Daylight Saving time is good!

Sunday the clocks go ahead, and we lose an hour of sleep and while most people cry about it and cheer about the clocks going back in the fall here are some instances of Daylight saving being a good thing for some.

A man, born just after 12:00 a.m. DST, circumvented the Vietnam War draft by using a daylight saving time loophole. When drafted, he argued that standard time, not DST, was the official time for recording births in his state of Delaware in the year of his birth. Thus, under official standard time he was actually born on the previous day–and that day had a much higher draft lottery number, allowing him to avoid the draft.

In September 1999, the West Bank was on Daylight Saving Time while Israel had just switched back to standard time. West Bank terrorists prepared time bombs and smuggled them to their Israeli counterparts, 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.

AM radio signals propagate much further at night than during the day. During daytime, more stations in neighboring areas can broadcast on the same frequency without interfering with each other. Because of this situation, there are hundreds of stations licensed to operate only in the daytime. Daylight Saving Time can affect the bottom line of these daytime-only radio stations: during parts of the year it can cause the stations to lose their most profitable time of day–the morning drive time. The gain of an hour of daylight – and thus broadcast time – in the evening does not fully compensate for the morning loss.

Through 2006, the Daylight Saving Time period has closed on the last Sunday October, about a week before Election Day, which is held the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The extension of Daylight Saving Time into November has been proposed as a way to encourage greater voter participation, the theory being that more people would go to the polls if it was still light when they returned home from work. The U.S. law taking effect in 2007 pushes the end of Daylight Saving Time to the first Sunday in November. In some years (2010, 2021, 2027, and 2032), this will fall after Election Day, giving researchers the opportunity to gauge its effect on voter turnout.

A study by the U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration found that crime was consistently less during periods of Daylight Saving Time than during comparable standard time periods. Data showed violent crime down 10 to 13 percent. It is clear that for most crimes where darkness is a factor, such as muggings, there are many more incidents after dusk than before dawn, so light in the evening is most welcome.

Amish communities in the United States and Canada are divided about whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. Although the Amish are generally known for leading simple lives without modern conveniences, practices vary from community to community. Likewise, some Amish communities observe DST, while others do not. In one county in Ohio, approximately 10 of the 90 Amish church districts opt out of DST (known as “fast time” or “English time,” preferring to observe what they term “slow time.”

So like it or not, make sure you put your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed tonight.

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