Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Annoyance

Anyone who knows me (and why are you reading this if you don't?) knows I hate extremely unlikely examples used to discount an argument. I believe I've found a good example from David Prerau's Seize The Daylight. Below is an argument against the adoption of Daylight Saving Time by Britain during World War I.

Lord Balfour of Burleigh proclaimed the Daylight Saving Bill the most absurd measure ever presented to the House of Lords [Editor's Note: That's saying something!]. He highlighted some of it's unique disadvantages. For example, he asked their lordships to consider the night in October when the clock was to be set back an hour…"Supposing some unfortunate lady was confined with twins, and one child was born ten minutes before one o'clock, if the clock was put back the registration of the time of the birth of the two children would be reversed." The elder child would be properly registered as being born at 12:50, but the younger child, born ten minutes later, would be registered as being born at 12:00. Lord Balfour argued, "Such an alteration might conceivably affect the property and titles of the house."…

This could happen. You just need a woman pregnant with twins giving birth on the one day of the year this might happen, at a tiny window of time on that day in Britain and the children are noble. Easy peasy.

On the plus side this will open up a world of ideas for minute mysteries, brain teasers, Harry Stephen Keeler novels and the Golden Age of British Mystery.

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