Two years ago, when Congress passed a law to extend daylight saving time by a month, the move seemed a harmless step that would let the nation burn a little less fossil fuel and enjoy a bit more sunshine.

The change took effect Sunday, daylight saving time began three weeks earlier (and ends a week later, on the first Sunday in November). This puts the United States out of sync with the rest of the world for longer than usual this spring, almost certainly disrupting not only computers but also the business and travel schedules of companies, workers and travelers. Most of Europe goes to daylight saving time March 25, two weeks after America, while most of Asia, Africa and South America do not observe daylight saving time at all.

The daylight-time shift, according to technology executives and analysts, amounts to a “mini-Y2K.” That is a reference to the rush in the late 1990s to change old software, which was unable to recognize dates in the new millennium, 2000 and beyond.

The fear was that computers would go haywire, and there were warnings of planes falling from the skies and electronic commerce grinding to a halt. Billions of dollars were invested to fix the so-called millennium bug, and there was no wave of computer-related disasters.

This time, with extended daylight saving time, the problem is subtler. The potential pitfall is a disruption of business, if the clocks inside all kinds of hardware and software systems do not sync up as they are programmed to do. In a business world that is increasingly computerized and networked, there could be effects on everything from programmed stock trading to just-in-time manufacturing to meeting schedules.

For consumers, the greatest potential impact will be on e-mail and calendar programs like Microsoft Outlook, used to schedule dentist visits, soccer practices, evening entertainment and other appointments.

The latest Windows operating system, Vista, is not affected, and for those running Windows XP Service Pack 2, online software updates have been pushed out automatically to correct the problem. Microsoft and Apple are also making software patches and instructions available on their Web sites.

For the roughly 7,000 public companies in the United States, Mr. Hammond estimates the total cost of making computer fixes to deal with the daylight saving time shift at more than $350 million.

The energy savings from extending daylight time are not great, but could mount, according to studies. A report last year by the Energy Department projected savings in electricity at four-tenths of a percent each day of extended daylight savings time — or three one-hundredths of a percent of annual electricity use. Daylight saving time modestly reduces evening electricity use.

Still, tiny savings each year could add up in the long run. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a nonprofit group, estimates that the cumulative benefit through 2020 of longer daylight saving time would be a saving of $4.4 billion and 10.8 million metric tons less carbon spewed into the air.

The 2005 energy bill gives Congress the option of repealing the daylight saving time extension, if energy savings are not achieved.

For full article: Time Change a ‘Mini-Y2K’ in Tech Terms

A leitmotif (IPA pronunciation: [laɪt məʊ tɪəf]) (also leitmotiv; lit. "leading motif") is a recurring musical theme, associated within a particular piece of music with a particular person, place or idea. The word has also been used by extension to mean any sort of recurring theme, whether in music, literature, or the life of a fictional character or a real person.

Although usually a short melody, it can also be a chord progression or even a simple rhythm. Leitmotifs can help to bind a work together into a coherent whole, and also enable the composer to relate a story without the use of words, or to add an extra level to an already present story.

The word is usually used when talking about dramatic works, especially operas, although leitmotifs are also used in other musical genres, such as instrumental pieces, cinema, and video game music.

The word itself has a mixed etymology, as a further meaning to the German word Motiv was borrowed in the 18th century from the French motif, meaning "motive" or "theme", while the German word Motiv itself can be traced back to the 16th century, meaning only "motive" (cf. Latin motivus). Prefixing it with leit- (coming from the German leiten, "to lead"), produces Leitmotiv (German plural: Leitmotive), meaning "leading motif".

Leitmotifs are very common in movie scores; a well known example is the Star Wars Imperial March associated with Darth Vader and his previous self, Anakin Skywalker, in the Star Wars series of films composed by John Williams. Themes for the characters Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Emperor Palpatine, and Yoda also recur throughout the movies. John Williams also composed music for Jaws and the Indiana Jones films that uses leitmotifs. Lara's Theme in the film Dr. Zhivago is another example of this.


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