The most pillow-punching day of the year is upon us: daylight saving time begins early Sunday morning, an hour after magical musical sprite Justin Timberlake completes his fifth hosting duty of Saturday Night Live. Last year we tried to clear up all the confusion around the difference between daylight saving time and daylight savings time (just because the latter is commonly used doesn't make it right). But this year, we're borrowing a page from the Ma Nishtana to ask: why the hell do we still have daylight saving time?

  • We're talking about a tradition that was started by Benjamin Franklin—who is credited with coming up with the idea as a joke.
  • It was popularized by William Willett, who had a very confusing plan for how to implement it. Really, the only reason the U.S. adopted it was so that President Woodrow Wilson, an avid golf enthusiast, could get more hours on the green.
  • OK, sure, and to conserve coal during WWI. There's no argument that DST worked during WWI and WWII. But bayonets were also considered effective weapons once upon a time.
  • For crissakes, Willett is the great great grandfather of Coldplay singer Chris Martin—isn't that reason enough to end this?
  • The other man who is credited with the proposal is New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson in 1895—of course, the reason he was in favor of it was so he could study insects longer during daylight hours.
  • So really, the only reason we have DST is because of unabashed SELFISHNESS, and the most lingering legacy of DST is the fact you get the song "Yellow" stuck in your head and hate yourself for singing along. Basically.
  • DST was designed to give people more time in sunlight, and ostensibly to conserve energy—but many prominent studies have proven we get little if any benefits from the practice. A U.S. Department of Transportation study in the 1970s concluded that total electricity savings associated with daylight saving time amounted to about 1 percent in the spring and fall months—and that was offset by the increase in airconditioner use.
  • A more recent study in 2006 found similar results, which was noted by two academics wrote a NYT Op-Ed piece in 2008. They argued that not only is there little scientific proof that this reduces energy consumption—it's actually more wasteful than not. And super annoying, which we already knew.
  • Chronobiologists agree as well: Bora Zivkovic wrote a fantastic essay in which he argues DST is basically destroying our brains: "Whether or not DST saves energy is the least of the reasons why it’s a bad idea. Much more important are the health effects of sudden, hour-long shifts on our bodies and minds." The entire world is jet-lagged for several days after the changeover—in other words, if on March 11th there were an alien attack, or if the rats decided to mobilize their forces, we'd be seriously screwed.
  • Oh, and you know what backs that up? Experts say that traffic accidents tend to spike the first Monday after daylight savings time, as motorists struggle with an hour less sleep and darker early morning road conditions. So DST leads to death and destruction even without bringing the rats and aliens into this.
  • Zivkovic also notes that cows hate DST. When will we stop thinking of ourselves and start thinking of our bovine brothers and sisters?
  • But you know who loves DST? The French Fry industry. A founder of the Daylight Saving Coalition once testified in Congress that fast-food restaurants DO sell more french fries in DST. Do we really want to support Big Fry (anymore than we already do)?
  • Okay, you might be saying to yourself about now: what about SUNSHINE? "Why would you want to deny us our precious extra hour of direct sunlight, you weather fascist?" Here's the thing: we can have it both ways! Why don't we just adopt the time frame we call "daylight saving time" as "time"? Or vice-versa, whatever. Just pick one already! Unless you want to be like one of those people who wanted Bella to end up with both Team Jacob AND Team The Really Pale One!
  • And finally, don't you want to do everything in your power to stop the Huffington Post from writing any more stupid posts about positivity and shit?