Daylight Saving Time

"Spring forward, fall back." It is as simple as that. In the United States (except in Hawaii and Arizona) Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 in the morning on the second Sunday in March. Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 in the morning on the first Sunday in November. In the European Union Daylight Saving Time begins at 1:00 A.M. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on the last Sunday in March, and ends at 1:00 A.M. GMT on the last Sunday in October. Of course, in Australia and New Zealand Daylight Saving time is observed from October to April.

With the Daylight Saving time-change in November, it is possible, when twins are born, that the second one will have an earlier birth-time than the elder!

Daylight Saving Time was originally implemented by the Germans and Austrians in 1916 as a war measure. They were soon followed by other belligerent countries. (The United States adopted DST in 1918.) The idea was that money and energy could be saved by better utilizing the hours of daylight available in the summer. Although power consumption is heavy in the daylight hours for manufacturing, less power is needed for illumination in the daytime. In the summer the days are longer. There are hours of daylight when the sun shines even while most people are still in bed. The idea of Daylight Saving Time is to re-arrange schedules on a massive scale to take advantage of an extra hour of morning sunlight.

Benjamin Franklin first conceived of Daylight Saving Time while he was the Colonial ambassador (1784) to France. He first set down his ideas in a pamphlet called "An Economical Project". In England William Willet advocated "shifting daylight" in a pamphlet called "Waste of Daylight" in 1907.

Today, Daylight Saving Time is popular. Most people like having more hours of daylight in the evenings, especially during the summer months. However, there are some naysayers who believe that energy savings acquired by effectively taking an hour of sunlight from the morning hours and adding them to the evening hours are offset by early risers who use more electricity during the dark hours of the morning especially in the early spring or late fall. It is also argued that more gasoline is used in summer by people participating in activities that take advantage of the extra hour of light in the evenings. Daylight Saving Time may also create sleep disturbances. The final argument by naysayers is that there are still the same number of hours of sunlight. "If people want to use the extra hours of sunlight, why don't they just get up earlier?"

Daylight Saving Time is hyped by fire departments to be a good time for people to check their smoke detector batteries. They should be checked about every six months.

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