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Daylight saving time 2018: 7 myths and facts about changing the clock
DST has implications on our history, our health, and even our chances of being the victim of a crime.
Sunday, March 11 marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time (DST). Starting at 2 A.M., we move our clocks one hour ahead. It always begins the second Sunday in March when we spring ahead, and on the first Sunday of November when fall behind an hour.
Though we encounter it twice a year, most people don’t know much about it, other than to soak up more sunlight in spring or enjoy an extra hour of sleep in fall. For instance, many people call it Daylight Savings Time. Saving is actually singular. Fascinating stuff.
But that's not all. Why not increase your knowledge of this bi-annual ritual?
7 myths and facts about DST
1. Myth: America was the first country to practice Daylight Saving Time
Benjamin Franklin by David Rent Etter (1835). Credit: National Parks Service.
Although the idea originated with Benjamin Franklin, who believed we could conserve candles if people got up consistently with the daylight, it was probably first practiced in Britain. Even so, Germany is the first recorded country to have taken up the practice starting in May 1916, as an effort to try and save fuel during World War I. The US Chamber of Commerce backed the measure and America soon followed suit. An hour longer of daylight meant more leisure time, increasing sales of things like baseballs, barbecue accoutrements, and golf balls.
2. Fact: Not every state in the US practices DST
The Arizona desert. Credit: The DigitalArtist Pixababy.
For instance, sun-baked Arizona and Hawaii refuse to change their clocks. Both Massachusetts and Maine have considered getting off DST, but haven’t scrapped the whole thing quite yet. Internationally, 70 nations practice Daylight Saving Time. But that’s fewer than 40% of all the countries in the world. China and Japan, for instance, don’t practice DST.
3. Myth: America adopted Daylight Saving Time to help farmers
A farmer. Credit: Neil Palmer (CIAT) Flickr.
The reason given is that it gave farmers more time to work in their fields. Actually, farmers fought against widespread adoption. DST means an hour less in the morning to milk the cows or get harvested crops to market. What’s more, some feared it would take us off of “God’s time.” In the United States, DST was repealed shortly after World War I ended, and wasn’t instituted nationwide permanently until 1966.
4. Fact: Daylight Saving Time can affect your health
Credit: Robert Shields, US Army.
Losing or gaining an hour may not seem too big of a change. But in fact, it can jolt the body’s internal body clock, causing a higher risk of sleep disorders, heart attacks, strokes, and miscarriages. Sudden changes in circadian rhythms can affect fertility as well. A 2013 study published in the journal Open Heart, found a 25% increase in the number of heart attacks occurring the day after a spring DST. Fatigue, decreased productivity, and even cluster headaches are also more common.
5. Myth: Daylight Saving Time saves energy
Credit: Benita 5, Pixababy.
The US Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in 2005, extending DST by another month, for a total of eight. This was the second time this occurred. The first was in 1984. They thought this action would save electricity, and so were perhaps too hasty. A 2008 US Department of Energy study found that the decrease was modest, just 0.003%. While a study out of the University of California-Santa Barbara found that energy use actually might increase. The state of Indiana, after it adopted DST, found it experienced increased consumption. They believe, during the period of extra sunlight, people were running their air conditioners for longer.
6. Fact: New York City stayed on Daylight Saving Time after World War I
Credit: Kai Pilger. Pexels.
Once World War II came around, the country went back on DST (President Roosevelt called it “War Time”) to conserve fuel once again. It dropped off again after the war. But New York kept DST, and due to its stature as a world financial hub, other areas naturally followed suit. So a strange dichotomy was set up, where cities were following DST, while rural areas were not. At least, not until the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which forced states to either adopt DST or not. The act was signed into law by then president Lyndon B. Johnson. Before that, you could take a 30 mile drive in many places in the country and pass through several different times, depending upon whether the locality adopted DST or not.
7. Fact: You’re less likely to get robbed during Daylight Saving Time
Credit: Tobias "ToMar" Maier Wikimedia Commons.
That’s according to a 2015 Brookings Institute paper. Researchers discovered that during the fall DST, robbery fell 7%, while during the spring one, robbery fell a full 27%, as the extra hour of daylight in the evening kept would-be robbers away.
What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.
- Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
- The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
- The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
Jet bursting out of a blazar. Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Cosmic death beams: Understanding gamma ray bursts<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cu2knVEk" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c6cfd20fdf31c82cb206ade8ce21ba3f"> <div id="botr_cu2knVEk_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cu2knVEk-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Researchers dramatically improve the accuracy of a number that connects fundamental forces.
- A team of physicists carried out experiments to determine the precise value of the fine-structure constant.
- This pure number describes the strength of the electromagnetic forces between elementary particles.
- The scientists improved the accuracy of this measurement by 2.5 times.
The process for measuring the fine-structure constant involved a beam of light from a laser that caused an atom to recoil. The red and blue colors indicate the light wave's peaks and troughs, respectively.
Scientists at Washington University are patenting a new electrolyzer designed for frigid Martian water.
- Mars explorers will need more oxygen and hydrogen than they can carry to the Red Planet.
- Martian water may be able to provide these elements, but it is extremely salty water.
- The new method can pull oxygen and hydrogen for breathing and fuel from Martian brine.