Saving Daylight: The Mystery Behind 'Spring Ahead'

Saving Daylight: The Mystery Behind 'Spring Ahead'

'Summer Time' in the summertime.
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“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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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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