20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Time

LeeAundra Temescu, DISCOVER:

1. “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so,” joked Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Scientists aren’t laughing, though. Some speculative new physics theories suggest that time emerges from a more fundamental—and timeless—reality.

2. Try explaining that when you get to work late. The average U.S. city commuter loses 38 hours a year to traffic delays.

3. Wonder why you have to set your clock ahead in March? Daylight Saving Time began as a joke by Benjamin Franklin, who proposed waking people earlier on bright summer mornings so they might work more during the day and thus save candles. It was introduced in the UK in 1917 and then spread around the world.

4. Green days. The Department of Energy estimates that electricity demand drops by 0.5 percent during Daylight Saving Time, saving the equivalent of nearly 3 million barrels of oil.

5. By observing how quickly bank tellers made change, pedestrians walked, and postal clerks spoke, psychologists determined that the three fastest-paced U.S. cities are Boston, Buffalo, and New York.

6. The three slowest? Shreveport, Sacramento, and LA.

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