Neatolicious Fun Facts: Daylight Saving Time

This weekend, the USA "falls back". Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends at 2AM on Sunday, meaning we will set out clocks back one hour. Your local custom may vary. Here are some things I recently learned about Daylight Saving Time.  

1. New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson proposed the idea of shifting clocks in summer in 1895, so he could spend more time collecting bugs after his day job at the post office. New Zealand did not adopt his idea until 1927, after Hudson had retired from the postal service.  

2. London resident William Willett independently came up with the same idea in 1907. He published a pamphlet outlining the idea. He died in 1915 before his plan was implemented.

3. Germany became the first European country to try DST in April of 1916, in order to conserve energy during wartime. Germany's allies quickly followed. England tried it in May of that year. The US first tried DST in 1918, but dropped it after two years. Except for a federal mandate during World War II, DST was optional among the states until 1966, after which states must legally opt out if they choose.

4. The only states in the US that do not observe DST are Arizona and Hawaii (and several tropical territories). Arizona found that any savings in lighting costs were more than offset by the extra cost of air conditioning for that evening daylight hour. The Navaho reservation in Arizona does observe DST, while the Hopi reservation contained inside the Navaho reservation does not. Hawaii follows the lead of many tropical areas that do not benefit from DST as the amount of daylight doesn't vary much near the equator.

5. Antarctica has 24 time zones. However, since the continent also has continuous daylight in the southern summer and continuous dark in the winter, research stations keep the same time as their home countries, in order to co-ordinate work, communication, and shipping schedules.

(YouTube link)

Dad wants to remind you that Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend. These guys don't sing all that well, but they care. By the way, do you need anything from CostCo?

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As a programmer, I despise DST more than most, but it is actually pretty important in the northern parts of the US.

For example, in Seattle, if they were on standard time during the summer, the sun would rise at just after 4am during the summer. If instead they went with DST year round, during the winter the sun would set as early as 3:15pm.

It might not save any electricity, but it would certainly save some sanity in those places.
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