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Why Arizona opts out of daylight saving time

March 8, 2018

Who needs an extra hour of heat in the Sonoran desert? ASU professor explains state's history with turning the clock

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. Read more top stories from 2018 here.

Daylight saving time is right around the corner, and it's time to set those alarm clocks and watches forward again … Er, wait. Arizona doesn’t do have to do that. And neither does Hawaii.

The Copper State’s independence from the annual time change started 50 years ago. Multiple theories abound as to why: More daylight meant more heat and less sleep. It also meant soaring energy bills for businesses and schools, or anyone who owned an air-conditioning unit.

To get to the truth, ASU Now asked Calvin Schermerhorn, a history professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, why Arizona is one of two states that do not participate in this century-old practice.

Man in stripped tie

Calvin Schermerhorn

Question: When was daylight saving time established and why?

Answer: The Standard Time Act of 1918 included a provision for daylight saving time. Daylight saving time was meant to save fuel during World War I by extending the day by one hour. The law was repealed in 1919, but Arizona participated in daylight saving for a few more years. At the time, some far western counties observed Pacific Time while most of the state remained on Mountain Time. A World War II measure briefly put the state again on daylight saving, again to save fuel. But Congress standardized time zones with the Uniform Time Act of 1966. It let states opt out, but Arizona adopted daylight saving time from April to October 1967. And then it refused to participate since.

Q: Why did Arizona stop participating?

A: Arizona participated in daylight saving time in 1967, but energy consumption soared. In most of the country, an extra hour of daylight supposedly saved fuel used to heat and light buildings. But in most of the state, the scheme worked in reverse: air conditioners had to run longer. Businesses and schools paid more, farmers did not benefit, and parents also resented an extra hour of scorching sunlight for kids since the saving lengthened the hot afternoon. There were some supporters in finance and interstate or international business who preferred tighter syncing with markets (who pointed out) the logistical problems of moving Arizona back and forth relative to daylight saving. Outdoor entertainment and recreation establishments like daylight saving since it extends the time one can play golf. Crime appears to go down too, with more daylight. But since Arizona stopped participating in 1967, the Copper State is officially on Mountain Standard Time year round.

Q: Given Arizona’s non-participation, has it served the state well given the shorter winter days and long summer nights?

A: Yes, non-participation makes sense for most of the population living in the Sonoran and other desert environments. Simply put, it’s more eco-friendly in terms of power usage to start the day earlier rather than later. Businesses, schools and vehicles require more energy consumption to air-condition spaces. As the experience of a half-century ago illustrates, most of the population prefers it that way too. And Arizona is not running afoul of any laws since federal legislation allows states to opt out.

Q: Somehow it doesn’t seem neighborly that Arizona is the only state that doesn’t honor daylight saving time. Does the state receive complaints as a result or have you ever heard of any?

A: Both Hawaii and Arizona opt out. Other U.S. territories do as well, like Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. Arizona’s non-participation is a badge of honor for a place reputed to be fiercely independent. But it still causes problems for anyone doing business or scheduling across time zones. FaceTiming the grandparents on the East Coast? We’ll have to make sure it’s a two-hour and not a three-hour difference. And you’ll have to adjust your car’s clock when it wants to switch to Pacific Daylight Time going over the Colorado River.

Q: Does everyone in Arizona opt out?

A: No, the Navajo Nation in Arizona participates in daylight saving, which applies to most of the northeast corner of the state, keeping in sync with the neighboring parts of the Navajo Nation in Utah and New Mexico. But since U.S. authorities in Arizona follow the state’s non-participation, government offices in the Navajo Nation operate on Mountain Standard Time while Navajos observe Mountain Daylight Time. Making things more confusing still, the Hopi Nation, surrounded by the Navajo Nation, does not observe daylight savings. So, driving from Flagstaff to Kykotsmovi Village one would have to change the clock twice, once driving into the Navajo Nation and then into the Hopi Nation. And don’t ask a police officer for the time unless you know where you are.

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ASU students empower women with at-home health test

ASU students look to improve women's health care with at-home Pap smear test.
March 8, 2018

Industrial designers use ingenuity to create more effective vision of future of women’s health care; product heads to national show

In the wake of the flagship Women’s March in January 2017 and the bombshell #MeToo movement that followed in October, women’s issues have experienced a resurgence in society’s collective consciousness.

Hoping to keep the needle moving in the right direction, recent Arizona State University industrial design graduate Lauren Emmerson and current senior Anastasia Miller created Domi Care"Domi" is Latin for "home.", an at-home Pap smear test designed to reduce anxiety associated with the procedure and give women more control over their health without interfering with their work or social life.

“Watching all the women’s marches made us think a lot about the future of women’s health care and reproductive rights,” Miller said. “We wanted to create a product that allows women to have more bodily autonomy and still get the care they need.”

Anastasia Miller

Domi Care was recently awarded first place in the International Housewares Association Student Design Competition. As part of their prize, Miller and Emmerson received $2,500 for their design and an all-expenses-paid trip to the International Home and Housewares Show, taking place March 10–13 in Chicago. There, they will have the opportunity to present their product to 60,000 visitors from more than 125 countries, which could lead to a job in industrial design or the licensing of their product concept.

With Domi Care, women can perform a Pap smear test in the comfort of their own home, and then access the results and dialogue with their doctors through the Domi Care app. All they have to do is order the kit, then when it arrives, take a self-sample — which is a similar experience to using a tampon — then pack it back up and mail it to their doctor.

Lauren Emmerson

They can keep track of the progress of their test with the Domi Care app, which will give them updates along the way to let them know when the lab received their test and when the results are in, as well as what those results are. Throughout that time, they can also use the app to ask questions and talk to their doctor about any concerns.

Professor Mary Margaret Fonow of ASU’s School of Social Transformation studies transnational labor activism, women and work in the global economy and feminist methodology. She is glad to see Miller and Emmerson’s success with Domi Care, especially considering industrial design is a relatively new field for women, and said it shows what can happen when women have a place at the table.

“Innovative ideas relevant to women's lives and experiences have a better chance of coming to the foreground,” she said. “We thrive as a society when all are included.”

Similar at-home tests already exist in Europe but, Miller and Emmerson said, they’re much less user-friendly. They wanted to create a product that was not only easy to use but accurate. That required a lot of research and testing.

“Research was a pretty important part of informing our decision process,” Miller said. “Especially with industrial design, the program at ASU really emphasizes research in the curriculum, and that’s something that’s also true in the industry.”

She and Emmerson started out by conducting group interviews in which they asked women about their experiences with Pap smear tests in order to get a better perspective on the matter and question any assumptions they may have had.

Domi Care at-home pap smear test

With Domi Care, a woman can perform a Pap smear test in the comfort of her own home, and then access the results and dialogue with her doctor through the Domi Care app. Photo courtesy of Lauren Emmerson

One key insight was that women were not as stressed out about the actual exam as they were about waiting for the results. One woman told them about how she received an email late in the day saying there was an issue with her test results and spent the whole night tossing and turning, imagining the worst. As it turned out, the results were inconclusive and her doctor just wanted her to schedule another appointment to take another test.

That in itself can be a challenge, though, because of how many appointments insurance policies will cover per year.

“A lot of people just opt not to do it,” Miller said. “So that was an area where we really saw an opportunity.”

“With Domi Care, if you’re ever unsure of the test results, you can have an actual dialogue with your physician through the app,” Emmerson added. “And if necessary, you can always just order another test.”

The pair tested a variety of designs, taking into account users’ different body types and needs. They wanted a product women would be familiar with and not afraid to use, which would both reduce stress and instances of user error; that’s how they landed on the tampon-like design.

“A lot of key differentiators between our product and ones that already exist have to do with the research we conducted,” Emmerson said.

They already have a patent pending, so the next step is to license Domi Care, something they hope to do at the upcoming showcase.

“It’s been a very emotional time for a lot of people,” Emmerson said. “There’s a lot of fear and a lot of concern about what the future of women’s health care is going to look like. This was one way for us to feel like we could actually do something about it.”

Top photo: Domi Care prototype. Photo courtesy of Lauren Emmerson