An anonymous reader writes "While living in Paris, Ben Franklin was struck by how many hours of daylight were being wasted to sleep during the summer months. He wrote an open letter to a Parisian journal lamenting the wasted expenditures on candlewax, and presented his back-of-the-quillpad estimates of the cost savings if the entire population arose an hour or two earlier. However, Franklin did not specifically mention moving the clocks ahead; instead, he suggested official means for enforcement (rationing the sale of candlewax to families) and encouragement (ringing church bells at sunrise). The clock-shifting technique which we know and love was credited to the New Zealander George Vernon Hudson, who proposed it in 1895. DST was first widely adopted by warring countries during World War I as a way of conserving coal needed for military purposes. This launched a debate over DST's usefulness that continues to the present day (particularly by people stumbling about in their bathrooms). Of course, Franklin is also associated with other questionable ideas, including bifocals, lightning rods, electric current flowing from the positive to negative terminal, leaking official documents to fan opposition, and an independent United States of America." New research suggests the daylight saving time change will lead to lower productivity tomorrow as the lost sleep makes workers more likely to slack (PDF).
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