Daylight Saving Time doesn’t work and was invented by our enemies: Nine reasons to hate the clock change this Sunday | Kenora Daily Miner
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This is a re-post of an article published in 2016 . We will continue to post it every clock change until Canadians are finally liberated from this government-imposed temporal scourge.
Daylight saving time ends on Sunday, Nov. 4, and clocks will fall back one hour at 2 a.m. Once again, approximately 34 million Canadians will gain an hour of sleep only to lose it again in the spring, all in the service of the grand national experiment.
First introduced to Canada 100 years ago as a way to save coal, the project is now an annual eight-month ritual tolerated purely due to the belief that it’s good for us. In March, we skip our clocks ahead one hour to inject more sunlight into the evenings. Then, in November, we switch them back to “standard time.”
But if government-mandated clock shifts annoy you, you’re not alone. A hefty body of scientific research is backing up the theory that this whole clock-switching thing might be a literal waste of time.
It’s probably not saving any energy You might recognize this as the entire reason Canada jumped on the daylight saving time train in the first place. But no less than the National Research Council of Canada did a comprehensive review of the scientific literature in 2008 to find out if daylight saving time really was saving energy for Canadians. Their conclusion was that we don’t really know. “There is general consensus that DST does contribute to an evening reduction in peak demand for electricity, though this may be offset by an increase in the morning,” read the report. And the NRC is pretty charitable on this point. The U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, by contrast, also released a study on daylight saving in 2008. After analyzing the energy consumption habits of seven million households in Indiana, the bureau stoically concluded that despite its intended purpose, daylight saving time was actually wasting energy. Lights were indeed being turned on later — but heaters and air conditioners were also kept on longer.
A clock on a city block in Montreal, Que. Getty
It makes us less productive Most studies on daylight saving time merely crunch the raw numbers: How much fuel saved, etc. But it was a 2015 paper out of Germany’s University of Erlangen-Nuremberg that delved into German and British data to measure daylight saving time’s effect on “life satisfaction.” One thing that popped out to researchers was that both Germans and Brits experienced “non-negligible losses of utility” after losing an hour of sleep for the spring changeover. Worse still, productivity was unaffected when workers are given an extra hour of sleep eight months later. Or, as researchers wrote, “we do not find evidence of utility gains when the clocks move back in autumn.”
It makes us putz around on the Internet Humans aren’t good with impulse control when they’re tired. It’s why a 2012 study out of Penn State found a daylight saving time increase in “cyberloafing” (screwing around with personal things on the Internet instead of working) after people are forced to wake up an hour earlier for the “spring ahead” change to daylight saving time in March. By analyzing Google data and experimenting on sleep-deprived volunteers, researchers found that for every lost hour of sleep, U.S. workers were inclined to spend an extra 8.4 minutes cyberloafing. As a news site that sees much of its traffic occurring during working hours, however, the National Post can’t necessarily condemn this behaviour.
A post clock at Electric Time Company, Inc. in Medfield, Mass., March 7, 2014. AP Photo/Elise Amendola
It depresses us The cold and darkness of a Canadian winter is depressing in any case. But the effect of daylight saving time is to take a slow darkening process and transform it into a violent one-day plunge. A Danish-American research team published a study showing that the rate of diagnosed depression cases shows a marked uptick in the weeks after the “fall back” clock change. The data, obtained by analyzing 185,419 depression diagnoses in Denmark’s Central Psychiatric Research Register, found that depression cases spiked by as much as eight per cent in early November. “We are relatively certain that it is the transition from daylight saving time to standard time that causes the increase in the number of depression diagnoses and not, for example, the change in the length of the day or bad weather,” said researcher Søren D. Østergaard.
It kills us Scientists have long suspected that the “spring forward” changeover resulted in more fatal road crashes. Basically, if you force the entire country to lose an hour of sleep, it follows that more cars than usual are going to be skidding into highway barriers. But oddly, the fall changeover also manages to kill people. In a 2001 paper in the Journal of Sleep Medicine, researchers analyzed 21 years of U.S. collision data and found a 10-per cent-increase in fatal crashes around the “fall back” change. Researchers chalked this up to “behavioural responses to forced circadian changes.” Basically, scientists theorized that people are staying out extra late on the night before the clock change, resulting in highways full of extra-tired drivers.
It maims us While their cubicle-dwelling equivalents cyberloaf every spring, blue-collar workers need to deal with mines and construction sites jammed with ill-rested labourers. The inevitable result is a temporary rash of workplace injuries that wouldn’t have otherwise happened. A 2009 paper in the Journal of the American Psychological Association found that, in the United States, an average of 2,649 days of work were lost every year due to injuries sustained because of daylight saving time-induced fatigue. Just as with workplace productivity, however, the reverse is not true. The same study found that the “number and severity of workplace injuries” was virtually untouched by giving workers an extra hour of sleep in November.
It may be the one thing where Saskatchewan is right Canada’s strength as a nation comes from a general willingness to steer clear of whatever sick, twisted pursuits Saskatchewan is up to. But with daylight saving time, it is the one issue in which we are forced to bow our heads to the wisdom of the Wheat Province. Since 1966, Saskatchewan has effectively lived in a perpetual state of daylight saving time. Despite the province being in the Mountain Time Zone, 1.1 million Saskatchewanians synchronize their clocks with Central Standard Time, the time zone located just to the east. Doctors are generally in agreement that it’s good to give people extra sunlight in the summer: more exercising, more socializing. But it’s the clock changes of daylight saving time that screw everyone up. Those canny Saskatchewanians, however, get the best of both worlds: More daylight in the summer, no depression-inducing time change in the fall. This strategy has also been taken up by a chunk of Northern B.C. that simply stays on Alberta time all year.
Dave Olecko/ Bloomberg News.
Most of the world doesn’t do it Daylight saving time applies to only about 1.6 billion people worldwide, which means that 79 per cent of the world’s population is spared the annoyance of synchronizing their watches twice a year. Of course, part of this is due to most of humanity concentrating near the equator, where daylight shifts aren’t nearly as dramatic. Tellingly, many countries — India, South Africa and the Philippines among them — used to practice daylight saving time before determining that it wasn’t worth the trouble. China, for one, ditched daylight saving time in 1992. Now, to keep everything simple, the whole country (which would normally span three to four time zones) simply sets its watch to Beijing time.
It was invented by our enemies Just like income tax, daylight saving time was originally introduced as a temporary measure during the First World War. In 1915, Imperial Germany began jimmying its clocks around in order to better fit the working day within available daylight hours — and presumably save the energy that would otherwise be used to light factories at night. Once word of the measure got out, Britain and its empire quickly followed suit just in case daylight saving was giving their Teutonic enemies a strategic advantage. Daylight saving time, thus, is a lot like poison gas and aerial bombardment of cities: An ante-upping escalation introduced only because the Germans did it first.
Where the time change doesn’t apply: Saskatchewan (except Denare Beach and Creighton), the northeastern corner of B.C., the town of Creston in B.C.’s East Kootenays, three northwestern Ontario communities (Pickle Lake, New Osnaburgh and Atikokan), the eastern reaches of Quebec’s North Shore, and Southampton Island in Nunavut.