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Friday, October 31, 2014

The Data Shows: Daylight Saving Time Is Asinine

It's always been my personal belief that Daylight Saving Time is stupid. Turns out I was right. Turns out that aside from increasing risk of heart attack, providing adverse mental health in some people, screwing with national and international communication, mixing up global transportation patterns, frustrating farmers, complicating business transactions, and ruining my life twice a year, the only positive thing about DST is that at one point in history it didn't exist.

When The Dumb Began

DST has been used for about 100 years, although its genesis is credited to Benjamin Franklin, according to Franklin proposed the idea—although a little jokingly—to economize the use of candles by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light. The idea was never implemented in his lifetime because people didn't take it seriously.

It wasn't until 1895 that a New Zealand entomologist (bug-collector) by the name of George Vernon realized that his love affair with bugs could last longer every day if he had more daylight hours to play with. He proposed a two hour time shift instead of the one that we grudgingly endure today.

This idea was picked up by another genius, William Willett, whose motivation for lobbying DST was his growing aggravation that dusk kept cutting short his after hours game of golf.

That's right, folks. Golf.

It wasn't until World War I that this idea began to catch on. While Europe did its best to commit genocide the west thought DST would be a great way to save energy during war time. DST wasn't observed again until WWII and was officially adopted in the US in 1967.

The "Energy Conservation" Myth

Energy conservation has long been touted as one of the many reasons for DST to remain in effect (though just how much energy it saves has never been proven), but even if DST did, at one point, help save energy, energy consumption has changed greatly since the days of coke stoves and steam engines. In a 24/7 global economy DST no longer serves its purpose.

Most modern studies of DST show little to no benefit and/or reason for it in regards to energy conservation.

What The Facts Show 

  • The National Research Council of Canada issued a report in 2008 that indicated fuel consumption actually rises during DST because "…with an extra hour of daylight in the evening people tend to go out more."

  • One of the major backers of legislation to keep DST in effect is 7-Eleven, ostensibly to allow the good children of America more time to go out and buy a torso-sized Slurpie. Obesity, folks. DST contributes to obesity.

  • When Indiana made DST mandatory in 2006, Dr. Matthew Kotchen examined several million monthly meter readings from a three year period. He found that having the entire state switch to DST each year, rather than remain on Standard Time, cost Indiana households an additional $8.6 million in electricity bills.

  • Arizona does not recognize DST. They tried it for one year in the 1960s, but there was so much negative reaction that they never tried it again. Some also said that without DST, the state still managed to save heating and cooling energy in the summer (northern hemisphere) months.

  • Kazakhstan abolished DST in 2005, citing negative health effects on more than 51 percent of its population.

  • Farmers, who must wake with the sun no matter what time the clock says, are greatly inconvenienced by having to change their schedules to market their crops to businesses observing DST and therefore generally oppose it. (

  • In 2008 The Wall Street Journal declared: "Daylight Saving Wastes Energy," and cited Dr. Kotchen's report as well as others.

The "Circadian Rhythm"

Health therapist Shawn Kirby says the negative health repercussions of DST can last for weeks in some people. He says the human body's physical and mental behavioral swings caused by day/night changes and sleep patterns—known as the Circadian Rhythm—is essential to a person's mental health and balanced stress levels. This natural rhythm within our own bodies connects us to the world while DST routinely interrupts it.

"Suicides in men and heart attacks were both found to significantly spike with the 'Spring Forward,'" Kirby says.

In Closing

Even apart from the data, DST shows no reasons to exist. I mean, "time," as we know it, is an artificial construction, measured only by agreed-upon convention. The only purpose of measuring time with a clock is to coordinate action. The actual numbers on a clock don't matter; the clock says whatever we, as a society, agree that it should say. On a global scale observing DST completely destroys the original purpose for which time and the clock were created—some countries observe it; some don't. As a result world time becomes confusing. While observing DST, time zones get screwed up; all clocks and electronic devices must be changed, or programmed to run functions that cause the change. This massive, mostly-computerized switchover inconveniences millions of businesses and individuals every year. DST interrupts what is, otherwise, a smoothly operating convention of coordinating global actions.

Let's face it, DST is an outdated, onerous, ridiculous, asinine "illusion." It is unneeded, unwanted, and pointless. If you really need an extra hour of daylight to play gulf or hunt bugs, GET UP AN HOUR EARLIER!

Stop the madness of pointlessly changing time twice a year. End Daylight Saving Time! Sign the petition at

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