A simple question sent me down a rabbit hole this morning: what is the time difference between Houston and London?
At the moment the difference is six hours. But how will that change when Daylight Saving Time ends this year. Wait a minute, will Daylight Saving Time end this year?
I wasn’t even sure whether we were on DST until I asked my wife a few days ago. “Spring forward, Fall back. It’s been Fall for a month now. Did we fall back?”
The US Senate passed the “Sunshine Protection Act” last year that would have eliminated changing times (Yay!) by permanently staying on DST (Boo!). Whatever happened to that? Are we about to fall back or not?
Turns out the House of Representatives never passed the bill, so things will stay as they have been. Apparently the Senate didn’t seriously consider the Sunshine Protection Act. According to Wikipedia,
In 2022, the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent, although several senators stated later that they would have objected if they had known that the bill could pass.
OK, so when does the time change in the US? It’s always a Sunday, but which one? Again according to Wikipedia,
Since 2007, in areas of Canada and the United States in which it is used, daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November.
Alright, now what about London? Europe has “Summer Time,” which is the same idea as Daylight Saving Time. Summer Time ends on the last Sunday in October.
At the moment, London is 6 hours ahead of Houston. This Sunday, October 29, London falls back an hour and the difference with Houston will be 5 hours. Then the following week it goes back to 6 hours.
In the process of looking into this, I found out that between 1941 and 1945, and again 1947, there was something call British Double Summer Time in which clocks sprung ahead two hours.
Time zones are surprisingly complicated, though mostly for good reasons. I would not recommend abolishing time zones (except for anything done on a computer, in which using UTC internally is the only way to go). But Daylight Saving Time / Summer Time is ridiculous. It made more sense years ago than it does now. Now there is more variety in individual work schedules, and there is more need to coordinate with people outside your time zone.