Sunday, March 10, 2013

Daylight Slavings Time

Do you hate waking up in the dark even when the days start getting longer, or do you just dread that lost Sunday hour when you're forced to turn your clocks forward every year? Either way, you'll probably appreciate these facts about Daylight Savings Time:

1. The Germans in World War I were the first to use Daylight Savings Time. Pushing daylight hours forward meant more hours that working troops didn't need lights, so the army saved on energy costs. After Germany enacted it, Britain and other European nations quickly followed suit.

2. Car accidents and heart attacks increase the Monday after DST goes into effect. Scientists explain that "the sleep deprivation on the Monday following the shift to daylight saving time in the spring results in a small increase in fatal accidents."

3. Even though DST is supposed to save energy, it no longer seems to do so. A 2008 paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the time switch actually increases electricity usage. "Consistent with Benjamin Franklin's original conjecture, DST is found to save on electricity used for illumination, but there are increases in electricity used for heating and cooling."

4. So if it doesn't actually save energy, why do it? Daylight savings supports capitalism. Longer light in the evening hours encourages people to shop and spend money after work, and was estimated to boost the European leisure economy by as much as 3%.

5.  A better alternative might be permanent DST, increasing daylight hours without causing heart attacks and car crashes...Check out this radical proposal and write your senators if you like it.

Until then, you can blame German soldiers and capitalism for messing with your clocks. And in case you still doubted that imperialist capitalist powers were the main force behind DST, check out this map of who's using it today:

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