head of the Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.
When the new planetarium was first unveiled, Pluto was not given a place in the large scale model of the solar system with the other planets. Instead it was lumped with the comet like bodies of the Kuiper belt. That is to say, it was demoted.
Now, with the announcement of a new body beyond Pluto which is larger than our ninth and smallest planet, the Times doesn’t want children to count to 10 planets.
“Our own preference is to take a cleaner way out by dropping Pluto from the planetary ranks. Scientists may well discover many more ice balls bigger than Pluto, and it’s a safe bet that few in our culture want to memorize the names of 20 or more planets. Far better to downgrade Pluto to the status of an icy sphere that was once mistakenly deemed a planet because we had not yet discovered its compatriots on the dark fringes of the solar system.”
Me, I think we can keep Pluto in on the Grandfather Clause, and declare a Planet to be a body large enough that it has a spherical shape due to gravity, that orbits the Sun in the general plane of the solar system. While Pluto itself (nor any asteroids, nor any Kuiper belt objects) would qualify, let Pluto remain, rather than demote it.