Saving daylight: Time to change?
Fri, 09 Mar 2012 23:08:47 GMT —
It's spring forward time this weekend. Remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed Saturday night, for Daylight Saving Time.
While it may mean adjusting our sleep patterns twice a year - losing an hour of sleep in the spring, gaining an hour in the fall - most people we talked to think Daylight Saving Time is all right.
"It gives you more time to do stuff. You can go out and do things later at night," said Bill Greenway of Conway.
"I think it's great. I love the longer days," said Lily Ann Revitch of Carolina Forest.
But others say, if Daylight Saving Time is such a great idea, why not do it all the time?
"It would eliminate you worrying about going back, going forward. Just keep it the same," said Cliff Garrison of Horry County.
There's an online petition for DST opponents, urging Congress to "stop this madness" and keep Standard Time year-round.
But Coastal Carolina University physics professor Louis Keiner says there's a good reason for changing our clocks twice a year.
He says it has to do with the tilt of the earth as it goes around the sun. At different times of the year, we have different amounts of daylight and that didn't mean much, back when most people got up around dawn and went to bed around dusk.
But in modern times, we're on a schedule set by the clock. That means, in summer time, dawn would happen long before we wake up.
"And so a lot of people were thinking that, well, wait a second, we're still in bed through a lot of this daylight that we could be using, so why not shift the clocks so that hour of daylight actually shifts to the evening," Keiner said.
Thus, Daylight Saving Time was born. Keiner said if we did not change our clocks for Daylight Saving Time, we'd have the opposite problem - waking up a couple of hours before dawn in the winter. "And so the current daylight savings time where it switches in spring is the best compromise between those two points."
Keiner said Daylight Saving Time started during World War I, when the idea was to cut back on using electricity, saving fuel for the war effort.
But the idea goes back much further than that. Ben Franklin was the first American to propose daylight saving time, back in 1784