I’m twenty-two and I still don’t know what daylight savings is. Can you explain it?

Sure thing. Here’s the deal: in the 18th century some big shot named Ben Franklin made a joke in a paper that if people really wanted to save on candlesticks, they should just get their asses out of bed earlier and use the light from the giant candle called the sun. Then 111 years later, this Kiwi called George Vernon Hudson was annoyed that when he got off work he didn’t have enough light hours to catch bugs (no, seriously), so he suggested that the clocks be changed so he goes to work earlier and can still salvage some light later in the day. He wrote up some papers on it but got lazy I guess because they never really went anywhere. The idea was then picked up 20 years later in 1905 by a Brit named William Willett who got the idea all the way to parliament, but it was eventually shot down, probably because the idiot suggested eight shifts of 20 minutes each throughout the year, which is really just a lot of trouble.

All that and we still haven’t gotten to the point yet. The idea came into vogue and then made law during WWI. Germany started the trend in 1916 and the US followed in 1918 when Woodrow Wilson made it a law to support the war effort by getting up earlier and saving fuel for the troops. It was called “war time” and “fast time” back then and all the intelligent countries switched back to normal time after the war, but some countries decided to stick with it and now we all convince ourselves that we’ve gotten an extra hour of sleep or lose an hour and effectively fuck up our circadian rhythms twice a year.

It makes sense in historical context why this change is necessary, but it seems really dumb to keep up the practice now, imo. Especially since there are small pockets of the US that don’t observe DST at all and are out of sync with everyone else for half the year. Anyway, there’s your history lesson for the day.


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