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NPR Story
8:57 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Wait Just A Second, And Other Things To Do With It

Every few years, official clocks around the world repeat a second. It's not much, but in an age of atomic clocks, it's time enough to give the matter a second thought.
Uwe Merkel iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 8:57 am

Let me take a second here.

Not very long, was it?

But a second tied up delegates to the UN's International Telecommunication Union, who postponed a decision this week on whether to abolish the extra second that's added to clocks every few years to compensate for the earth's natural doddering.

The earth slows down slightly as we spin through space. No one falls off, but earthquakes and tides routinely slow the earth by a fraction of a fraction of a second, which makes clocks minutely wrong. If not corrected, it could make a minute of difference a century.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Remembrance: 1912 South Pole Trip Ends Tragically

One hundred years ago this week, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole with a small crew of men. They all perished on the return trip. In 2008 on Weekend Edition, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reported from the South Pole on Scott's tragic journey. To mark the 100th anniversary, we reprise that story.

From Our Listeners
7:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Your Letters: 'Information Diet'; Legal Karaoke

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF TYPING AND MUSIC)

SIMON: Last week, we spoke with Clay Johnson, an open-source advocate and digital strategist, about his new book, "The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption."

CLAY JOHNSON: You know, our minds are really wired to be affirmed and to be told that we're right. And that's the central premise of "The Information Diet." It's really, who wants to hear the truth when they can hear that they're right?

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Tsunami Debris Washes Ashore On Washington Shores

Debris from the tsunami that hit Japan last March is just now starting to show up on the far northwestern shores of the U.S. Some fishermen are worried the floats and other rubble may tangle their nets and affect their livelihood. Ashley Ahearn of the public media collaboration EarthFix headed out to Washington State's Olympic Peninsula to see what's coming ashore.

Author Interviews
5:01 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Lesson Learned: Don't Fly To North Pole In A Balloon

Knopf

In the late 19th century, scores of celebrated, valorous explorers attempted to reach the North Pole. Groups of explorers from the U.S., Europe and Scandinavia invented clever new equipment, raised money, stirred national pride and enthralled the world by attempting to march, sail or sled to the most cold, remote and unseen place on Earth.

But it was a perilous business: Of the 1,000 people who tried to reach the North Pole in the late 1800s, 751 died during their attempt, author Alec Wilkinson tells NPR's Scott Simon.

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