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Good Riddance: Human Creations the World Would Be Better Off Without

Our highly selective list includes Teflon, dropped calls and the space shuttle

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Daylight Savings Time  The extra hour of sunshine comes at a steep price

Daylight savings time has marginally scientific origins: its inventor, New Zealand naturalist George Vernon Hudson, published two papers in the late 19th century arguing for a seasonal two-hour clock shift to “more fully utilize the long days of summer.” The primary appeal, though, has always been to save on energy costs, because extra daylight in the evening reduces the need for lighting. Germany instituted Sommerzeit (“summertime”) as a means to save coal during wartime, and by 1918 Europe, Russia and the U.S. had all followed suit. Clocks went back to normal in peacetime, until daylight savings was temporarily mandated again during World War II. In 1966 the U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, the first nonwartime implementation of the practice (although, technically, each state could decide whether to go along); daylight savings has since been extended as a response to energy shocks such as the oil embargo of the 1970s.

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