PSA: DST Is Coming, Or Only Flava Flav Really Knows What Time It Is

Most of the time, Germany is six hours ahead of the East coast of the United States.  For the next three weeks, however,  that’s not going to be the case.   This weekend, on March 10th at 2 am, daylight savings time begins in the United States.  On March 31st at 2am local time, Central European Summer Time (CEST) begins in Germany.  There is a span of three weeks between those two dates.

What this means in simple terms is that meetings with my US colleagues are going to be constantly mis-scheduled because every time we have a week or three between our respective time-shifts, Exchange calendar seems to go to hell.

I research everything I write about on this blog, because I always learn cool and interesting stuff.  I didn’t know that Germany was the first country to implement Daylight Savings Time, in 1916.  They did so to conserve coal during World War I.  It made sense at the time.

Even though it’s been a part of my reality for my entire life, I still think it’s kind of ridiculous in modern times.  Studies on whether it saves money or energy expenditure have gone all over the map- some have shown a huge savings, some have shown increased energy consumption, and some have shown very little change at all.    Other studies have shown that it causes disruptions to sleep habits, and one 2008 study showed that changing to DST correlates to an increase in heart attacks.

Do you think we still need Daylight Savings Time?

7 thoughts on “PSA: DST Is Coming, Or Only Flava Flav Really Knows What Time It Is

  1. Robert

    Yes, because a day can’t have too much sunshine.
    In the summer it dawns at 5 am – there’s nothing to gain from that being 4 am, but there’s a huge difference between the nightfall at 9 or at 10 pm!
    If we want to skip time-changes, we should stick to summer time.


  2. every time we have a week or three between our respective time-shifts, Exchange calendar seems to go to hell.

    Is it really Exchange calendar’s fault? Or is someone not applying timezone updates to the OS on the underlying machine? Or are you experiencing



    Our company uses Lotus Notes (yechhh) and we don’t seem to run into any special international calendaring problems regarding the switch to DST — except that the Notes GUI insists on naming timezones according to their UTC offsets. What’s the problem? The offsets change according what time of year it is, and whether the country participates (Russia seems to change its mind now and then about whether DST is a good idea or not), but the labels in the Notes GUI are constant. This leads to meeting invitations going out indicating that there will be a meeting taking place in Romania on, for example “June 1st at 10:00 (UTC +2).”

    Well, wait a minute. On June 1st, Romania is already going to be UTC +3 (and Germany will be UTC +2). So is the meeting really 10:00 in Romania, in which case the label is wrong, or is it going to be 11:00 Romanian time (because the meeting is happening at 08:00 UTC +0 and on June 1st, UTC +2 is 10:00 in Germany and UTC +3 is 11:00 in Romania)? If you don’t know that POS Notes is labeling the timezones according to the standard time offsets, confusion can abound — especially when scheduling conference calls between Mexico, the U.S., Western Europe, and Eastern Europe.

    So no matter what time and timezone Notes says the appointment is happening in, we always have to indicate in the text of the invitation 9 a.m. German time — and let everyone else do their own timezone math. This only works because of my company’s Ptolemaic view of Germany as the center of the universe.

    TL;DR: there is a simple, usable, international system, but nobody insists we use it consistently. See also:


  3. Pingback: The Week in Germany: | Young Germany

  4. Kristine Pray

    DST wreaks havoc on my schedule here at work. Im working 11-7 until Germany catches up with us at the end of the month then Im back to 10-6. Oh yay. 😛


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