This past weekend we turned our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time (DST). The good news: we get an extra hour of sunlight! The bad news: we lost an hour of sleep. Daylight Saving Time is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight. This week on How Do You Science? we will be exploring the fact and fiction of Daylight Savings Time.
The ability to tell time originated hundreds of years ago with the nomadic prehistoric man. By observing the stars, moon phases and the changes in season they came up with a very primitive method of measuring time. The earliest time measurement devices before clocks and watches were the sundial, hourglass and water clock (1500-1300 B.C.). Progressing from mechanical, to pendulum, to the styles seen on wrists, watches have had a long journey.
Having created ways of telling time, the world marched steadily on. However, for those living near the poles it became noticeable that there was less light in the evening. It was believed that the lack of light meant people were no longer being productive. Enter Daylight Savings Time.
DST has been a part of life in the United States since World War I. Many of us have heard that DST was developed because of farming, thinking that more daylight means more time in the field for farmers. As it turns out, famers are actually against DST. The lost hour of morning light meant farmers had to rush to get their crops to market. Dairy farmers were particularly flummoxed: Cows adjust to schedule shifts rather poorly.
DST, in this or any other country, was never adopted to benefit farmers. Then, how did farmers end up being the mythical source of DST? It is suggested that because they were such vocal opponents, they became associated with the image of daylight saving and it got inverted on them. It was just bad luck.
Today, less than 40% of the countries in the world use DST. Some countries use it to make better use of the natural daylight in the evenings. The difference in light is most noticeable in the areas close to the Poles (furthest away from the Earth's Equator). Some studies show that DST could lead to fewer road accidents and injuries by supplying more daylight during the hours more people use the roads.
DST is also used to reduce the amount of energy needed for artificial lighting during the evening hours. However, many studies disagree about DST's energy savings and while some studies show a positive outcome, others do not.
For more information on DST, check out this website.
Today marks the first celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Last December, the United Nations passed a resolution to celebrate women working in science and their contributions to the field.
While men may outnumber women in most STEM careers (only 22% of environmental scientists are women!), some fields have a higher percentage of women that you might have thought:
By jump-starting girls’ interest in STEM subjects and by recognizing strong female role models, we can begin to break the stereotype. Encourage those around you to pursue their interests! Check out libraries, museums, documentaries … the resources are endless. All you need is have the courage to follow your passions!
For more inspiration, check out this article from ABC News featuring 5 top female scientists!
Five women making strides in the science world
Welcome to How We Science, a blog sponsored and maintained by the Natural Resources Trust of Easton and dedicated to sharing the wonders of science and STEM-related careers in ways you may not even know existed. Each week we will be bringing you great information about pursuing careers in science and other STEM fields, resources for learning more about science and STEM professions, and interviews with real people who are scientists in the real world. We hope to educate, inspire, and excite all of our readers!
We also want to hear from you! Are you a student scientist with a special interest that you want to make into your career? Do you work in a really cool STEM job and want to tell others about it? Do you have a science job that no one else knows exists? We want to know more! At How We Science we are looking for real life stories, short videos, science-related book and website reviews, and more that tell people about how you use and enjoy science in our work and home life.
Contact us by email with your post ideas and questions. We look forward to sharing our excitement about science with you!
On January 4, 2016 join us for the launch of the NRT's new online science education initiative, How Do You Science?, and blog, How We Science. These two resources are dedicated to educating and inspiring aspiring scientists everywhere! Whether you are an amateur naturalist with an interest in the environment or you are looking for ways to turn your interest in working with metals into a career, How We Science will have resources that can help you discover more about the opportunities available in science and STEM-related fields.
So we hope you join us on January 4th for our new blog launch, then explore our new website How Do You Science? to learn more!
How We Science is moderated and edited by the staff of the Natural Resources Trust of Easton.