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Q&A: Daylight saving time, Russia, the 1 percent

Why we spring ahead

Why do we change to daylight- saving time in the United States before spring actually begins, whereas in Europe they do it 10 days after? Are we more advanced in our calculations?

The start of daylight saving time (DST) in the United States was moved up about one month as part of the 2005 Energy Policy Act. That extended DST from early March to late October, instead of early April to late October. One of the purposes of extending DST was to cut energy usage, figuring that if days are longer, Americans will use less power to light their houses at night. Researchers have found, however, that longer days have increased the demands on cooling homes during summer months.

Michael Downing (michaeldowningbooks.com), an author and lecturer at Tufts University who wrote Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Americans also spend more on fuel because the days are longer. That results in a $1 billion boost in sales each year, mostly from fuel sales, for the nation's convenience stores.

"We get in our cars and drive, increasing the demand for gasoline," he said. DST in the United States begins two weeks to about one month before DST in Europe. This year, DST began on March 9 here, and March 30 in Europe. "We can thank the retail lobby for the new dates, which put us out of sync with every other daylight saving nation in the Northern Hemisphere but Canada," Downing wrote.

Russia's real name

What is the Russian Federation? Who are its members?

The Russian Federation is the formal name of Russia. It comprises 46 provinces, which have an elected governor and legislature, 22 republics, which generally are for certain minority groups and can establish their own constitutions and language, nine territories, four autonomous districts and three federal cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sevastopol). Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last month and assigned it federal republic status, but the United Nations continues to view Crimea as part of Ukraine, not Russia.

Making the 1 percent

What is the amount of income, or net worth, necessary to be considered one of the 1 percent in the United States?

The top 1 percent in the U.S. had a pretax income above $394,000 in 2012, according to an analysis of Internal Revenue Service figures dating to 1913 by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics and Oxford University. The Associated Press reported that the top 1 percent earned "more than 19 percent of the country's household income last year — their biggest share since 1928, the year before the stock market crash."

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email answers@tampabay.com.

Q&A: Daylight saving time, Russia, the 1 percent 04/17/14 [Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2014 11:35am]
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