March 13, 2010

Spring Forward!

Don’t forget to move your clocks ahead an hour before you go to sleep Saturday night. For example: if you go to bed at 10:42, set your clock to read 11:42.

While you may grumble about losing a hour of sleep Saturday night, the payoff is worth it. WAY worth it: an extra hour of sunlight from now until the first Sunday of November in exchange for just one hour of sleep. A pretty nice trade-off!

You might be asking yourself, “What’s the history of this wonderful time-change event? Might there be some fun facts about this I can share at parties?” Lo! There are many a fun fact!

• Benjamin Franklin conceived the idea in 1784, in an essay, "An Economical Project."

• Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November.

• Daylight Saving Time is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Arizona (Note: some areas in AZ do observe. My parents had a bit of trouble with this on a recent trip to the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas. Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time, but the Navajo Nation [parts of which are in three states] does. However, the Hopi Reservation, which is entirely surrounded by the Navajo Nation, doesn’t observe DST. In effect, there is a doughnut-shaped area of Arizona that does observe DST, but the “hole” in the center does not.)

• Daylight Saving Time commences at 2:00 a.m. to minimize disruption

• To keep to their published timetables, trains cannot leave a station before the scheduled time. So, when the clocks fall back one hour in October, all Amtrak trains in the U.S. that are running on time stop at 2:00 a.m. and wait one hour before resuming.

• Following the 1973 oil embargo, the U.S. Congress extended Daylight Saving Time to 8 months, rather than the normal six months. During that time, the U.S. Department of Transportation found that observing Daylight Saving Time in March and April saved the equivalent in energy of 10,000 barrels of oil each day - a total of 600,000 barrels in each of those two years.

And don’t forget to change the battery in your smoke detector.


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