Readers write: summer time, birds and stadiums

So the Miami Herald’s editorial board (“End ‘Spring Forward, Roll Back’ For Good,” Nov. 9) wants to stick to daylight saving time all year round. If I lived in Miami, I might agree. But here in Minnesota, the winter days are much shorter. I watched: December 21, the shortest day of the year is 10 hours and 31 minutes in Miami, but only eight hours and 46 minutes in Minneapolis. On December 21 in Minneapolis, the sun will rise at 7:48 a.m. – but if we didn’t “step back” an hour after DST ends, sunrise would instead be at 8:48 a.m. Daylight saving time year-round, sunrise in Minneapolis would be after 8 a.m. from November 7 to February 23. In the dead of winter in Minnesota, getting up in the dark for two and a half months a year would be a real price to pay.

Timothy Taylor, Bloomington

•••

This is a further response to the article “Make Standard Time, Not Daylight Saving Time, Permanent” (Opinion Exchange, November 16).

The argument seems to be twofold: that standard time is “natural” and that daylight saving time results in greater energy consumption.

The answer to the first argument, apart from whether nature is really constant and unchanging, is that humanity has always circumvented the laws of nature to improve the quality of life. Nature did not predict that people would be cooled in the summer or warmed in the winter or that they would fly in the air. We went beyond nature with air conditioning, ovens and planes.

As for the second argument (power consumption), there are questions about the underlying study. Logically, the increase in usage resulting from an hour earlier in the morning would be offset by a decrease in usage resulting from retirement an hour earlier at night. Moreover, is the difference large enough to justify a decision contested by a large part of the population?

Daylight saving time versus standard time should not be viewed as a scientific issue but as a quality of life issue. People would rather have an hour of daylight in the evening when they are awake and active than in the morning when they are sleeping. The clock should reflect this preference with daylight saving time all year round. The side effects are of no consequence in relation to the increase in the quality of life.

William Soules, Minnetonka

•••

The push against DST appears to be particularly strong this year. Or maybe the press is just getting used to stoking any available discontent.

I have to say, I find daylight saving time a bit boring, but nothing that comes close to the writing level of my representative in Congress. Yeah, it’s a bit of a pain to change the clocks (those geriatric models that still don’t update) and adjust your sleep cycle to go to bed and get up a bit later (or vice versa). On a scale of 1 to 10, my dissatisfaction is around 2.

So why even write on this subject? To me, this is the perfect problem that calls for a radical center solution – one that is sure to anger people on both sides of an argument.

From what I’ve read, pretty much everyone wants to get rid of this time lag. The controversy seems to be whether the permanent crew gives us extra daylight in the morning (standard time) or in the evening (DST). Personally, I like that the sun comes up a little earlier, but I can also understand why golfers may like the extra light in the afternoon. Both parties seem to be able to argue that people’s health and safety improves with sunlight sooner or later – melatonin, traffic accidents, etc.

So here is my modest centrist proposal: Let’s reset all our 30-minute clocks next spring and leave them there forever. Neither the early risers nor the night owls will have everything they want, but everyone has a bit.

I really don’t understand why I haven’t read this solution before. It’s great, if I say so myself.

Doug Johnson, Burnsville

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As for the seasonal daylight saving time changes, I really don’t see what this is about. I think most of us regularly lose an hour or two of sleep, whether it’s from insomnia or getting lost in a book or a myriad of other ways.

I lose an hour or two of sleep every time the Vikings play a late game. On Sundays, I usually lose a few hours because I’m in weekend mode, I stay awake later than my normal bedtime at 8 p.m., and I sleep later than my usual 4 a.m. spend no more than five or six hours. Sunday evenings. And yet life goes on.

It’s funny how people don’t think twice about an hour or two (or more) of a time change when it comes to going on vacation. However, change a time for daylight saving time, and the fretting and spinning begin. I do not understand.

If we end up changing it somehow, my vote is for more daylight in winter.

John Morgan, Burnsville

•••

Before we get too caught up in the current excitement to suppress our semi-annual clock changes, we should take a pretty basic action: look at a sunrise-sunset chart to see what the effects of the proposed changes would be.

Staying on daylight saving time all year round would push our last sunrises in Minneapolis to around 9 a.m. In fact, the sun would rise after 8:30 a.m. for about two months, from early December to early February. This means that children walk to school or to the bus stop when it is both dark and during rush hour. We tried this in 1974; it was so unpopular that the change was reversed.

Staying on standard time all year round would push our first sunrises to around 4:25 a.m. In fact, the sun would rise before 4:30 a.m. for almost six weeks, from late May to early July, and before 5:00 a.m. from late May to early August. All that daylight wasted before most people were awake would be taken away from our summer evenings.

Jumping forward and falling back may not seem ideal at the moment, but a longer view shows that it is better than either of the alternatives.

KS McClure, Saint-Paul

BIRDS AND STAGES

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) manages the downtown football stadium. The current management has decided to spray something called “BirdBuffer” in the air on several blocks around the stadium – air that certainly does not belong to them (“The Audubon group repels bird repellant at the stadium” , November 19). They don’t even know what’s in the stuff because the manufacturer says 80% of it is a “trade secret”.

The owners have planted this stadium in the middle of the largest migratory bird trail in the area. Birds are dying by the thousands, crashing into all that reflective glass. They knew it would happen before they built it. They refuse to fix it because the Wilf family, who own the Vikings, want to keep the novelty shining, no matter what the slaughter is going on.

If MSFA can spray unknown chemicals into the air we breathe, why can’t they spray a non-reflective coating on their stadium? Drones can provide targeted, non-invasive and precise application. If they don’t do it themselves, others can do it for them.

Dave Porter, Minneapolis

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Ho-hum, here we go again. For many years, the Audubon Society denounced the stadium being detrimental to birds migrating near the river.

Let’s ask them some logical questions: Are they concerned about the 41-story Eleven Building right by the river, or the new 37-story Four Seasons on Hennepin and Washington avenues just a few blocks from the river, both glass?

Are members of Audubon society anti-football? Not a peek at these buildings from what I’ve heard … forgive the pun.

Barbara Nylen, Minneapolis

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