Posts Tagged “daylight saving time”

Roman Clock / Mikael Ganehag Brorsson, via Open Clip Art LibraryTonight at 2 am, most Americans will go through the inane, ridiculous exercise of advancing their clocks one hour. I’ve blogged several times about the twice-annual scam that is Daylight Saving Time. Once again, I’m taking this opportunity to point out that it’s fraudulent, in every possible way.

As I’ve said previously, everything we’ve been told about DST is a lie. It wasn’t invented by Benjamin Franklin (except as a joke); it had nothing to do with farmers, and does nothing for them; and it doesn’t save energy.

Back when I first blogged about the fraudulent nature of DST, mine was pretty much a “lone voice in the wilderness” calling for it to be ended. But over the last couple years I’ve noticed more folks realizing it’s a scam. Today, Gothamist took note of how DST is predicated on lies and foisted on Americans for no good reason.

I’ve had one correspondent call me “whiny” and told me to get over it; we’ve always done DST, so just deal with it. Unfortunately, we haven’t “always done DST,” it wasn’t consistently implemented until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966. (Which itself was a lie, since this Act did not, in fact, make time “uniform” through the country … some parts of the country were left out of it.) But even if we had “always” had DST, that’s not a valid reason to keep doing it. Instead, it’s an appeal to tradition, and is fallacious.

It’s time for everyone just to admit, we need to end the twice-annual fraud which is daylight saving time.

Photo credit: Mikael Ganehag Brorsson, via Open Clip Art Library.

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Clock, Midtown, New York City (Ian Britton)For some reason, two of the more popular pages on this blog are my diatribes against the “daylight saving time” scam. I guess people are beginning to catch onto the fact that they’ve been lied to about it, and that it’s not merely an unnecessary annoyance, it may actually create a health risk to some folks (WebCite cached article). In fact, as tonight’s DST change approached, I heard and saw quite a bit in the mass media about this problem; e.g. as reported here (cached) and here (cached).

In fact, the Los Angeles Times openly questions the wisdom of daylight saving time (cached):

Daylight saving time begins this weekend. From coast to coast, most Americans will dutifully “spring forward” by one hour early Sunday morning. We’re told this helps save energy and allows us to enjoy more sunshine during the summer months.

But a number of critics say this is all a big fat waste of time. Daylight saving time does nothing but create chaos and confusion, they say, and might actually waste more energy than it tries to save. It should be abandoned immediately, they contend.

It looks as though my complaint about daylight saving time being a scam — and yes, folks, it most assuredly is a scam — has finally been taken up by more people, and the problems it creates are getting increased attention. I welcome the company of all these new DST skeptics. It’s time we jettisoned DST … the sooner, the better.

Photo credit: Ian Britton, via FreeFoto.

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Clock face / Ian Britton / Freefoto.Com / Ref Number: 11-22-54Earlier this spring, I blogged about the fraud known as daylight saving time (DST). Given that it will end in the United States a week from today, on November 7, 2010, I thought I would reiterate the point I made then: Everything that people believe about it, and which is commonly used to justify it, is wrong. Flat-out wrong.

To sum up: It was never established to help farmers, and has absolutely nothing to do with agriculture; it does not save energy, and may actually expend more of it; and it was not invented by Benjamin Franklin (belief that it was, is an anachronistic misinterpretation of a satirical piece he wrote about the Parisians of his own time).

What’s more, there is some evidence that it might be harmful to public health (WebCite cached article).

Oh, and it’s not “daylight savings time,” it’s “dayight saving time” (the word “saving” in that phrase is not a noun, but an adjective, so it shouldn’t be used in the plural form).

It’s long past time we dispensed with the myth-based fraud known as daylight saving time. I’m all for beginning a campaign to petition Congress to end it. Not that it will happen, especially if those in Congress continue to invoke the (false!) mantra that DST “saves energy.” That will definitely be a hard sell: We all know that legislators — at any level — prefer an appealing lie to an uncomfortable truth. At any rate, maybe it’s worth a try, nonetheless?

Photo Credit: Ian Britton / FreeFoto.Com.

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ClockTonight, most Americans will change the the time on their clocks, moving them ahead one hour, as of 2 a.m. tomorrow (Sunday March 14, 2010). Daylight saving time is, perhaps, one of the cleverest scams ever foisted on the modern world.

Yes, that’s what I called DST: a scam. A lie. A fraud. In all of the senses of those words.

The myths about DST are legion; I will cover just a few of them here.

First, it’s often said that DST was first imposed in order to “help” farmers. This is not true. Rather, it was first imposed systematically in Europe — and later in the US — during World War I, in order to aid industry by — hopefully — reducing coal consumption, and discourage nighttime air raids. DST was repealed after the war was over. It was reimposed, as a year-round measure, in the US during World War II (and was referred to as “War Time” for that reason), and for reasons similar to why it was imposed in WWI. After World War II, DST was rolled back, then applied haphazardly, and was not standardized until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966. (Even then, it was not truly “standardized,” since some jurisdictions were allowed not to observe it, most famously a lot of counties in Indiana, as well as the entire states of Arizona and Hawai’i.) At no time during any of this was DST requested by farmers, nor does it help them in any way; it has nothing whatever to do with agriculture. Rather, it was first imposed as a wartime-industrial measure.

Second, it’s frequently claimed that DST saves energy. Most recently this was the widely-trumpeted rationale for shifting the dates of DST (beginning in 2007) when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The truth of the matter, however, is that DST does not in any way help save energy; in fact, it may cause more energy to be consumed than without it, as UCSB researchers determined (WebCite cached article) by looking at changes in energy consumption in Indiana after that state moved, in 2005, to observe DST statewide. Thus, the savings of fuel, which had primarily inspired enacting DST during the two world wars, probably had never been achieved! In addition to possibly encouraging added energy consumption, DST also causes expenditure of other resources, especially labor (for instance, when people — in both homes and businesses — must run around either changing all their clocks, computers, and other devices … or checking on them to be sure they correctly changed themselves).

Third, people often attribute the imposition of DST to Benjamin Franklin, who famously wrote on the subject. His piece, however, was not intended to be read literally. He was, instead, poking fun at what he considered to be Parisians’ sluggish and slovenly ways, as can be read in this suggestion:

Every morning, as soon as the sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set ringing; and if that is not sufficient?, let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the sluggards effectually, and make them open their eyes to see their true interest.

DST was, instead, first truly proposed by an entomologist from New Zealand named J.V. Hudson, who got the idea from his observations of insects.

Fourth, DST starting this weekend means that school children who, last week, were able to go to school in the morning with at least some sunlight, will now be heading to school in the dark once again, as they had in the depths of winter. There is no way that this can be said to benefit them.

Clearly the time has come for everyone to admit the simple truth about daylight saving time, which is that it is a vast inconvenience which does nothing helpful for anyone, does not do what most people claim it does (i.e. to save energy), and only causes trouble. Let’s end the charade. OK?

Photo credit: bowbrick.

P.S. Mark over at the Skeptics & Heretics Forum points out that DST is also associated with an increased incidence of heart attacks (WebCite cached article). Yet another very good reason to scratch it.

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