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Monday, March 9, 2009

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time is the convention of advancing clocks so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings less daylight. Clocks are typically adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and adjusted backward in autumn. It was first proposed by an English builder, William Willett, and, of course, remains in use in many locations today. Daylight Savings Time began in the United States during World War I, primarily to save fuel by reducing the need to use artificial lighting. Supposedly, DST benefits retailing, sports and other activities that require sunlight after working hours. According to the American Journal of Public Health, traffic fatalities are reduced when there is extra afternoon daylight; however, its effect on health and crime is less clear. Also, modern heating and cooling usage patterns greatly differ, so research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited and often contradictory (Canada's Institute for Research in Construction). Farming, entertainment and other occupations tied to the sun often report problems with the practice of DST. DST also has mixed effects for health. While providing more afternoon sunlight for outdoor exercise, stronger triggers for vitamin D synthesis, and potential help for those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, Daylight Saving also may increase overexposure and lead to skin cancer, disrupt sleep and reduce its efficiency, and severely affect circadian rhythm (biochemical, physiological or behavioral processes of living beings). The very definition of "time" is controversial and open to interpretation. Man, in his efforts to manipulate time, uses limited knowledge of a concept full of mysteries. Cutting off or adding sixty minutes of daylight to a calendar day can be justified or not depending upon a person's point of view. Whether longer mornings or longer afternoons better suit people largely depends upon their individual gains or losses when the shifts of DST are made. Individual adaptations to the clock adjustments typically last a week or two. Then, the topic of Daylight Saving Time is put to rest until the next change occurs. Creatures of habit will moan and advocates of change will applaud twice a year as real time marches on.

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