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It is time once again for the U.S. to “spring forward” an hour for daylight saving time (DST) – unless you live in Hawaii, Arizona, the Midway Islands or Wake Island, where they do not play the game.

Tonight at bedtime, people push the hour hand forward, losing an hour, but with the supposed benefit that tomorrow’s sunset will be an hour later and that we are banking those hours for future dark days.

Do we still need Daylight Saving Time? (By the way, it is “saving”, not the plural, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Benjamin Franklin sometimes gets the credit for the idea of DST saving time. In Britain and Germany, they began using the concept in World War I to conserve energy. The U.S. used it briefly during the war, but it didn’t become widely accepted. The Uniform Time Act in 1966 set that clocks should be set forward on the last Sunday in April and set back the last Sunday in October, but Congress has changed that several times to add more daylight saving to the calendar.  This year, daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

TimeandDate.com says that about 75 countries and territories observe daylight saving time and 164 have no time change. So, not everyone is on board. There’s even an Anti-Daylight Saving Coalition on Facebook.

The supposed plusses of DST:
– more time in the day for exercise and socialization = happier people
– increased visibility = decreased traffic accidents
– energy savings = less time that we use lights and other devices
– more time for tourism, shopping etc. = boost to the economy

Are you feeling the benefits?

A fairly comprehensive look at the history and the pros and cons of DST.

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