Saving Daylight: The Mystery Behind 'Spring Ahead'

Saving Daylight: The Mystery Behind 'Spring Ahead'

'Summer Time' in the summertime.

“Not to be pessimistic, but we’re losing an hour tonight,” said my mom with a laugh as we watched Downton Abbey after dinner. That’s right, I thought, the most baffling part of the spring. Daylight Savings time. We had plans to go to Disney the next day, but overnight, 2AM would become 3AM and we’d get an hour less of sleep. It would also get lighter later in the day, making it harder to stay energized in the morning. I had to know: Why Daylight Savings?

As you probably know, Daylight Saving is really just “Daylight Moving.” When we “spring ahead” to prepare for the summer months, we’re moving that extra hour from the morning to the evening and then using it for barbecues, beach trips, and evening walks that run through dinnertime. That's why, in many parts of the world, it's called "Summer Time" rather than Daylight Savings. We know there are drawbacks: The disorientation the day of the time change, the existence of parts of the country that don’t participate in Daylight Saving, the still-darkness when you get up before 8AM for class, and the like. There are pros and cons to the whole thing, and which ones you experience depend on whether or not your state decides to "save daylight." Currently, states like Hawaii and Arizona do not.

The idea for Daylight Saving came from Benjamin Franklin, and was further emphasized by a British builder, William Willett. At the time, the idea was that nobody woke up in the morning early enough to use all the daylight anyway, so why not, in the words of Patrick Star, take that extra hour and push it somewhere else, where it can be useful for farming and other outdoor activities?

This is probably the most solid logic to come out of the whole ordeal. It's true, humans don't generally like to wake up early. As Willett observed in the early 1900s, people have their blinds closed for the bulk of morning daylight in the absence of Daylight Saving. There's no point in wasting it, which I agree with. Having more sunlight during awake hours also saves about 1% of daily electricity use, which is awesome for environmental efforts. Still, adjusting to the time change can be more than a pain. There are more car accidents in the mornings due to the darkness, and sleep schedules are rather shaken. Most states in the U.S. as well as places in the Middle East and Europe feel that the pros outweigh the cons.

As a student, it's hard to decide whether I would appreciate the halt of Daylight Saving. As confused as I am by the near-darkness on a stroll to an 8AM class, when it comes down to it, I need the extra hour of daylight for my mental health. It allows me to sleep in more without worrying that the day will soon be practically over. Being the Disney geek that I am, I also like that the sunlight allows me to get the most out of my summertime visits. What I propose is the same that William Willett first proposed: We make the time change more gradual. Let's split it up into 20 minutes and do it once a month in January, February, and March. That way, we can enjoy additional sunlight throughout the summer without the shock to our circadian rhythms.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr/Experience Kissimmee

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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