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Clocks ‘fall back’ on Sunday, offering 1 more hour of sleep

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Twice a year, most Canadians change the time of their clocks by an hour.

We “fall back,” as we’ll do this Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 a.m. And a few months later, on March 10, 2019, we’ll “spring forward.”

We know that the time shift helps us make the most of light in the morning and evening, and how it can temporarily upset our sleep schedules.

But why do we do it?

The idea was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in the 1770s, but wasn’t implemented until around 1915. Germany was the first country to use it, then Britain. It was adopted more widely during the First World War, which is when Canada started using daylight time.

Reducing energy consumption and making the best use of daylight hours were the main reasons daylight time was used.

There have been changes to the dates when clocks would change over the years, most recently in 2007, when legislation in the United States moved the start of daylight time three weeks earlier in the spring and the return to standard time a week later in the fall.

The change was aimed at trying to help save energy. Canada followed the move in the U.S. so the time zones would remain aligned. That means clocks now:

  • Fall back the first Sunday in November.
  • Spring forward the second Sunday in March.

Only in some parts of Canada

Most of Saskatchewan has not observed daylight time since 1966, staying on central standard time all year round. Some border towns follow the time schemes of their neighbours in Manitoba or Alberta.

Areas of Quebec east of 63 degrees west longitude do not change to daylight time and remain on Atlantic time year round. Pockets of Ontario and British Columbia do not use daylight time.

Daylight time is observed in most of the United States. Just two states — Arizona and Hawaii — and three territories — American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — do not participate.

People walk along the road in cold fog at night in Athboy, Ireland, October 31, 2018. A study by U.S. researchers found there were more pedestrian deaths during the evening rush hour in November than October as drivers and pedestrians adjusted to the earlier darkness. (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)

There have been debates about whether daylight time remains useful. A March 2013 telephone survey of 1,000 adults by Rasmussen Reports in the U.S., for example, suggested 45 per cent of people thought it had no value, and 19 per cent were unsure.

A similar survey of Europeans in the summer of 2018 found 84 per cent want to stop changing their clocks twice a year. That prompted the European Commission to announce in August that it would recommend that European Union member states abolish daylight savings.

The time change can also affect sleep cycles. “Falling back,” is generally thought to be less physically stressful, because people can get an extra hour of sleep, but studies show that’s not always the case.

Time changes are also not always beneficial to traffic and pedestrians. A study by U.S. researchers found there were more pedestrian deaths during the evening rush hour in November than October as drivers and pedestrians adjusted to the earlier darkness.

Upcoming time changes (ET)

  • 2019: Spring forward Sunday, March 10 at 2 a.m. Fall back Sunday, Nov. 3 at 2 a.m.
  • 2020: Spring forward Sunday, March 8 at 2 a.m. Fall back Sunday Nov. 1 at 2 a.m.
  • 2021: Spring forward Sunday, March 14 at 2 a.m. Fall back Sunday, Nov. 7 at 2 a.m.

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The ‘Maple Majestic’ wants to be Canada’s homegrown Tesla

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Look out Tesla, Canada has a homegrown electric sedan on the way. Well, that’s if AK International Motor Corporation can drum up enough investment to make its EV a reality. Dubbed the “Maple Majestic,” the vehicle is a battery-electric designed to “excel in extreme climate performance without adversely affecting the climate, as befits a vehicle from Canada,” according to its website.

What’s in a name? — The company says the maple leaf is a “symbol of Canada’s warmth and friendliness towards all cultures,” while “majestic” refers to the country’s “status as a Constitutional Monarchy.”

That patriotism carries over into Maple Majestic’s parent company’s lofty goals. AK Motor founder Arkadiusz Kaminski says he wants the company, which he founded in 2012, to become “Canada’s first multi-brand automotive OEM,” and that the “Maple Majestic is intended to be Canada’s flagship brand of automobiles on the world stage.”

Partnerships are key — “We acknowledge that the best chance for the Maple Majestic brand to succeed, lies in continuing to build the relationship with Canada’s parts suppliers and technological innovators, whether they be academic institutions, corporations, or individual inventors,” the company explains. “We are currently seeking partners in automotive engineering, parts manufacturing, automotive assembly, electric propulsion technology, battery technology, autonomous technology, and hybrid power generation technology.”

In other words, don’t expect to be able to buy a Maple Majestic any time soon… and don’t expect to pour over 0-60 mph times, power output, range, or other key stats, because those don’t currently exist. For now, all we have are pictures and a short video clip. But at least those are arresting.

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PE-backed Quorum Software to merge with Canadian energy tech firm

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Houston-based energy technology company Quorum Software will merge with a Canadian tech firm to bolster its presence in oil and gas services.

Quorum announced Feb. 15 it plans to merge with Calgary, Alberta-based Aucerna, a global provider of planning, execution and reserves software for the energy sector. The combined firm will operate under the Quorum Software brand.

Gene Austin, CEO of Quorum Software, will continue in his capacity as chief executive of the combined firm. Austin, former CEO of Austin-based marketing tech firm Bazaarvoice Inc., became CEO of Quorum in December 2018.

Aucerna co-founder and CEO Wayne Sim will be appointed to the Quorum Software board of directors. Both companies are backed by San Francisco- and Chicago-based private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

“Over the last 20 years, Quorum has become the leading innovator of software deployed by North American energy companies,” said Austin. “Today, Quorum is expanding the scope of our technology and expertise to all energy-producing regions of the globe. Customers everywhere will have access to a cloud technology ecosystem that connects decision-ready data from operations to the boardroom.”

In addition to the merger announcement, Quorum Software announced it had entered into an agreement with Finnish IT firm TietoEvry to purchase TietoEvry’s entire oil and gas business. The agreement, which includes hydrocarbon management, personnel and material logistics software and related services, is valued at 155 million euros, or $188 million, according to a statement from TietoEvry.

“Our three organizations complement each other — from the software that our great people design to the energy markets where we operate,” said Sim. “Our new company will be able to deliver value to our stakeholders, while accelerating the growth of our combined business and the energy industry’s software transformation.”

The combined company will serve over 1,800 energy companies in 55 countries, according to the announcement. With its headquarters in Houston, Quorum will continue to have a significant presence in Calgary and in Norway, the headquarters for TietoEvry’s oil and gas software business. Quorum will have other offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

As of Sept. 30, 2020, private equity firm Thoma Bravo had more than $73 billion in assets under management. In late December 2020, Thoma Bravo agreed to acquire Richardson, Texas-based tech firm RealPage in a roughly $10 billion acquisition.

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Piece of Kitchener technology lands on Mars on Perseverance rover

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KITCHENER — A piece of Kitchener technology has landed on Mars, thanks to NASA’s Perseverance rover.

The rover settled on the planet’s surface on Thursday afternoon. It’s been travelling through space since it was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. in July.

“The whole idea of being on a device that we’re sending to another plant with the express mission of looking for traces of past life, it’s pretty mind boggling actually,” said Rafal Pawluczyk, chief technical officer for FiberTech Optica.

The Kitchener-based company made fibre optic cables for the rover’s SuperCam that will examine samples with a camera, laser and spectrometers.

“The cables that we built take the light from that multiplexer and deliver it to each spectrograph,” Pawluczyk said.

The cables connect a device on the rover to the SuperCam, which will be used to examine rock and soil samples, to spectrometers. They’ll relay information from one device to another.

The project started four years ago with a connection to Los Alamos National Lab, where the instruments connected to the cables were developed.

“We could actually demonstrate we can design something that will meet their really hard engineering requirements,” Pawluczyk said.

The Jezero Crater is where the Perseverance rover, with FiberTech Optica’s technology onboard, landed Thursday. Scientists believe it was once flooded with water and is the best bet for finding any evidence of life. FiberTech’s cables will help that in that search.

Ioannis Haranas, an astrophysicist and professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said the rover isn’t looking for “green men.”

“They’re looking for microbial, single-cell life, any type of fossils and stuff like that,” Haranas said. “That’s why they chose a special landing site. This could be very fertile land for that.”

“It’s very ambitious,” said Ralf Gellert, a physics professor at the University of Guelph.

Gellert helped with previous rover missions and said it’s the first time a Mars rover has landed without a piece of Guelph technology on it. While he’s not part of Perseverance’s mission, he said the possibilities are exciting.

“Every new landing site is a new piece of the puzzle that you can put together with the new results that we have from the other landing sites,” he said.

“It’s scientifically very interesting because, even though we don’t have an instrument on that rover, we can compare what the new rover Perseverance finds at this new landing site,” he said.

Now that Perseverance has landed on Mars, FiberTech is looking ahead to its next possible mission into space.

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