November 4, 2017 in 2,211 words

Daylight saving time ends Sunday: 6 things to know about “falling back”

Abolishing daylight saving could benefit us in a surprising number of ways

On Sunday, at 2 am, clocks will turn back one hour, heralding the end of daylight saving time for much of the country. The change will shift daylight back into the morning hours. For 9-to-5 office workers, it means saying goodbye to leaving work while it’s still light out. And for weekend workers, it will mean an additional glorious hour of sleep this Sunday.

There’s a lot of confusion about daylight saving time.

The first thing to know: Yes, it ends in the fall, just as the decrease in daylight hours starts to become noticeable.

Let’s sort it all out.

1) Why do we need to “save” daylight hours in the summer?

Daylight saving time in the US started as an energy conservation trick during World War I, and became a national standard in the 1960s. The idea is to shift the number of daylight hours we get into the evening. So if the sun sets at 8 pm instead of 7 pm, we’d presumably spend less time with the lights on in our homes at night, saving on electricity.

It also means that you’re less likely to sleep through daylight hours in the morning (since those are shifted an hour later too). Hence “saving” daylight hours for the most productive time of the day.

Overall: We agree, the name is kind of confusing.

Americans! Were you the target of Russian propaganda? Check here

Nearly a year after the last US presidential election, Americans can now finally take a look at the Russian-linked accounts that may have targeted them on Facebook and Twitter.

While US intelligence agencies said in January that the Russian government used ads on social media to try to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump, online evidence of this activity has long been erased. But today, Congress released a trove of the advertisements.

Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat, released them before a House Intelligence hearing with Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Senators on the intelligence committee also made some ads available after a similar hearing.

The ads targeted a widely disparate group of people, and often didn’t even mention the US election. Instead, they seemed created to stoke rage and division in the country. What Facebook and Twitter have found is probably only a tiny part of the Russian disinformation campaign, senator Mark Warner believes. Here’s who we know were targeted so far


the first article about Donald Trump that Boris ever published described how, during a campaign rally in North Carolina, the candidate slapped a man in the audience for disagreeing with him. This never happened, of course. Boris had found the article somewhere online, and he needed to feed his web­site, Daily Interesting Things, so he appropriated the text, down to its last mis­begotten comma. He posted the link on Facebook, seeding it within various groups devoted to American politics; to his astonish­ment, it was shared around 800 times. That month—February 2016—Boris made more than $150 off the Google ads on his website. Considering this to be the best possible use of his time, he stopped going to high school.

Boris isn’t his real name. He prefers the anonymity because he doesn’t want to break ranks with the other people in his town of Veles, in the Balkan nation of Macedonia. Nobody here wants to dwell on Trump anymore. Veles has the feel of a small community clamming up out of a suspicion that it’s being talked about for all the wrong reasons.

In the final weeks of the US presidential election, Veles attained a weird infamy in the most powerful nation on earth; stories in The Guardian and on BuzzFeed revealed that the Macedonian town of 55,000 was the registered home of at least 100 pro-Trump websites, many of them filled with sensationalist, utterly fake news. (The imminent criminal indictment of Hillary Clinton was a popular theme; another was the pope’s approval of Trump.) The sites’ ample traffic was rewarded handsomely by automated advertising engines, like Google’s AdSense. An article in The New Yorker described how President Barack Obama himself spent a day in the final week of the campaign talking “almost obsessively” about Veles and its “digital gold rush.”

Within Veles itself, the young entrepreneurs behind these websites became subjects of tantalizing intrigue. Between August and November, Boris earned nearly $16,000 off his two pro-Trump websites. The average monthly salary in Macedonia is $371.

Take This Quiz To Find Out How Easily You Fall For Internet BS

Can you tell what’s real anymore?

Members of antifa marched with a sign protesting “pedo bashing” at a rally against far-right commentator Mike Cernovich.

Why Your Brain Can’t Empathize With Large Tragedies

You’re a good person, right? Don’t answer that if you don’t want to; I’m not here to humiliate you, we can just take it as a given. We’re all cool here. But you pay your taxes, only rarely worship false idols, and have never driven over someone for taking too long in a crosswalk. Basically, you care about others. Maybe you don’t act on your cares — doing good things is hard, and makes you sweaty — but you care enough to want other people to do good things in your place.

But because you’re a delightful bundle of contradictions, you decide what to care about for often the most illogical of reasons. To illustrate this, let me ask you a question. What’s worse: A person — let’s say someone you don’t know, someone far away — dying in a car accident? Or is it a hundred people, also ones you don’t know, dying in another car accident?

The second car would have been bigger, I guess.

This isn’t a trick question. The answer is that it’s the second one. Whether you get out a slide rule or just use common fucking sense, a hundred people dying is worse. And yet there’s a very good chance that when you learn about these tragedies on television or from one of the ravens which brings you news, you will care far more about the smaller tragedy, the one where only one person died.

Thanks to a phenomena called psychic numbing, as the scale of a tragedy becomes larger, we care about it less. Part of this is simply distance. If you hear about a genocide, it’s likely far away from you, impacting people you don’t personally know. And because it’s harder to think of those people as actual people, you care less about them as a result. But that doesn’t explain all of it. You might recall scraps of news where you cared quite a bit about someone you didn’t personally know. And not just a celebrity who gives you pants-feelings. You found yourself abruptly caring about a normal, some regular person struck by tragedy.

The story of 26 sudden deaths in 1948 is a bleak reminder of why America needs clean air laws


Donora, Pennsylvania—with its zinc manufacturing plant in the background.

On Halloween weekend in 1948, two dozen people in a small American town suddenly died. The killer came in on the air—or rather, it was the air.

The week prior began like any other; the 14,000 residents of Donora, Pennsylvania woke up to hazy skies, but they were used to that. It was two decades before the passage of the Clean Air Act, which would become one of the most influential environmental laws in the country, and for years, the town had been riding high on the economic boom of the steel plant and zinc works in their town (zinc is used to galvanize steel). US Steel operated the zinc plant 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The once-grassy hillside nearest the plant was completely denuded.

“While the zinc works was in operation there was no vegetation at all on these hillsides. The air would kill all the vegetation,” said Charles Stacey, a Donora native who was a senior in high school that year, gesturing towards the landscape where the zinc works used to be. It was a dreary day in early October 2017, and a light drizzle on the desolate scene added to feeling that we were staring at a site of tragedy. The white shells of zinc works buildings are all that stand there now.

Back in the 1940s, the area by the zinc works was sometimes suffused with a cloud of bright yellow. The days in Donora typically began in a hazy fog; by afternoon winds would sweep through Donora’s little valley and clear the air.

No one thought anything of it. The impacts of industrial pollution on human health were not yet widely known among the general public. Plus, says Stacey, “You didn’t step on US Steel’s toes, because your dad had to go to work there.”

If scheduling causes you conflict, maybe you’re on “event time”

We obey thee?

Sociologists can rightly be accused of routinely dividing the world into two groups, says Robert Levine, a professor of social psychology at California State University, Fresno. With regards to how humans relate to time, he explains, they’ve done it again: There are people who live by “clock time,” he says, and those who live by “event time.”

Clock time people, as the name implies, run their lives according to an arranged schedule, assigning tasks to interchangeable time blocks of various sizes. They never move on to new activities just because it “feels right,” says Levine, an expert in chronemics, or the study of time. Instead they set time-dependent goals, arrange formal meetings, make detailed dates for dinners and phone calls, and are generally punctual.

By contrast, event time people allow events to dictate the rhythm of their days. When invited to dinner, they feel no pressing need to discuss what time that dinner might be held. Their version of setting up a phone chat might be, “I’ll call as soon as I’ve finished my lunch.” And they’ll eat, by the way, when they’re hungry, not when the clock strikes a particular hour.

With event timers, projects are complete when they feel done. Meetings last as long as they need to and the topic is changed when everyone “decides through some kind of usually unspoken mutual agreement” that the topic has run its course, says Levine.

Australia’s national broadband network under relentless attack—by cockatoos

Birds love steel braided cables for beak maintenance.

Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), the effort to bring high-speed Internet to the masses down under, has encountered many speed bumps. The plan to bring fiber-optic broadband Internet to every Australian has been pared back in its ambitions, with a shift to a fiber backbone between “nodes” and distribution over copper wire or cable networks to the majority of users. That cost-saving move, which puts ISPs and cable providers in charge of managing customers’ access, has caused some consternation. But now the operators of the NBN have discovered another problem that affects the cost of delivering the backbone. And it’s for the birds.

The BBC reports that NBN technicians have discovered cockatoos have been damaging the ends of spare fiber cables left in place on communications towers for future network expansion by chomping on them, wearing through the steel braiding that protects the fiber. Active cables haven’t been affected, so there has been no loss of service (as of yet) due to cockatoo attacks; the ends of cables carrying active traffic are protected by a plastic cages. But cables left with their ends exposed have become a favorite of the birds, who use them to help wear down their ever-growing beaks. And the cables cost AUS$10,000 (about US$7,700) to replace.

NBN’s Chedryian Bresland told the BBC, “That’s Australia for you. If the spiders and snakes don’t get you, the cockies will.”

Video Goodnesses
and not-so-goodnesses

As the net tightens, Donald Trump’s behavior is getting more erratic.

American History was totally our favorite subject in school. Americans invented so many things! the lightbulb! Beyonce!! Sea Monkeys! And all of those Nazi laws. But we’re also really good at punching Nazis. Go U.S.A.

CAUTION: Some language may not be appropriate for work or children.

Here’s a mega compilation of some Ozzy Man videos for ya! I thought it would be fun to put a bunch of ’em back to back.

Max in the morning doing his normal torment and attention acts. Always looking for something to get into.


Old and in the way at age 50

Boulder geezers — and we’re talking about anyone over age 50 here — you’re through!

Done! Fini! Kaput! Finito!

Old and in the way! And not just of the traffic, but of the whole arc of Boulder history.

Time to turn off, tune out, move on and let Generations X, Y and Z get on with the work of creating — wait for it — Boulder Tomorrow!

That, at any rate, is how Boulder Tomorrow, the Chamber of Commerce front group, is telling it these days.

The organization posted a tweet originating from someone at their fellow chamber front group Engage Boulder that read as follows: “The future of #Boulder is not to be created by 50-year-olds.”

Old and in the way at age 50, huh?

Ed. More tomorrow? Probably. Possibly. Maybe. Not?