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Spring Ahead, Fall Back

Semiannually there is a (nearly) national undercurrent of grumbling and whining.  A couple of states and four US territories are oblivious to this--because they don't observe daylight saving time (DST).  (Not "daylight savings time," although most people want to call it that.)

The Internet has given the disgruntled an outlet to move beyond annoying their friends and relatives with their utter dissatisfaction with the DST concept or application.  Web sites have sprung up, advocating either ending DST or extending it year-round.

In its present configuration, DST will go away for only four winter months.  The most-often cited reason for its existence is energy savings.  More than one critical eye is being turned on this claim, however; the most serious contender is a 36-page academic paper making the point that DST actually increases residential energy demand by a substantial amount.  (If 36 academic pages are more than you want to deal with, here's USA TODAY's q&a on the study.)  Another quasi-scientific study purports to show that the productivity of US knowledge workers is diminished by $480 million by DST.

Another commentator finds DST deadly, but advises against bringing up the matter lest Congress impose a National Bedtime Hour!  He also notes the existence of a 240-page book, Spring Forward:  The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, that one review says "draws much mirth from the facts about DST and its amorphous benefits."


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