Goodbye Winter Time

24.10.2011 | kyivweekly.com.ua

Officials meet to change with the times

Scientists in Ukraine are calling on the president to stop the clock. It might be the last minute with the October 30th time switch looming, but some very top brass are lobbying the Parliament and presidency to not turn back the clock one hour to winter time and so stay in the summer time zone. One may think that the president might have bigger fish to fry at the moment than time zones with the international community lining up against the government for its increasingly authoritarian stance, but this decision has important consequences. This is not a simple academic issue. The energy sector, trade and health care are just some of the sectors affected. A major conference in mid-October brought together such a cross-section of interests from the emergencies ministry to the health ministry to the economics ministry. Scientists insist that, geographically, it does not make sense to switch time zones. The switch plays havoc with international ties too. Whereas, fans may have played or watched football, they now find other - sometimes more nefarious - amusements. Further, medical specialists testified at the round table that the time change places an abnormal stress on the body adapted to the natural climactic and geographic conditions. This stress contributes to a whole host of illnesses like heart disease which is the number one killer in the country. On the other hand, the final decision may be one of money. The energy and economic sectors stress that the switch would mean that all commercial power meters have to be reprogrammed, costing millions of hryvnyas nationwide. Further, even a one hour difference causes headaches and reprogramming in commerce. Calculations suggest sleeping in an hour saves energy in the dark morning hours. One wonders why they never seem to factor all the extra energy required for TV-watching with the extra hour at the end of the day. Bringing these changes into law make yet another small step towards independence by actually doing away with the archaic soviet law of resetting clocks in spring and fall.

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