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Last week we posted a nice theory about daylight savings time, in particular, that its dates were chosen to reduce variance in the time of sunrise. It looked plausible from the graph.
We were talking to our Microsoft Research colleague Jake Hofman who suggested “why don’t you just find the optimal dates to change the clock by one hour?” So we did. We got the times of sunrise for New York City from here, threw them into R, and optimized.
The result was surprising. The dates of daylight savings time do not come close to minimizing variance in sunrise.