Why do we have daylight saving time?

By Yvonne Nachtigal

Having advanced our clocks an hour on Sunday, most of us are a bit groggier and crankier than normal this week. The question arises, “why on earth do we do this?”

Benjamin Franklin is popularly credited with daylight saving time (DST), but that is a myth. What Franklin did was note that Parisians, who, he maintained, wasted half their day sleeping, would save money on candles and better utilize daylight by going “early to bed and early to rise.”

Our elementary school teachers told us that the idea of “maximizing daylight” was to help farmers and lower the nation’s electricity usage. But, historically, farmers and the agricultural industry have been the only ones who have lobbied against the plan because it left them with less sunlight to get their crops to market. As one farmer noted, Continue reading

Should we unplug for 24 hours?

By Yvonne Nachtigal

In answer to our technologically hyperconnected culture, a new holiday appeared on the calendar last year. The second Friday in March, (March 9 – 10) marks the National Day of Unplugging. The website, NationalDayofUnplugging.com, lists supporters as CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Hillel International, Moishe House, Virgin Records, Mashable and others.

According to the website, the holiday is a “24-hour period from sundown to sundown, to unplug, unwind, relax and do things other than using today’s technology, electronics, and social media and to connect with people, not screens.”

According to the website DaysoftheYear.com, which promotes the holiday, “The National Day of Unplugging was created by Reboot, a nonprofit Jewish community. However, you do not need to be Jewish, or even religious at all to participate.” Reboot’s website, rebooter.net, explains that the holiday is an outgrowth of the “Sabbath Manifesto.” The Sabbath Manifesto describes itself as “a creative project designed to slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world.” Continue reading

Why is there a lack of “school spirit?”

By Yvonne Nachtigal

Homecoming was cancelled this spring due to a reported lack of enthusiasm and turnout – a lack of school “spirit.” One explanation for this is simply the nature of community college, which is a temporary stop-over on the way to four-year schools with dorms and a greater sense of permanence and belonging.

But there is a lack of enthusiasm that seems to be over-arching not only community colleges, but young people in general. It is not only seen in lack of school spirit, but in an increasing moral, intellectual, and spiritual indifference.

While some are more aware of it than others, tradition, culture and family in America is rapidly being transformed. Knowledge has been replaced by a quick Google search and meaning has taken a back seat to happiness. Continue reading

When does an opinion become a judgment?

By Yvonne Nachtigal

Unity week at Vol State featured an art exhibit about racial inequality, a documentary about civil rights, food from other cultures, an interfaith dialogue, and a training session to better understand different lifestyles. Last semester the school invited special guests like Wulin Hunyan and the Paul Brock Band for a multi-cultural experience. “Diversity” is a prevalent word in colleges today. It means to understand and respect the uniqueness of each individual and our differences, whether they be race, ethnicity, gender, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or others. Continue reading

Why do you believe what you believe?

By Yvonne Nachtigal

Faith is an uncomfortable subject for many people. Why is that? We would think that all the talk about diversity would have made talking about faith easier, but even in an atmosphere of tolerance, talking about a person’s religion or belief system tends to cause defensiveness. I think that is because it opens them to the possibility that positions held throughout their lifetime may be weak, which would shake the very foundation of who they are. Be it faith in God, Jesus, Allah, Krishna, or the belief that empirical science has all the answers, people do not want their worldview messed with. Still, the inevitability of our eventual demise is a compelling reason to give the object of our faith some serious thought. Continue reading