Sometime during that nebulous post-SNL zone between 1 and 2 a.m. Saturday night/Sunday morning, it'll be time to turn the clocks forward one hour for daylight saving time (not savings), the biggest chronological scam in history. More enlightened states such as Arizona and Hawaii have cast off the chains of DST, but NY is still pointlessly tethered to it. We agree that it's great to leave work and still have an hour or two of sunlight, but this country (and NYC in particular) doesn't need to abide by the antiquated DST system anymore to be able to get that.
- 1. We're talking about a tradition that was started by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 because he was interested in conserving candles. And that's only if you assume he was being serious. He's credited with coming up with the idea as a joke.
- 2. 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.
- 3. 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.
- 4. For crissakes, Willett is the great great grandfather of Coldplay singer Chris Martin—isn't that reason enough to end this?
- 5. 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.
- 6. So really, the only reason we have DST is because of one man's perverse interest in insect culture and the divine right of unabashed SELFISHNESS; 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.
- 7. 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 air-conditioner use.
- 8. A more recent study in 2006 found similar results, which was noted by two academics who 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.
- 9. 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 9th there were an alien attack, or if the bubonic plague-ridden rats decided to mobilize their forces, we'd be seriously screwed.
- 10. Oh, and you know what backs that up? Experts say that traffic accidents tend to spike the first Monday after daylight saving 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.
- 11. Zivkovic also notes that cows hate DST. They get depressed ("They may give less milk than usual. They could take days or weeks to get used to the new milking schedules")! When will we stop thinking of ourselves and start thinking of our bovine brothers and sisters?
- 12. And get this: DST can kill you. During the first week of DST, there's a spike in heart attacks, according to a study in the American Journal of Cardiology. The end of daylight saving time causes a decrease in heart attacks. Why are we still talking about this and not storming the White House?
- 13. But wait, there's more: up to 366 lives could be saved a year, according to a 2004 study in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, if we abolished this silly back-and-forth system.
- 14. This isn't just an American problem: according to the journal Sleep and Biological Rhythms, there is an uptick in suicides in Australian men during the first weeks after daylight saving time. Let us as a nation set an example for the rest of the world, and maybe we can save some lives along the way, whatever.
- 15. America is falling behind the more enlightened, anti-DST parts of the world: Slate points out a 2011 study in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics that states students in counties where DST was observed had SAT scores that were 2 percent lower than those of students who didn't have to spring forward or fall back. DST is literally making us stupider.
- 16. Stupider AND less productive: the sleepiness of DST results in an acute spike in "cyberloafing," according to a 2012 report in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Don't you waste enough time doing that during work year-round as it is? Can you really afford to be clicking around on listicles even more?
- 17. 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)?
- 18.Who else loves DST besides the Golf and French Fry industries? Big Charcoal. "The barbecue grill and charcoal industries say they gain $200 million in sales with an extra month of daylight saving—and they were among the biggest lobbies in favor of extending DST from six to seven months in 1986," says Michael Downing, author of "Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time."
- 19. Downing, a hero who wrote a whole book about how stupid DST is, believes we waste much more energy than we save. Gas consumption always goes up, something the gas industry has known since the 1930s, and scuttled to the side. "Every time the government studies [DST], it turns out that we are really saving nothing when all is said and done," Downing says.
- 20. 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!
As it stands now, eight months of the year we're "saving" daylight, so we're almost there—will winter really feel all that different if we were saving daylight then as well? Why don't we just adopt the time frame we call "daylight saving time" as regular old "time"?
This is our plea. This is our cause. This is our time. Call your congressman and ask them to save time—forever—this time.