Friday, March 07, 2008

Daylight Savings Time Trivia

It's that time of year again. We're all going to "spring ahead" one hour on March 9th for the start of Daylight Savings Time. Now for those few out there who might be asking why we do such a crazy thing with our clocks here's some answers and useless facts (OK, they could be useful if you're on a game show like Jeopardy.)

Benjamin Franklin was the first person to suggest the idea of Daylight Saving Time. He thought that by changing the clocks ahead in the summer it would give the working man some time to spend with his family while the sun was still high in the sky. This idea wasn't taken to seriously by most people of the time.

In 2008 most of the world follows Daylight Savings Time in one way or another. The change in time has proven to save energy. But if that's not interesting enough for you, here are some facts about Daylight Savings Time you might not know.

Last year the date to change back to Standard Time was pushed from the last week in October to the first week of November. This change effected Halloween trick or treaters in a positive way. Halloween night more children are struck and killed by cars than any other time of the year. The number dropped drastically after the change because it was still light out when most kids went trick or treating. Also more candy was sold because more children went to door to door for treats because they had more time.

In September 1999, the Palestinian West Bank was on daylight saving time while Israel had just switched back to standard time.

West Bank Palestinians prepared time bombs and smuggled them to Arab Israelis, who misunderstood the time on the bombs.

As the bombs were being planted, they exploded—one hour too early—killing three terrorists instead of the intended victims—two busloads of people.

Patrons of bars that stay open past 2:00 a.m. lose one hour of drinking time on the day when Daylight Saving Time springs forward one hour.
This has led to annual problems in numerous locations, and sometimes even to riots.

For example, at a "time disturbance" in Athens, Ohio, site of Ohio University, over 1,000 students and other late night partiers chanted "Freedom," as they threw liquor bottles at the police attempting to control the riot.

Widespread confusion was created during the 1950s and 1960s when each U.S. locality could start and end Daylight Saving Time as it desired.

One year, 23 different pairs of DST start and end dates were used in Iowa alone.
For exactly five weeks each year, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were not on the same time as Washington D.C., Cleveland, or Baltimore—but Chicago was.

And, on one Ohio to West Virginia bus route, passengers had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles!

The situation led to millions of dollars in costs to several industries, especially those involving transportation and communications.

Extra railroad timetables alone cost the today’s equivalent of over $12 million per year.

So remember to set your alarm clock to the right time and try to find time to make up for the hour of sleep you're about to lose.

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