Daylight saving ends this weekend as most Americans turn their clocks back an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, making the weekend a little longer while slightly extending our daylight hours for the coming winter months.
The practice is not mandatory and consequently not observed by all states and U.S. entities.
According to National Geographic, daylight saving time
is not practiced in Hawaii, Arizona – with the exception of Navajo Indian Reservation residents, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands.
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While daylight saving time is practiced throughout Western Europe, Russia abolished the practice in 2011 and the Japanese haven't observed it in more than 60 years. In Brazil, parts of the country will 'fall back' this weekend while other parts will not, having also failed to "spring forward" an hour this past March when daylight saving time began.
The practice was reportedly first employed by Germany during World War I to assist in the war effort by conserving energy resources. Germany's foes, principally England and the United States, subsequently adopted the practice as well as a counter measure in order to better conserve their resources as well.
The energy-saving premise behind daylight saving time is that people will use less electricity when the working day is adjusting to revolve around when there is more daylight available, thereby lessening the reliance on artificial lighting.
That premise, however, has been challenged by some.
Matthew Kotchen, an environmental economist at Yale, conducted a study in Indiana which in 2006 shifted from having partial observance of daylight saving time that varied between counties to being fully compliant state-wide.
Kotchen's research found that by extending summer days Hoosiers who had previously not observed daylight saving time used more electricity in air-conditioning costs at night compared with what they had used prior to the mandatory time change. The increased air-conditioning use "more than offset any energy gains" by the reduction in use of artificial lights, National Geographic reported.
Another study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2008 came to the opposite conclusion in their research and reported to Congress that by springing forward an hour with the onset of warmer weather energy was in fact saved by American consumers overall.
Wherever you fall in the debate of the effectiveness of daylight saving time, the question still remains – whose responsible for coming up with the idea in the first place?
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Citing computer scientist David Prerau in his book " Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time," National Geographic reported that Benjamin Franklin was responsible for first proposing the idea of daylight saving time. Which makes sense, considering the founding father was known for having coined the phrase, "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
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