Killing Time: Hidden costs of changing time

Every year, Americans lose and then subsequently regain an hour of their lives in the nationwide farce known as daylight saving time (DST).

Originally implemented in 1918 as an effort to conserve resources during World War I, DST was repealed the next year and then taken up again during World War II, according to the California Energy Commission. It was not until 1966 that Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, dooming America to a state-regulated existence plagued by disrupted sleep schedules and trying to figure out how to change the time on all household appliances.

Rebels standing as a beacon of sanity in this nightmarish time confusion are Hawaii, Arizona — except for the Navajo Nation — and the majority of U.S. territories who do not observe DST.

This year, Apple has reported a glitch in the iPhone and iTouch operating system that may cause recurring alarms to go off an hour late, according to MSNBC. Preset alarms for any devices running on the iOS 4.1 mobile operating system should be safe to use again in the days following the change, as long as they are reset.

In his zealous quest to save money on candles, Benjamin Franklin never realized the dire straits in which he would place the electronic conveniences of future generations.

More serious problems stemming from DST include a 5 percent increase in heart attacks the first week of daylight saving time, according to Scientific American. The study, conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, suggested that this may be due to changes in sleep patterns and biological rhythms.

Among the studies on the effectiveness of daylight saving time, a 1970s investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation revealed that electricity usage dropped by 1 percent, according to Discovery News. Later studies showed this figure to have been made up for by increased use of air conditioners in warmer areas.

Researchers had another opportunity to examine the usefulness of daylight saving time in 2006 when Indiana first imposed DST statewide. It was found that the implementation lent to a 1 percent increase in electricity use, amounting to an extra cost of $9 million for the state, according to Scientific American.

Daylight saving time has become a useless and counter-productive tradition that tricks the unaware masses into believing that they can eventually catch up on lost sleep from over half-a-year ago. America should follow Hawaii, Arizona and most of the U.S. territories into the bright future, which is year-round standard time.

As the old American Indian saying goes, “Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom and have a longer blanket.”

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