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November (part 2)

Started: 2008-01-12 19:36:08

Submitted: 2008-01-12 20:10:38

Visibility: World-readable

It turned out that I barely noticed the altered ending of daylight saving time, a week late at the beginning of November. It turns out that all of my devices that keep their own time fall into one of three categories:

  1. Devices that are entirely ignorant of the time zone and must be manually configured when the time changes.
  2. Computers and computer-like devices that automatically update their time according to the updated DST rules.
  3. Devices that receive the NIST atomic clock radio broadcast and honor the DST bit encoded in the broadcast, or devices that update themselves according to some other DST-aware time broadcast.

Specifically, I didn't have any devices of the troublesome category that are just smart enough to update themselves for DST but are old enough to use the old rules. (Actually, my GPS receiver might fit in this category, but I configured it for manual DST; I have to remember to change it twice a year but that's not very hard.) I can entirely ignore the devices in the last two categories, and I always had to worry about devices in the first category.

So my question is, now that we've gone through the trouble of changing, even though the research pretty firmly declares the change to be (at best) energy-neutral or (at worst) energy-hostile, would it be worse to leave Daylight Saving Time as altered by Congress or to set it back to the old scheme?

On Friday, 9 November, Kiesa hosted a showing and discussion of Gattaca at Farr Library in Greeley. I decided to attend, so instead of driving all the way from Boulder to Greeley after work, I drove into work with Kiesa and worked remotely from one of the study rooms near the science fiction stacks. This worked almost as well as working from home; I had great wireless Internet access for my corporate VPN, and my primary task for the day was writing a test plan for my exciting Linux driver. The downsides were not having an adjustable keyboard tray and an adjustable chair, though I did bring my wireless ergonomic keyboard. (Showing up with Kiesa before the library officially opened meant I had no problem staking out my own study room, so I actually had an office, unlike when I'm actually at work.)

The movie and discussion was interesting. The library invited a pair of movie critics from Denver to come up and talk about the movie. Through the course of the discussion, I didn't get to read the quote I wanted to read from The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank, by David Plotz, which Kiesa located while researching books to tie in to the movie:

The Nobel sperm bank kids, I realized, were messengers from our future. We are on the brink of the age of genetic expectations. Soon -- maybe not in five years, but probably in fifty -- fertility doctors will be able to identify and manipulate genes for "intelligence" and "beauty". ...

I had seen Gattaca ... The Nobel sperm bank seemed a mini-Gattaca -- the same dream of genetic control.

The day after Gattaca, Kiesa and I drove up to Wild Basin on the south-east corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. The entrance station was closed for the season, but the road was clear and open all the way to the summer parking lot. (I'm used to the road being plowed only half way and a gate requiring one to park there and ski or snowshoe the rest of the way in.) We parked just short of the main trailhead at the Finch Lake trailhead and hiked up the south side of the valley, ultimately reaching Finch Lake several miles in. At lower elevations, the trail was clear; closer to the lake, the trail was snowy and icy in places. On our return, we hiked a mile or two back along the same trail, then looped back by way of Calypso Cascades and the main Wild Basin parking lot, circumscribing what I could call an "inverse lollypop loop".

My major accomplishments for the rest of the month are well documented elsewhere, but I did acquire a compost bin, taking me one more step along the process to feeling morally superior like the rest of Boulder county. I got my first two cavities filled on 12 November; before he started drilling on my teeth, my dentist asked what I did on the weekend; when I mentioned Wild Basin, he mentioned that he enjoys trail running and used to do it at Wild Basin before he decided that, to an untrained tourist, the sight of a guy running down the trail may induce panic.