Everything I thought I knew about daylight saving time was wrong.

On the first Sunday in November, millions of people will set their clocks back an hour, marking the end of daylight saving time.

But while this autumnal tradition is engrained in our brains (and the extra hour of sleep circled on our calendars), most of us still don't know the scoop behind this semi-annual event.

Photo by iStock.


But don't worry — I've got you. Let's take a few minutes out of your free hour to bust some myths about why we even have daylight saving time to begin with.

1. This is all because of farmers, right?

Historically, no. It turns out they kind of hate it.

Farmers are known the world over for two things: 1) getting up early and 2) working really hard. But, historically, it's the sun, not the clock that kicks off their day, so while people often blame daylight saving time on the farmers, that time jump is actually really disruptive for them. Shipments and orders still need to be filled at the same time, but there's one less hour of morning daylight to get things done.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

What you might know is that farmers and the agriculture lobby actually fought to repeal daylight saving time in 1919, and it passed after Congress overrode President Woodrow Wilson's veto. But, as you may have guessed, that veto didn't last long.

2. OK, but springing forward saves a ton of energy and money, right?

Well, that was the plan anyway.

At the dawn of World War I, Germany thought, "Hey, we should turn the clocks back to help save coal and reduce lighting needs for the war effort." So, in 1916, they became the first country to give it a try (a few places in Canada had tried it before then as well). Before long, other countries were like, "Yeah, they're onto something." Daylight saving time arrived in the U.K. a few weeks later and then in the U.S. (as a temporary measure) in 1918.

After a few more experiments with daylight saving time, the U.S. made it permanent in 1966 with the Uniform Time Act.

Photo by iStock.

But does it actually save us energy? Kind of.

In a 2007 study, economists at the California Energy Commission found that extending daylight saving time a few weeks had little effect on energy use in the state. In fact, the drop was 0.2%, within the study's margin of error.  But a 2008 study by the federal energy department found extending daylight saving time saved 0.5% in total electricity each day. It doesn't sound like much, but that's about 1.3 billion kilowatt hours, enough to power 100,000 homes for a year.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

3. But most people like it and that's why everyone participates, right?

Nope. Not quite.

The United States aren't so united on this issue, with Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii electing to sit out the semi-annual time jump. Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa don't participate either.

The U.S. is one of more than 70 countries around the world that observe some form of daylight saving time. (As a reminder, there are just under 200 countries on Earth.)

This clock vendor in Seoul, South Korea, is probably really glad the country doesn't observe daylight saving time. Photo by Ed JonesAFP/Getty Images.

4. Money saving or not, the time change is good for your body and mind, right?

Again, that depends.

The smart folks at Scientific American examined two daylight saving time related health phenomena.

First, the incidence of heart attacks rose about 5% during the first week of daylight, at least according to a study conducted in Sweden in the late-1980s. The same researchers published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 suggesting the increase may be due to sleep disruptions and biological rhythms getting out of whack.

By the same token, there are fewer automobile versus pedestrian traffic accidents since more people are driving home during sunlight.

Then again, correlation is not causation. So what do I (or those smart folks) know? Basically, the jury's out on this one.

Heart attack? Car accident? Was a time jump (or lack thereof) to blame? Photo by iStock.

5. Fine. But there's definitely an S on "daylight savings," right?

No, I haven't been using the wrong word this entire time. It's daylight saving time. I promise. Google it.

Somewhere along the way, we all made it plural when we started explaining it. But you know what, don't worry about trying to break the habit. Language is fluid. Time is a construct. Just roll with it.

GIF via "Steven Universe."

So, you ask, why are we still trying to make this a thing?

Well, twice a year, plenty of people ask that very question. And the chorus against daylight saving time is growing stronger and stronger at the state level, where elected officials are pushing bills from coast to coast to relegate daylight saving time to the history books.

"What is the use in having this?" Texas State Representative Dan Flynn (R) told the NBC affiliate in Dallas. "And no one has a good reason."

He's not wrong.

But no matter how you feel about daylight saving versus standard time, it's here, and we all get an extra hour this weekend.

My recommendation: Use your hour to do what makes you happy. (And by the way, it's not really an extra hour, it's just the hour the government swiped from you in the spring.) Either way, make the most of it. Sleep in. Volunteer. Take a hike. Catch up on "Luke Cage."

But get going, you only have a few more minutes.

Photo by Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty Images.

True

As part of its promise for a brighter world, Dole is partnering with Bye Bye Plastic Bags's efforts to bring sunshine to all.

Visit www.sunshineforall.com to learn more.

Courtesy of Back on My Feet
True

Having graduated in the top 10% of Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) cadets nationwide in 2012, Pat Robinson was ready to take on a career in the Air Force full speed ahead.

Despite her stellar performance in the classroom and training grounds, Robinson feared other habits she'd picked up at Ohio University had sent her down the wrong tracks.

First stationed near Panama City, Florida, Robinson became reliant on alcohol while serving as an air battle manager student. After barnstorming through Atlanta's nightclubs on New Year's Eve, Robinson failed a drug test and lied to her commanding officer about the results.

Eleven months later, she was dismissed. Feeling ashamed and directionless, Robinson briefly returned home to Cleveland before venturing west to look for work in San Francisco.

After a brief stint working at a paint store, Robinson found herself without a source of income and was relegated to living in her car. Robinson's garbage can soon became littered with parking tickets and her car was towed. Golden Gate Park's cool grass soon replaced her bed.

"My substance abuse spiraled very quickly," Robinson said. "You name it, I probably used it. Very quickly I contracted HIV and Hepatitis C. I was arrested again and again and was finally charged and sentenced to substance abuse treatment."

Keep Reading Show less
True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

In a blog post published on Friday, DiMezzo explained how she had never tried to hide who she was and that anyone could have looked her up to see what she was about, in addition to pointing out that those who are angry with her have no one to blame but themselves:

Keep Reading Show less

Maybe before the events of 2020, you were taking your toilet paper for granted. But chances are, you aren't anymore. But aside from the shortages earlier in the year, there are larger problems with traditional TP. Specifically, it's pretty bad for the environment. That said, thanks to a company called Reel, it doesn't have to be. That's because their toilet paper is made from bamboo stalks and designed with environmental sustainability in mind.

If you've had any experience with environmentally friendly toilet paper in the past, you might be tempted to stop reading. But contrary to the prevailing stereotypes about eco-conscious TP, Reel is renowned for its quality and comfort -- so much so that the brand has sold more than a million rolls of the stuff and counting. And it's done so without contributing to the monstrous devastation of forests that's associated with the traditional toilet paper industry.


Keep Reading Show less