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daniphantomdraws:I just realized I haven’t posted my Inktober...

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daniphantomdraws:

I just realized I haven’t posted my Inktober sketches here yet, so here they are!

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Daylight Saving Time Must Go

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Updated: Nov. 5, 2017

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Nov. 1, 2013. The original headline was, “Daylight Saving Time Is Terrible: Here’s a Simple Plan to Fix It.”

Daylight Saving Time has ended once again, setting off an annual ritual in which Americans (except for those who live in Arizona or Hawaii) and residents of 78 other countries—including Canada (but not Saskatchewan), most of Europe, Australia and New Zealand—turn their clocks back one hour.

It’s a controversial practice that became popular in the 1970s with the intent of conserving energy. The fall time-change feels particularly hard because people lose another hour of evening daylight, right around the time the days are growing shorter anyway. It also creates confusion because countries that observe daylight saving change their clocks on different days.

It would seem to be more efficient to do away with the practice altogether. The actual energy savings are minimal, if they exist at all. Frequent and uncoordinated time changes cause confusion, undermining economic efficiency. There’s evidence that regularly changing sleep cycles, associated with daylight saving, lowers productivity and increases heart attacks. Being out of sync with European time changes was at one point projected to cost the airline industry $147 million a year in travel disruptions.

I propose we not only end Daylight Saving, but also take it one step further.

This year, Americans on Eastern Standard Time should set their clocks back one hour (like normal), Americans on Central and Rocky Mountain time do nothing, and Americans on Pacific time should set their clocks forward one hour. After that we won’t change our clocks again—no more daylight saving. This will result in just two time zones for the continental United States. The east and west coasts will only be one hour apart. Anyone who lives on one coast and does business with the other can imagine the uncountable benefits of living in a two-time-zone nation (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).

It sounds radical, but it really isn’t. The purpose of uniform time measures is coordination. How we measure time has always evolved with the needs of commerce. According to Time and Date, a Norwegian Newsletter dedicated to time zone information, America started using four time zones in 1883.

Before that, each city had its own time standard based on its calculation of apparent solar time (when the sun is directly over-head at noon) using sundials. That led to more than 300 different American time zones. This made operations very difficult for the telegraph and burgeoning railroad industry. Railroads operated with 100 different time zones before America moved to four, which was consistent with Britain’s push for a global time standard. The following year, at the International Meridian Conference, it was decided that the entire world could coordinate time keeping based on the British Prime Meridian (except for France, which claimed the Prime Median ran through Paris until 1911). There are now 24 (or 25, depending on your existential view of the international date line) time zones, each taking about 15 degrees of longitude.

Now the world has evolved further—we are even more integrated and mobile, suggesting we’d benefit from fewer, more stable time zones. Why stick with a system designed for commerce in 1883?

America already functions on fewer than four time zones. I spent the last three years commuting between New York and Austin, living on both Eastern and Central time. I found that in Austin, everyone did things at the same times they do them in New York, despite the difference in time zone. People got to work at 8 am instead of 9 am, restaurants were packed at 6 pm instead of 7 pm, and even the TV schedule was an hour earlier. But for the last three years I lived in a state of constant confusion, I rarely knew the time and was perpetually an hour late or early. And for what purpose? If everyone functions an hour earlier anyway, in part to coordinate with other parts of the country, the different time zones lose meaning and are reduced to an arbitrary inconvenience. Research based on time use surveys found American’s schedules are determined by television more than daylight.  That suggests in effect, Americans already live on two time zones.

It’s true that larger time zones would seem to cheat many people out of daylight by removing them further from their true solar time. But the demands of global commerce already do that. Many people work in companies with remote offices or have clients in different parts of the country. It’s become routine to arrange schedules to coordinate people in multiple domestic time zones.  Traders in California start their day at 5 a.m. to participate in New York markets. True, not all Californians work on East Coast time, but research by economists Daniel Hamermesh, Catlin Meyers, and Mark Peacock showed communities are more productive when there’s more time coordination.  Californians who work on Eastern time require services that can accommodate their schedule and see less of their families on Pacific time.

Frequent travel between the coasts causes jet lag, robbing employees of productive work time. With a one-hour time difference, bi-costal travel would become almost effortless. It might make international business harder, but it’s hard to say for certain. The east coast would be seven hours behind continental Europe, but one hour closer to time zones in Asia. Also, the gains from more frequent inter-state communication might outweigh the cost of extra international coordination.

* * *

In 1983, Alaska, which naturally spans four time zones, moved most of the state toa single time zone (except for an Native American reservation near Ketchikan and a few western Aleutian islands). The longitudinal distance of Alaska is nearly equal to the entire continental United States, yet the state functions, albeit with some tension, on one time zone.  China has been on one time zone since 1949, despite naturally spanning five time zones.

Spain technically should be on Greenwich Mean Time but it is on Central European time. Many Spaniards believe being out of sync with solar time lowers productivity. But that is because the Spanish workday has not fully integrated with the rest of Europe. The major factor throwing them off is the three –hour lunch that many Spaniards and school children observe which starts at 2 p.m. This shows that optimal time zones account for commerce and common cultural boarders, not just longitude. The problems Spain has, being on Central European Time, wouldn’t apply to America because states are better economically integrated and already follow similar work schedules.

Sure, moving the continental states to two time zones would cause two-hour jumps between adjacent time zones and America won’t line up with the time zones of countries directly north and south, unless this catches on as a global trend. But the discontinuity ship already sailed when rich Western countries haphazardly adopted daylight saving and most other countries didn’t. Time is already arbitrary, why not make it work in our favor?

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satadru
40 days ago
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The article is from 2013. But I'd note that having lived on both the western and eastern edges of EST, I really don't care what the solution is so long as clocks don't have to shift twice a year. Four years after this article came out, I wonder if our ties to setting our schedules based upon television have shifted at all. Do people really wait until TV shows come on to watch them in their time zones? Aren't we headed towards everyone on the planet streaming GoT at 9pm EST simultaneously when the show first airs?
New York, NY

Three Women Suing Microsoft for Bias Want To Add 8,630 Peers

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A reader shares a report: A lawsuit accusing Microsoft of discriminating against women in technical and engineering roles is poised to grow a lot bigger if it wins class-action status. With the technology sector awash in challenges to white male dominance, the three women spearheading the case against Microsoft told a Seattle federal judge they want to represent about 8,630 peers who have worked for the company since 2012. The women said their expert consultants have determined that discrimination at the Redmond, Washington-based company cost female employees more than 500 promotions and $100 million to $238 million in pay, according to Oct. 27 court filings. They also accused the software maker of maintaining "an abusive, toxic 'boy's club' atmosphere, where women are ignored, abused, or degraded." Microsoft said it strongly disagrees with the allegations, saying the filings "mischaracterize data and other information."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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rlauzon
45 days ago
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Looks like the SJWs are trying to convert Microsoft.

How to Make a Little Rocket Man Costume for Halloween

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Step 1: Get yourself one of these hats.

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Step 2: Spray-paint the tips with black paint.

Step 3: Buy a pant suit wherever-the-hell Hillary Clinton shops.

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Step 4: Smile like you just smoked a doobie and executed a close relative.

Step 5: Nailed it!

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You might love pre-ordering my new book, Win Bigly, because you now have a costume for Halloween. 

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There's Gold in Switzerland's Sewage

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article-image

Switzerland has so much gold that the country is flushing it down the drain. According to a new analysis by Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, every year 95 pounds of gold, worth nearly $2 million, passes through Swiss wastewater treatment plants.

The gold, the researchers believe, comes from “tiny flecks of gold”—residue from the country’s watchmaking industry and gold refineries. As Bloomberg points out, refineries in this small European country deal with 70 percent of the world’s gold.

In most of the 64 wastewater treatment plants studied—and let’s take a moment to recognize the work of the researchers who had the job of studying “elements discharged in effluents or disposed of in sewage sludge”—the concentrations of gold were small enough that it’s not economically worthwhile to extract it from the rest of the waste. In southern Switzerland, though, where gold refineries are concentrated, enough gold is being wasted that it could be worth recovering from the sewage stream.

The researchers also found that gold isn’t the only precious metal in Switzerland’s wastewater. The sewage plants were also streaming with rare earth elements used in high-tech and medical industries and with silver—6,600 pounds per year, in total, worth $1.7 million. It must be good to be a country so rich that your garbage is gold and silver.

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rlauzon
65 days ago
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Why does this remind of the movie Paint Your Wagon?

Changes in Password Best Practices

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NIST recently published their four-volume SP800-63-3 Digital Identity Guidelines. Among other things, they make three important suggestions when it comes to passwords:

  1. Stop it with the annoying password complexity rules. They make passwords harder to remember. They increase errors because artificially complex passwords are harder to type in. And they don't help that much. It's better to allow people to use pass phrases.

  2. Stop it with password expiration. That was an old idea for an old way we used computers. Today, don't make people change their passwords unless there's indication of compromise.

  3. Let people use password managers. This is how we deal with all the passwords we need.

These password rules were failed attempts to fix the user. Better we fix the security systems.

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CallMeWilliam
66 days ago
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A meeting recently:
Developer Team: Our passwords require special characters, and max out at 30 characters.
Me: Why on EARTH did you do any of that? Why do you have a max?
Devs: Because ... it's hard to remember something long? How long do you want it to be?
Me: ... Get rid of the max. Get rid of the special characters.
CIO: Wait. Why do we have passwords at all? Can we link to google/linkedin/facebook and make it their problem? We are not in the security business.
Devs: Yes!
acdha
66 days ago
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I’ve been happy watching such sensible guidelines make it through the review process
Washington, DC
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