Seize the daylight
"AN extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later."- Like this Winston Churchill explains the Daylight saving time or DST. As history says, Benjamin Franklin conceived of it. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle endorsed it. Winston Churchill campaigned for it. Kaiser Wilhelm first employed it. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt went to war with it and now Bangladesh it trying to fight an energy crisis with it.
“Daylight saving time” or DST is not a new concept. The idea is advancing clocks so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less. Typically clocks are adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in autumn. Or in short, you can say it like this “Spring forward...Fall back.” And with this you will have a range of benefits and complexities in daily life. But let's find out some old tales about this DST.
Thought it is apparently a new concept in out country the history of altering the time of the watches for the better use of the natural light goes back to 7th century BC. Roman water clocks had different scales for different months of the year. Then for a long time people of the earth didn't try any hocus pocus with clocks. During his time as an American envoy to France Benjamin Franklin saw that the wise people of Paris were saving candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight. And then he wrote these words "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise". But wise Mr. Franklin did not propose DST.
The modern DST was first proposed by the New Zealand entomologist “George Vernon Hudson” and later an Englishman “William Willett” lobbied unsuccessfully for the proposal about his version of DST in the UK. After a few years during World War I Germany and its allies, and their occupied zones were the first European nations to use Willett's invention, starting April 30, 1916, as a way to conserve coal during wartime. Britain, most of its allies, and many European neutrals soon followed suit. Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year; and the United States adopted it in 1918. Since then more than 70 countries are of the world using “Day light saving system” and you can add another country to that list user because Bangladesh is also adopting DST from 19th June.
One of the biggest reasons Bangladesh is adopting Daylight Saving Time (DST) is to save electricity. Newer studies are being done to see if that long-held reason is true. As 25 percent of all the electricity we use is for lighting and small appliances, such as TVs, VCRs and stereos. A good percentage of energy consumed by lighting and appliances occurs in the evening when families are home. Additionally the electricity used in the shopping malls and other places also spikes up as the sunsets. Daylight Saving Time makes the sun set one hour later and therefore reduces the period between sunset and bedtime by one hour. This means that less electricity would be used for lighting and appliances late in the day. Not only does the benefit come in the electricity sector but also the economy can get a jump-start with it. Retailers, supermarkets, and other businesses benefit from extra afternoon sunlight, as it induces customers to shop for a bit more. But DST has mixed effects on health. In societies with fixed work schedules it provides more afternoon sunlight for outdoor exercise. And initially clock shifts disrupt sleep and reduce its efficiency. But as we are the most adaptable species on the planet these are a small price to pay for the benefits we will get from DST.
But before the application of DST system people have to know about the concept and what change is going to happen on 19th June. People must remember to change their clocks; this consumes time, particularly for mechanical clocks that cannot be moved backward safely. People who work across time zone boundaries need to keep track of multiple DST rules, as not all locations observe DST or observe it the same way.
“The government has decided to launch a massive campaign all over the country so that people understand DST when it comes into effect on June 19, setting the clocks one hour ahead,” said State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Shamsul Haque Tuku. You might think, how does this thing work? It's actually pretty simple. Let me give you the simplest solution. Suppose you go to sleep at 11:30pm everyday (though it is unlikely for a teenager, that's why I used suppose). Just before going to sleep fast-forward your clock 1 hour and TADA… it's done.
"It seems very strange . . . that in the course of the world's history so obvious an improvement should never have been adopted . . . The next generation would be the better for having had this extra hour of daylight in their childhood." You will agree with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when you'll get used to DST. Improving the electricity crisis is the first reason for the Bangladeshi government for adopting “Daylight Saving Time” system and the national power grid will save 200-250MHz of electricity everyday. But it is not enough for us. Though it is a great initiative we have to find alternative power sources. And on 19th June while you've got the ladder out to change the time of our wall clock, why not switch a regular bulb with energy efficient bulbs?
By Zabir Hasan
Starting this week, we'll be running a bi-weekly column where our writers discuss the craft and process of writing, and share their experiences. We hope you will gain some insight from these pieces, and you are encouraged to mail us your questions, comments, and even your own anecdotes to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
APRIL 10. Another crazy deadline. Another major cover story to go to bed in less than 24 hours, and once again, my head was blank. The on-again-off-again electricity wasn't helping matters either. In fact, with power-cuts being foremost in my mind, that's what I settled on.
Except, the words wouldn't come. Writer's block…you know you've encountered it. Maybe it was when you had that crazy term paper to hand in. Or that make-or-break college essay that could be the key to a scholarship at the university of your dreams. Maybe it was when you started working on that novel you always wanted to write. Or that love letter, a last-ditch attempt to get her to say yes. Just when you needed your Muse the most, words got in the way. It's the bane of every serious writer, and a crutch that the lazy ones try to hide behind.
Burnt out from a hard week of checking scripts, found myself staring at the screen, willing a story to form, hating myself for being so spent and empty. The skeleton of a plot danced mockingly on the edge of my consciousness, refusing to come into focus. Then the generators in the apartment blocks around me started up with a roar, signaling the start of yet another outage, shattering the line of thought.
Giving it all up as a bad job, I went online and found Kazim, often a fellow victim of the plague of writer's block.
“My students keep complaining about not being able to complete their homework because of the power-cuts, I can't catch a decent nap at night without the fan dying on me, and even the restaurants don't have power! What, do we need to form search parties with hurricane lamps?”
His only answer was an LOL. “You sound like you've found your story.”
And he was right. With my problems shaping up like a cheesy film noir flick, all I needed was to find the suitable narrative voice. For that, I knew the best person to turn to. Azfarul Islam, master of flair. And so Sabs and Az founded the RSI, which made its debut with 'A Shocking Caper' on April 16.
As with almost anything else, sometimes it's better to bring a friend. In all the years I've been writing for the RS, and elsewhere, I've been bailed out by people power whenever I've been in a tough spot. Want a punchy opening to a dry piece? Start with a quote. When you can't find enough substance for your story, ask someone for an opinion. You want to add weight to a report, take an interview. Think your idea's too lame? Bounce it off a friend. As the saying goes, no man's an island, and this is true of writing as well. So when you think you've gone all rusty, and the words won't come, pick the brains of the people around. You'll find something to tide you over. Every single time.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
Up in the blue sky
By Wainab Wazir
Oh! Little Cuckoo Bird
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2009 The Daily Star