Debate Forum: 3/15/16

Brewmaster Jeffrey McElfresh talks about the brewing process with members of the WYSO staff on the brew day of Vox Populi, a collaboration pale ale Yellow Springs Brewery in 2015. Photo by Jim Witmer Brewmaster Jeffrey McElfresh talks about the brewing process with members of the WYSO staff on the brew day of Vox Populi, a collaboration pale ale Yellow Springs Brewery in 2015. Photo by Jim Witmer

Time for a change?

What’s the deal with Daylight Saving

By Sarah Sidlow

Have you adjusted to your new sleep schedule yet?

In case you didn’t notice, the mystical and confounding tradition of Daylight Saving Time has struck again, and America (not including Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and most of Arizona) has “sprung forward.” While you were out searching for that mysterious lost hour, it’s unlikely that you got a straight answer about where the spring forward/fall back tradition even came from.

Here’s the deal: DST, based on the idea of Benjamin Franklin and others, is about energy conservation. The argument is that changing the clocks will decrease energy consumption, because more sunlight in the evenings reduces the need for artificial illumination. It was first introduced in the United States during World War I to mirror Germany’s wartime fuel-saving efforts. When the war ended, the U.S. government repealed the law, because it was unpopular.

With the Second World War came the second advent of DST. And this time, it was here to stay. Cue the next 70 years of Americans almost forgetting to change their clocks, twice a year, every year. In fact, Congress changed the DST dates in 2005 from the first Sunday in April and last Sunday of October to the second Sunday of March and first Sunday of November—remember that? Neither do we.

So why do we still do the DST thing? There are lots of folks who say we should just say no.

One of the biggest arguments in the anti-DST camp is that it may not even save energy anymore. A study in Indiana found that the time change increased residential electricity consumption by one percent overall, with monthly increases as high as four percent in the late summer and early fall. The reason? While Ben Franklin may have been right about DST reducing the demand for artificial lighting, he didn’t take into account the increased demand for heating and cooling. Maybe that’s why Arizona marches to the tock of a different clock by not participating in Daylight Saving Time.

Health experts also have a bone to pick with Daylight Saving Time, claiming the abrupt change to our sleep schedule takes a toll on overall health, forcing our internal clocks to shift faster than nature intends. And there may be real consequences: Swedish researchers reported a five percent greater risk of heart attack in the three days immediately after the Spring time change. In the first few weeks after the “fall back,” suicide rates sharply increase.

But there are more DST supporters than just Ben Franklin. Those who support the time change cite fewer vehicular accidents during Daylight Saving Time, when the daylight hours are extended. They also claim crime rates decrease when the sun stays out longer after the work hours. Retailers specifically notice a bump in business when the sun shines into the evening and prospective shoppers are more likely to stroll the streets. Moreover, abolishing Daylight Saving Time would require a new law, and that is just too complicated.

That being said, elected officials in a dozen states have considered legislation to opt out of DST, either by remaining permanently on daylight saving time or standard time (which is in place from November to mid-March).

Of course, this may just make things even more confusing. Glad we could help!

Reach DCP freelance writer Sarah Sidlow at

DST: Drowsy sleepy time

By Don Hurst

As I write this, I down my third cup of coffee. My fatigued eyes burn, my king size bed with the memory gel mattress calls to me, beckoning me to its embrace. Our time together was tragically cut short by government tyrants who do not care about my sleep hygiene. Daylight saving time has ruined yet another Sunday.

What’s the big deal? Daylight saving time seems innocent enough. Spring forward an hour—just one tiny little hour. Enjoy longer days. The sun doesn’t go down until later, so we can all get our barbecue on. It’s awesome.

And it’s all a lie.

Daylight saving time can literally kill you. Our bodies get into a rhythm our internal systems use to repair damage from the day’s activities. Disrupt that at your mortal peril. Multiple medical studies have shown the risk of heart attacks increase on the days following the spring forward. Fatal car accidents increase on Sunday and Monday following the change. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Groggy morning drivers treat our streets like a narcoleptic Thunderdome, yawning and smashing through all the other sleepyheads on the road.

The days following DST are like scenes from “The Purge” movies. A dozing driver T-bones you at an intersection. What happens then? A sleepy paramedic drives you to the hospital, weaving through the same slumbering minefield. Then you arrive at a hospital, where the nurses are so bleary-eyed it’s luck if they give you medication that won’t explode your heart. Maybe they will keep you alive long enough to die in surgery at the hands of a doctor too drowsy to know where to put his scalpel.

All this death and destruction, so we can barbecue a little later than usual? But we’re only scratching the surface of DST caused misery.

There are clocks you have to change. A lot of clocks. I’m making a list of clocks right now, and it’s not pretty. Stove clock. Microwave clock. Coffee maker clock. Living room clock. Bedroom room clock. Spare bedroom clock. Kid’s bedroom clock. Subaru Outback clock. Hyundai Santa Fe clock. Air conditioner clock. Garage clock. Study clock. Watch.

You get the idea. We have a lot of clocks. It’s not like you can just dial the hands a bit to make up the hour. No. These are digital clocks. I have to mash the correct sequence of buttons for the display to roll. If I scroll too fast, I have to wait to spin back around.

Then there’s the paranoia. Maybe my wife already switched the clocks. Maybe now I’m jumping us two hours ahead? Is the time I’m even looking at the correct time? Did my phone really update to the correct time? I don’t know. I have to get confirmation with other sources just to know if it is really 7:30 in the morning.

Clocks are just the beginning of my misery. If changing the clocks doesn’t break me, my son will. Thanks to daylight saving time, bedtime has become something resembling a nuclear arms negotiation summit at my house.

It’s time for bed. No, it’s not. It is. It’s still light out. The clock says it’s 9:30. The clock is just a slave to imperial masters and can be changed by fickle government decree. I don’t have to listen to it. (I can’t argue with that logic.)

Then, we go through the reverse when it’s time to get up. Wake up. No, it’s still dark. The clock says it’s 7:00. Time for school. The clock is just a slave …

You get the idea.

It’s not really the kid’s fault. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution geared our bodies to wake up when the sun’s up. All the light generates hormones that keep our eyes from closing. Darkness makes us sleepy, generating that fuzzy head melatonin.

Another reason to hate daylight saving time? Hitler loved it. Hitler was all about the daylight saving time. It was literally called “Hitler-time” by French resistance fighters during World War II. As the Nazis barreled through Europe they imposed German ways of life on conquered citizens, including Hitler-mandated DST. It became a subtle form of resistance to use the French clock even though it was two hours behind Berlin.

If we continue to use daylight saving time, isn’t it like Hitler won? His legacy lives on whenever we spring our clocks forward an hour every year. Let’s give patriotism a chance and stop this Hitler-inspired nonsense.

If not being like Hitler isn’t enough to convince you to ditch DST, then think about the farm animals.

Agricultural research shows that the time change induces stress on the poor animals. Chickens don’t lay as many eggs. Cows don’t produce as much milk. Getting milked seems like it’s stressful enough. Change the routine, and it gets even worse.

Thank you, Congress. Not only do we support Hitler, but we’re also upsetting the cows. I hope you’re happy.

Even Russia—yes, that Russia—stopped daylight saving time for the sake of the cows. When Vladimir Putin’s government treats animals better than you, then maybe you need to think really hard about what you’re doing.

Don Hurst is a combat vet and a former police officer. He now lives in Dayton where he writes novels and plays. Reach DCP freelance writer Don Hurst at

Dipped cone nostalgia thanks to DST

By Ben Tomkins

When I hear people complaining about having to adjust their clocks for daylight saving time, particularly during an election season, it is no surprise to me that most of the Third World hates us. While we are whining about suffering from the identical effects of taking a summer vacation one time zone to the east, there are people in Bangladesh so poor they are forced to periodically breast feed for their entire lives. It’s crazy. Here are some examples of the degree to which human beings in this country are spoiled:

According to research at Stanford and Johns Hopkins, “ … sleep disruption caused by the ‘spring forward’ effect causes an increase in traffic accidents.”

You know what else causes sleep disruption? Life, the universe and everything. The nihilistic existential fact of our need to close off two of the holes on our face for a third of our lives, only to have that time interrupted every 30 minutes by the sounds of real or imagined snakes and polar bears that want to eat that face off between 1 and 6 in the morning. But you know what’s really telling about how spoiled we are? There are researchers at Stanford and Hopkins being paid a living wage to sit next to the freeway with a hand counter when the clocks change, watching car accidents.

Think of how cynical that is. We’re changing our clocks, so we can have a little more time with our family to finish up at Dairy Queen before the sun goes down during the warm summer months that make for a wistful childhood, and our response as a society is to go camping for car accidents during the dark morning hour we traded in for that time.

For a little more context on that point, do you think Stanford and Hopkins are paying an equal number of researchers to set up shop near a few crosswalks during rush hour when we pick up an extra hour of sleep? To answer that question before you get online and waste your time, no they do not. They set up robots and cameras so they can sleep in an extra hour.

Here’s another favorite:

“ … putting the clocks forward caused electricity demand to rise as there was a ‘tradeoff between reducing demand for lighting and increasing demand for heating and cooling.’”

This statement was put forward by the University of California Energy Institute. That institute is located in Berkeley. Northern San Francisco. For anybody who has not been to San Francisco, it is one of the greatest places on the planet for food, wine, sports and life in general. The people who live in San Francisco are some of the most spoiled, selfish, demanding, entitled little children on the face of the planet. And if that weren’t enough to warrant a gigantic middle finger, they are trying to further increase their elite housing prices by conducting studies to take away a single extra hour of warmth and daylight families can enjoy together at parks in horribly cold, boring states like North Dakota. North Dakota is so desolate that without the Northern Lights, the people who live there wouldn’t have enough light nine months out of the year to make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night without killing themselves. San Francisco is so bright you can see it from the moon.

Furthermore, this is the United States of America, and the point attempting to be made is that sometimes there are reasons why we experience an “increase in demand” for things that make us more comfortable. I can tell you what that reason is. It’s because this is the United States of America. We are the country in the most constant state of increasing demand for everything that makes us more comfortable.

All that being said, I think my favorite criticism still has to be “it can disrupt relationships.”

Let me tell all of you something. The most disruptive aspect of all relationships that have ever existed is the unbridgeable synaptic gap between one person’s neural network and another person’s neural network. We are pathetic little grubs rolling around in the sewage and filth of our own lives, trying to connect ourselves in some meaningful way with all the other little sewage grubs. The closest we can get to experiencing another person is sex, which is the most selfish activity in which we can possibly engage.

If your relationship was totally fine and then all of a sudden the clocks roll back an hour and it cracks in half and sinks like the Titanic, the problem wasn’t the lack of daylight. It was the fact that you were obliviously steaming through an iceberg field of your partner’s personal failure and resentment in the first place.

The bottom line is a huge number of my wonderful childhood memories are things like walking home from the park in the summer while the sun goes down. DST allows all of us to pick up that extra hour of joy in exchange for replacing one hour of total bitchiness from waking up too early for a different hour of total bitchiness from waking up too early. It’s still an hour, and once you’re up, it’s fine.

Ben Tomkins is a violinist, teacher, journalist and critically acclaimed composer currently living in Denver, Colorado. He hates stupidity and generally believes that the volume of one’s voice is inversely proportional to one’s knowledge of an issue. Reach Ben Tomkins at


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Sarah Sidlow
Reach DCP editor Sarah Sidlow at

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