This is one of them. Every morning this week, I’ve struggled to get going and leave for work in the dark. The combined culprits are the dreaded Daylight Saving Time, a weekend jam-packed with activity, and the fact that the campus where I work is virtually closed down for Spring Break except for a skeleton crew. I am one of the aforementioned carcasses, and a rather resentful one at that.
Just for fun, I started looking into exactly what Daylight Saving Time is (contrary to popular usage, it is not the plural Daylight Savings Time) and why we have it. I found some interesting bits of trivia that I thought (hoped!) you might enjoy.
History of DST:
- The idea was first mentioned by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, in a satire suggesting that Parisians rise earlier to economize on candles in the evening.
- A Kiwi named George Vernon Hudson proposed Daylight Saving Time in a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society in 1895.
- However, the person credited with the idea is William Willett, an English builder. His pamphlet, The Waste of Daylight, was published in 1914.
Who uses it?
- In 1916, Germany and its allies were the first to adopt the use of Daylight Saving Time.
- It didn’t become widespread in North America until the energy crisis of the 1970s.
- Its usage is most common in the developed Western world. Seventy countries (one billion people) spring forward and fall back.
- Iceland and Kyrgyzstan are the only countries that observe year-round Daylight Saving Time. (They need as much sunlight as they can get.)
- Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states that don’t observe DST at all. (They don’t need any more sunlight.)
- Indiana was the last state to jump on the bandwagon, implementing DST statewide in 2005. Historically, the western corners of Indiana have had a different time zone than the rest of the state. Five of its southeastern counties unofficially observed DST in the past, in solidarity with their western cousins.
- In 2007, DST was increased in the U.S. by four weeks: three weeks in the spring and one week in the fall. The reason it was changed from October to November was to decrease pedestrian deaths of Halloween Trick or Treaters.
So why do we do it?
- A poll conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation indicated that the majority of Americans like it. (They didn’t ask me.)
- Some studies showed that DST saves energy. The studies were done when Americans used incandescent lighting in the evenings, which uses ten times more energy and dollars to operate. Now that most people have switched to CFLs or LEDs, is it necessary?
- A man born just after midnight during DST successfully used that as a loophole to escape the Vietnam draft.
- In 1999, a bomb intended for Israel exploded an hour early, killing three terrorists instead of a busload of people, due to the time snafu.
- Daylight Saving Time can change the birth order of twins. If the first baby is born in the fall at 1:55 am and the younger twin comes 10 minutes later, the younger’s birth time would be recorded as 1:05 am – not 2:05 am – making him appear to be 50 minutes older. Reminds me of Jacob stealing Esau’s birthright.
And just to have a bit of a spiritual tie-in, Ephesians 5 admonishes us to: “be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”