March brings the first soft breezes and crocus buds of spring, as the earth awakens after its winter-long sleep. I can only assume this new season of life and fertility explains why the Agricultural Council of America has named March 21, often the first day of spring, as "National Agriculture Day." But how much do you really know about farming? In honor of the equinox, Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings is here to plant some seeds of knowledge among your weeds of agricultural ignorance.
The Debunker: Was Daylight Saving Time Instituted for Farmers?
Okay, first of all, it's not "daylight savings time." It's "daylight saving time," singular, according to the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which standardized the summertime clock shift in the United States. (Other countries mostly call it "summer time.") And Benjamin Franklin didn't invent it. He did write a 1784 essay called "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light" for The Journal of Paris, noting that it was a waste of time to sleep through so much morning daylight in the summer—so why not take his trademark "early to bed, early to rise" advice and kick it up a notch? But (a) he was just joking around, and (b) he was proposing getting people out of bed earlier, not actually changing all the clocks. Serious talk about springing forward and falling back was still a century away.