22 Oct 7 Geeky Facts About Daylight Saving Time to Wow Your Friends
If you ever caught yourself muttering under your breath, “It’s not Daylight Savings Time. It’s Daylight Saving Time,” or if you just like knowing random trivia facts to drop in conversation to impress, this article’s for you. (Bonus: Yes, “Saving” is actually not plural)
(1) We Can Blame Canadians for DST
The concept of daylight saving versus standard time is often attributed to William Willett and Benjamin Franklin, but it was our brothers in the Great White North who implemented it first. Franklin suggested we adjust our own schedules and wake up earlier in the summer months in 1784, while Willett pitched the idea of incremental clock adjustments to the French in 1907, but neither took hold. However, some folks in Ontario were actually the first to implement the practice back in 1908, and it grew from there.
(2) Farmers Hate It
A lot of people erroneously believe that farmers like the time changes because it more closely follows the sunrise patters, but this isn’t true at all. In fact, farmers were some of the most vocal in shutting down Willett’s proposal in 1907.
“There no benefit to observing time shifts when it comes to planting or harvesting. Moreover, farmhands struggle with the time changes, so the staff, as is the case with employees anywhere, struggle with productivity and workplace safety after the shifts. Worse yet, the animals have internal clocks, just like people do. They expect to be fed at specific intervals, and animals kept for milking, such as cows, are accustomed to certain intervals as well. If you milk a cow too early, she won’t produce as much. If you wait too long, she can become engorged and be in pain, meaning changing the clocks in these situations isn’t realistic.”
Perhaps “hate” is a strong word, but switching times is not the brainchild of farmers or the agricultural industry, and in many ways, actually hurts it.
(3) It Moved from October to November Because of Candy Lobbyists
We like to think that the government is making up these rules because they benefit the population in some way, but the reality is considerably more murky than that. When President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act in 2005, it created a uniform schedule for changing the clocks. It took effect in 2007, moving the traditional October observance to November.
A press release from the Department of Transportation really hits home the point: “Mindful of Halloween trick-or-treating, the National Confectioner’s Association was among those that lobbied Congress unsuccessfully in 1986 to have it extended into November. According to ‘mother time’ Joanne Petrie, an attorney with the Department of Transportation, the confectioners made a valiant attempt and even put little pumpkins with candy on the chairs of the committee members!”
In other words, the folks who pushed the hardest for the switch were, in fact, those who would profit from more daylight time for trick-or-treaters.
(4) Participation isn’t Mandatory
Although the Energy Policy Act mandated uniform switch dates in the United States, it doesn’t require that any area actively participate in the time changes. No law does. This is why states like Arizona and Hawaii get away with never changing their clocks. They’re not alone…
(5) Not much of the World uses it
While most of North America and Europe subscribe to changing the clocks twice a year, only 70 of 196 countries in the world follow Daylight Saving Time. That is only 36% of the countries on the planet. Even more surprising is this time changing concept isn’t really used at all in Asia, Africa, Russia, or South America. Just a handful follow this practice outside of North America or Europe. Some may have used it for a little while, but many have done away with the practice.
(6) It doesn’t save much energy
Those who are “in the know,” like to say that the time switches encourage us to use less energy. After all, if we’re up more during daylight hours, we won’t have the lights on as much. At best, the savings in energy is somewhere around 0.03%, at worst there are some current studies indicate we actually use more energy because we are up longer and doing more fun things. Either way, energy consumption isn’t it.
(7) It Could Be the Reason Your SAT Scores Stunk
Although it’s not entirely clear what sent researchers down this particular rabbit hole, but a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics concluded that the time changes are bad for SAT scores as well. When the test is administered after the time change, students score about 2% worse. While it may not be enough to sink someone’s hope of attending college, it’s enough to remove options for those teetering on the edge of going Ivy League.
There’s a Movement to End Changing the Clocks
Because the concept of changing the clocks hasn’t really delivered on its promise, and it comes with a whole lot of unintended consequences, there is a big movement to put an end to it. If you’d like to join the movement, sign the petition now, and be sure to follow us on Facebook so that more people get involved.