Monday, October 30, 2006

A Modest Proposal

I must say that I write this modest proposal despite the immense harassment I’ve suffered. Some poor unenlightened persons no doubt believe with all due sincerity and yet great ignorance that I am crazy. There are a few who have expressed support for my plan, and to these people I give thanks. Many great ideas which have now become accepted were once met with great hostility and disbelief, e.g, that the world is round and revolves around the sun or that oh so great ideal we call democracy. The French Revolution was met with much resistance by reactionary powers seeking to maintain the status quo, yet the bourgeois would persevere in their fight for Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality. Therefore, it is not only my right but my responsibility to proclaim this plan and let it be judged by fair-minded people, whose right it is to consider thoughtfully and either accept or reject.

I do not present this plan as a panacea. Although I write this knowing this plan would solve many problems, I also present it as a challenge. If one does not agree with it, come up with a better plan. But as of yet, our government, our President, and our Congress have failed to provide adequate leadership, and so I must do my share as citizen of these United States of America and of the world.

So to begin, I shall simply state the plan. The plan is to add an extra hour to each day. And by that I do not mean we should adjust the length of an hour so that each day still lasts the same amount of time, 1440 minutes or 86400 seconds to be precise, but that each day should be 25 hours long. Neither do I mean that the amount of days in a year should be lessened, but it would remain at 365 days. At the same time, a year would increase from lasting 8760 hours to 9125 hours, a difference of 365 hours. Of course I’m sure you the reader already inferred before I even stated those facts. These numbers will be expanded on later, as no proposal would be complete without numerical analysis to provide absolute numerical evidence for the advantages of the plan. We wisely value numbers which do not lie and we wholeheartedly put our trust in them to guide our nation.

So what would this proposal accomplish? It would certainly eliminate the need for that annoying daylight savings time, which is advantageous. However, that alone is not nearly enough to justify changing the amount of time in a day by even one minute. No, change should not be embarked upon unless is clearly better than convention. However, prudent change is not only possible but desirable.

Our lives we live are incredibly chaotic and busy. People are so busy that many don’t even have enough time for a good night’s rest and are sleep deprived. That fact alone that people are operating vehicles while in a state of perpetual sleep deprivation is a serious public safety hazard that needs to be addressed. Certainly you can agree that you could use an extra hour each day; you’ve probably said to yourself if only I had an extra hour. You could use that extra hour for whatever you want, sleeping, exercising, reading, spending time with your children, et cetera.

One area of many which this plan would have significant benefits is energy consumption. As we all know, we are facing an energy crisis, in particular but not exclusively in the area of petroleum consumption. The average price of gasoline at the pump is starting to go over $3 a gallon. Now, if everyday is an hour longer, that means energy consumption will be partially spread out over that extra hour. In particular, driving will be less frequent. I said I was going to go back to those numbers, and now let me do so. Currently, there are 600 hours in twenty-five 24-hour days. Now, if a day lasts 25 hours, then in 600 hours there is only twenty-four days, a reduction of one day out of twenty-five for the same period of time. (You’re wise, as you are still reading this proposal, and I would ask that you delay the question undoubtedly raised in your mind over where the one day went for a moment.) That reduction of one day eliminates with it one day’s worth of daily activities, e.g. commuting to and from work, etc. That means a reduction in energy consumption. If you perform the calculations, which you are of capable of doing and probably already have done in your mind, you see that there is a reduction in energy usage by 1/25 or 4.0% by simply adding an one hour to each day. Furthermore, during that one extra hour petroleum is still being pumped and refined which is equivalent to increasing by 1/24 or 4.2% the amount of petroleum available for consumption on the market. All this is accomplished without any infrastructure improvements.

I would like to remind the reader that Congress in its infinite wisdom last autumn of 2005 anno Domini passed an enormous energy plan which included adjusting daylight savings time to save energy. Now, if changing the clocks twice a year by an hour can help reduce energy consumption, surely it would follow that changing everyday to 25 hours would save so much more energy.

I shall not delay any longer in responding to the question of what happened to that one day out of every twenty-five 25-hour days. I’m sure you the patient reader would agree looking back that the deferment was warranted. The day doesn’t is not eliminated, but rather pushed back. As was stated earlier, each year shall remain at 365 days. So, the implications of this is that for a certain period of time, there is 1/25 less years, So 25 years when dealing with 24-hour days is the equivalent to 24 years on the 25 hour clock. Let’s say someone lives to be 75 years old under the 24 hour clock. Under the 25 hour clock they live 72 years. This person now lives 3 years less.

Now, you will ask why would you want to live a shorter life. First, it is about the quality of life, not the quantity of life. You will live less years but each day will be more enjoyable when you have an extra hour to do whatever you will. But more importantly, this has tremendous implications for social security and other entitlement programs of the government. One is now working longer while living shorter. This means they pay into social security longer and take out less. Since Congress will neither raise the retirement age, lower benefits, nor raise taxes, as it cannot stop pandering to the elderly, this seems to be the only solution to making social security solvent. May I remind the reader if you have a better solution please present it.

You probably have already seen a potential problem, won’t this require either changing clocks back one hour everyday or replacing all clocks. The answer is yes, but this is not a bad thing. Certainly it would be an inconvenience to change clocks everyday and I have no intention on that being the case. No, every clock will have to be replaced. Now you will say this will cost money. Yes it will, and that is the advantage. The economy works by money circulating, the more circulation the better the economy; its not that there is more money when the economy does well. The money spent to replace clocks will stimulate the economy tremendously and generate jobs. This includes appliances with clocks built in, such as VCRs, microwaves, etc. It will provide jobs in all areas of the economy, manufacturing, engineering, retail, etc. So don’t selfishly hoard your money, buy a 25 hour clock and you will do your part as an American in helping the economy and you will see the benefits of a much more robust economy. Likewise, more lighting will be needed and so that to will generate jobs and stimulate the economy.

I must interject here that this proposal was formulated first and that any benefits to any companies in any area of the economy are only natural implications. I am not pandering to the clock and lighting industries and I am not corrupt in accepting donations to the campaign for the 25-hour day. As it is in their interest, not that is not in the interests of others, for the 25-hour plan to be implemented, it is only natural that they should donate money to the campaign for the 25-hour plan and for any politicians in favor of the implementation of the plan. Of course you understand that people only give to that which they support, so it is not pandering to the clock and lighting industries by accepting donations from them for a campaign for the 25-hour day from which they will benefit. Environmental groups donate to those they see as environmentally friendly, which I consider myself to be. I should add less frequent consumption of energy and other goods is good for the environment, and so I would gladly accept donations from anyone, any company, or any organization which is pro-environment.

Now you may be thinking, this plan actually sounds pretty good, but won’t the daytime and nighttime get out of sync. Well, yes it will, but that is actually a benefit. First of all, we have heard a lot about promoting diversity. With this plan you’ll get to experience the diversity of day and night over a rotation of 24 days. The majority of people work something along the lines of an 8 to 5 job. Well, why do you always need to be inside during broad daylight when it would be just as feasible to work indoors at night. So now you will be able to experience much more daylight. You’ll be able to watch a beautiful sunrise without having to wake up early. You can have a nightlife without having to stay up late.

Furthermore, this out of syncing will help reduce crime. There are two deterrents to crime, daylight and people being active. Unfortunately, under the 24-hour clock those deterrents always line up and so people can easily commit crimes at night when it is both dark and people are generally indoors and usually asleep. But under the 25-hour clock there would be times when those deterrents complement each other, it would either be daylight or people out, leaving no opportune time for people to commit crimes and thus would follow a reduction in crime. Sadly this would not always be the case as it would vary over a 24 day period and sometimes the two deterrents would not complement each other but overlap. Nevertheless, it is an improvement over the 24 hour clock. However, the better lighting that would result from the implementation of the plan would take away some of the cover of darkness afforded criminals when that overlapping occurs, still resulting in a decrease in crime.


Anonymous Alex Gustafson said...

I still think you're crazy.

-Alex G.

Mon Oct 30, 11:34:00 PM EST  

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