Today is a great day, in a sense. The clocks change to an hour ahead–meaning that spring is coming. Although as I write this there is a forecast for a blizzard of 2017 to hit my hometown and surrounding states with 30 inches of snow this coming Tuesday. But faaaghettaabout it.. The real story is that the warmth of the seasonal change and axis of earth cannot be stopped. Longer days filled with singing birds are coming. But it’s bad. Very bad. And awful for your health and habits.
But first we have to get through the hideous ordeal called the time change.
The idea was first suggested in an essay by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, and later proposed to British Parliament by Englishman William Willett 1907. However, it did not become a standard practice in the United States until 1966. Daylight Saving Time was originally instituted in the United States during World War I and World War II in order to take advantage of longer daylight hours and save energy for the war production… World War II forced states and communities to make their own decisions. Very confusing, I can imagine.. Congress tried making it uniform in the 1960s–a decade that was anything but uniform.. Funny enough, with all this American exceptionalism and celebration of Ben Franklin, GERMANY was actually the first nation to do something..on April 30, 1916, Germany embraced daylight saving time to conserve electricity.
But this losing an hour of sleep business as a regular condition of life? Thank you Jimmy Carter. Not only were gas lines long and prices high, but there were price controls and gasoline rationing, a national speed limit was imposed and daylight saving time was adopted year-round for the period of 1974-75. And to think! Gas was still 2 to 3 bucks lower than it was during the non-crisis of a few years ago when we were told high gas prices were just the ‘new normal’ and get used to it. Thanks Bush. Speaking of Bush, he changed things back in the early part of this century. On Monday August 8, 2005 President Bush signed into law a broad energy bill that extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks beginning in 2007. Since 1986 the United States had observed Daylight Saving Time from the first Sunday in April through the last Sunday in October.. And back then people thought he ruined the time change. But how can you ruin something that was already built in ruin?
So that’s the long and dark history.
This time of year really freaks some people out–they despise it. Heck, I remember listening to Art Bell back in the 1990s railing against time changes during his overnight show then.. The same arguments exist now among the squadron of people against it.
Maybe there is a good reason why it should be changed.
The suffering of the spring time change begins with the loss of an hour of sleep. That might not seem like a big deal, but researchers have found it can be dangerous to mess with sleep schedules. Car accidents, strokes, and heart attacks spike in the days after the March time change. It turns out that judges, sleep deprived by daylight saving, impose harsher sentences. ‘‘Even mild changes to sleep patterns can affect human capital in significant ways,’’ Cornell University researchers Lawrence Jin and Nicolas Ziebarth wrote last year.
He goes on to report,
Daylight turns out to be a surprisingly large factor in how often workers stop at stores on their way home from their jobs in the evening. ‘‘At the end of the day, it’s either dark or light, and [people are] going to make an impulse decision at that point,’’ Diana Farrell, president and chief executive of the JPMorgan Chase Institute.
One possible explanation for the sharp spending decline, Farrell said, is that the extra hour of darkness could push more people to shop online rather than in-person. The study looked only at transactions via local retailers.
Daylight saving time may threaten our health, hurt local retailers, and otherwise disrupt our lives.
That’s a high charge of life deciding misdemeanor. I knew I hated this time of year for a reason, but now at least have an argument to make when someone wants me to explain why..
It’s all science!!
So the heck with it all! Clocks will change tonight regardless of common sense or health.
At least we’ll have a few months of daylight.. before that inevitable darkness creeps back in to our lives this coming autumn.
AND TO THINK.. PEOPLE SAY TIME TRAVEL ISN’T POSSIBLE. WE DO IT TWICE A YEAR EVERY YEAR.