Wednesday, November 7, 2012

as clear as day

as clear as 1-2-3  . . . 
1.

Daylight savings time explained, the title promises.  And in even less time than it takes to read that . . . 

Daylight saving time explained
. . . there it is, showing how Daylight Savings tries to keep sunrise happening as near to the same time as possible all year long. This is from one of my favorite sites: visual.ly.  I like having it pop up in my Facebook feed: interesting and often useful facts presented with clarity and without rancor.  Makes for a pleasant contrast. 

Instead of bombastic comment threads constantly tangled by trolls, the posts on visual.ly usually elicit a shiny snail trail of commenters who look like could be part of my private tribe: they ride bikes, they hold babies, they adore and worry about the kinds of things I adore and worry about:

 
This is outstanding. All my frustrations about daylight savings/standard time in one, handy graphic.
I love that you have frustrations about daylight savings time
I love that someone else in the world is bugged by this messing about with time.

Myself, I hated it, the way the sun kept rising to its zenith after noon had come and gone, during those long, hot summers when I worked as a groundskeeper (driving my tractor, refueling my tractor, cleaning again the air filter of my tractor from all the dandelion gone to seed and thistle down, pushing lawnmower, painting benches and walls, beheading thistles) for the Walworth County lands (old folks home on one side of the county highway, halfway house on the other).

I hate even now the unnatural jump ahead when an hour is stolen in the spring and never feel recompensed to fall back with an extra hour in the fall.  I'd like to live by solar time - where winter hours are shorter and summer hours are longer - not standard time that measures out a clicking tick-tock inflexibly and by legislative fiat.

Factory time.  Casino time.  Time made into a tool with designs against humanity.


2.

On the other hand, I do love the idea of design in the service of humanity.  Which I find encapsulated in infographics.  And in symbols.  I like the whole project of presenting information as a sudden totality of realization. Which is why I believe in vision.  This kind of sudden recognition of how things fit is not quite the "total book"  Borges'  librarians search their whole lives for: "on some shelf in some hexagon, it was argued, there must exist a book that is the cipher and perfect compendium of all other books." More like the pattern the Libarian imagines:
"I will be bold enough to suggest this solution to the ancient problem:  The Library is unlimited but periodic.  If an eternal traveler should journey in any direction, he would find after untold centuries that the same volumes are repeated in the same disorder -- which, repeated, becomes order:  the Order.  My solitude is cheered by that elegant hope."
A picture, a poem, a pattern that can tell the truth more concisely than exponential notation.

3.

I also love it that my favorite childhood heroine drew one of the first and best and most-effective-for-real-change-in-the-world truth-telling graphics, getting a difficult and complicated truth finally across with an elegant image.  Here's Florence Nightingale's visual poem, "Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army in the East":

infographics news: worth a thousand words
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I want to write something as clear and as useful.


4?

But reading again Donne's Meditation 17 and Borges' "Library of Babel" -- I see how deep my roots are in the verbose and the duplicitous.  Where one word would do, I want to put two. Or four.



           
And so often, I do.


6816 words down |  43184 words to go

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yay!

Do you know what I really want to do? All winter get up at sunrise (or a bit before) and when it goes down, candles or sleep! Do you think Dad would cooperate? If we lived with the sun, we wouldn't need daylight saving. I keep being tempted to get rid of watches, clocks, and see what it would be like. I find it strange that we frail mortals strap to our wrists the proof of our impending demise.

Or am I just beset with my own impending mortality?

Emma J said...

Me, too! Either it's genetic . . . or catching.

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