Escapist Podcast - Science and Tech: 026: Halloween Spooktacular: Scary Science

026: Halloween Spooktacular: Scary Science

In this special episode of The Escapist's Science and Tech podcast, host CJ Miozzi and Escapist writers talk about things in the world of science and technology that scare them, field a viewer questions about Daylight Savings Time, and discuss recent headlines.

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Thanks for the really extensive discussion of my question regarding Daylight Saving Time.

To put it into context: Whilst most modern operating systems can deal with DST changes without issue, it is partly the interconnectivity through the Internet, and update servers and software relying on this, that can still occasionally run into problems here. Just before my tweet to you, I lost several hours of updating a PC, that failed because of time stamp incongruence.

Now to chime into your discussion: I am located in the east of Belgium, so more or less on the same geographical latitude as the southern Provinces of Canada, and I am definitely familiar with the issues of pitch-darkness when leaving for school/work in the morning and coming home in the evening.

As you mentioned, DST was implemented in the early decades of the 20th century, and became heavily utilised due to the energy crisis of the 1970s. It is an arbitrary system the we invented to make the most use of natural sunlight after society moved away from being entirely dependent on it. Whilst the actual energy savings from switching to DST are questionable, as per Marla Desat's example of Indiana, I feel we have since then created enough measures to save energy in our daily lives, that are independent of available daylight. Just in terms of lighting, the availability of LED, energy-saving bulbs, etc. have made more of an impact than switching back our clocks an hour for summer.

Additionally, as a society we have moved away from the rigid work structures that were employed at the beginning of the 20th century, and with the advent of sliding hours in the workplace, dealing with the change of the seasons is becoming more a matter of personal scheduling, rather than a convention we need to adhere to as society. This is especially true since a majority of the world no longer observes DST (DST Map, Source: Wikipedia).

In terms of health effects, I think we also forget that there are also natural ways to deal with the change of seasons, starting with fruit and vegetables rich in Vitamin D (mushrooms as well) becoming available as winter approaches. And lets face it, our planet does not care one bit if our clocks say 7h00 or 6h00 when we get up in the morning, but it is just as much affected by changes in natural lighting and temperature as we are. We have perhaps lost sight of this as certain produce have become available all year round.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect is that as a global and interconnected society, we can no agree on one system to work with. Perhaps it would not be as much of an issue if we all did it at the same time and on the same date around the globe.

Great podcast as always.
One tiny remark, the reason why its warmer in the summertime is not because there are more hours of light to absorb heat from (as explained around 1:09:25). While it is a slight contributing factor, its mostly because the axis of the earth during summer is tilted so that the light strikes close(er) to a 90° angle, this way the suns rays are more powerfull when reaching lower atmosphere and the ground,and less gets reflected back into space. All this causes at lot more of the suns energy to reach us, and give us the good weather.

If exposure time would be the main cause lands on the equator would be a lot colder, getting a constant 12 hours of daylight it would mean temperatures that I get in sept/okt, being also from Belgium the poster above me could confirm that Autumn in Belgium (12 hours of sunlight) can not be called tropical.

I would paste some links supporting my claim, but my phone refuses to paste them.. So search wikipedia for 'season' and 'day_length', they have the relevant explanation.

It's rather disturbing how comfortable you people seem to be in trusting some, to paraphrase, "ultimate benevolent entity" (which doesn't exist IRL and never will) with your already tentatively fragile freedom of speech. Nothing to mention your real freedom.
An ultimate database of your online identity is an awful idea, and you should feel awful for presenting it as viable.
USA already has problems with criminalising a huge portion of the population.
Now imagine if instead of putting people in jail for possession, they instead start charging people (usually really young people who aren't versed enough in the art of navigating through life) for stuff like empty threats in a comment-section on the Internet.
The prison population would EASILY triple! (prison-industry execs gleefully rubbing their hands and counting their money all the while)

Are you still comfortable with the idea?

But i agree, chickens CAN be deadly.
...just ask Link :I

Rangarig:
*snip*
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect is that as a global and interconnected society, we can no agree on one system to work with. Perhaps it would not be as much of an issue if we all did it at the same time and on the same date around the globe.

Oh man, that is a huge part of it.

smokingplane:
*snip*

You are correct; my bad!

Neferius:
*snip*
Are you still comfortable with the idea?

I... actually am, heh. I suppose you're even more disturbed now, hahah... I don't think kids should be sent to jail or prosecuted for empty threats in a comment section on the internet, but should they get warnings? Hell yeah. And repeat offenders should be prosecuted. This is especially important for young people to learn. There are teens killing themselves because of cyberbullying. If physically harming someone can land a kid in juvie, then repeat cyber threats should as well. The key here is "repeat." Boys will be boys, but if they are aware that they are breaking a law repeatedly... No sympathy.

As a teen, I once received a warning for the unlawful cyber-acquisition of a virtual good. I sure cleaned up my act after that. The threat of consequences will go a long way to stopping certain behaviors.

Rhykker:
There are teens killing themselves because of cyberbullying. If physically harming someone can land a kid in juvie, then repeat cyber threats should as well. The key here is "repeat." Boys will be boys, but if they are aware that they are breaking a law repeatedly... No sympathy.

How many people do you think get banned from forums on the Internet every day?
Now, imagine that even a fraction of those people get charged and sent to jail for "Cyber Crimes". Do you think that will help society in the long-run?
The answer is NO, of course-not.
See, the problem is people do stupid stuff, sometimes repeatedly, sometimes on purpose.
But by sending them to jail you're not coercing them to "clean up their act". You're just putting someone who's already defiant of authority in a toxic social environment.
That's why putting kids in jail for spraying grafitty or having a bag of weed on them is a Terrible idea. Because once there, they usually end up getting co-opted by gangs and/or sexually assaulted.

Rhykker:
As a teen, I once received a warning for the unlawful cyber-acquisition of a virtual good. I sure cleaned up my act after that. The threat of consequences will go a long way to stopping certain behaviors.

Then why are you ripping off a famous trademarked movie-character with your Avatar, huh?
What are you, some kind of intellectual-property Pirate? :))

 

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