Daylight Saving Time is the greatest continuing fraud ever perpetrated on the American people. And this weekend, the effect of this cruel monster will rear its ugly head again. On Sunday morning, Americans across the country will be forced to set their clocks back one hour, and next week, the sun will begin its ambling lurch to set at 4:30 in the afternoon.
Technically-speaking, this sleep cycle-wrecking practice of setting our clocks back occurs so we can return to Standard Time after our flirty summer with DST. And the unsettling shift back to these hours, and the hour "we gain," is the back-end of the time-bargain we pay for setting our clocks forward in March to "maximize daylight"—a phrase probably better suited to organisms that rely on photosynthesis—during the spring and summer hours.
Why we try and "maximize daylight" like we're plants is actually an archaic practice first thought up in the late 1700s and often attributed to Benjamin Franklin. As some elementary school teacher may have explained to you, this was a practice to accommodate agricultural workers and farmers (wrong, and we'll get to this in a minute) or to lower the nation's electricity usage.