Archive for December, 2005

2006 Postponed by One (Leap) Second

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 29, 2005   View Article

For those of you counting the seconds until 2006, add one.

The world’s top timekeepers will insert an extra second—or leap second—just before midnight in coordinated universal time (UTC) on New Year’s Eve. (That’s the same as 6:59:59 p.m. eastern time on December 31.) UTC is determined by atomic clocks and is five hours ahead of eastern time.

“War on Christmas” Echoes Past Debates, Expert Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 23, 2005   View Article

Is political correctness killing the Christmas spirit? Some say yes. Others disagree.

Whatever you believe, Vaughn Bryant, an anthropologist at Texas A&M University in College Station, says the current debate deserves historical context.

“It seems like we are reverting back to the days when Christians were trying to abolish Christmas,” Bryant said.

Tsunami Raved Communities Focus on Sustainable Recovery

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 22, 2005   View Article

A year since the December 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami, aid groups are shifting their focus from immediate relief efforts to helping locals build self-sustaining communities that are better prepared for future disasters.

The effort is a delicate balancing act between helping people meet their day-to-day needs and restoring and protecting the ecosystems required to sustain communities for decades to come.

Is Tsunami Threat to U.S. West Coast Bigger Than Predicted?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 21, 2005   View Article

A major earthquake off the U.S. West Coast could produce tsunami waves that send water surging up the coast to much greater heights than previously anticipated, according to scientists.

The finding stems from information gathered during a research expedition to the seafloor near the epicenter of the earthquake that caused the December 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami.

Revelers Revive African-American Holiday of Jonkonnu

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 16, 2005   View Article

For a few nights each December, revelers dressed in furs and rags lend a festive air to New Bern, North Carolina, as they celebrate the African- American holiday of Jonkonnu.

Jonkonnu is a festival with roots in Caribbean, West African, and English traditions, originally celebrated in the U.S. by African Americans in the 19th century.

Power Lines May Make a New Kind of Buzz – As Home for Bees

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 14, 2005   View Article

If Kimberly Russell’s vision pans out, the millions of acres of land that lie under electric power lines across the United States will come to life with the buzz of busy bees.

Russell studies insects and spiders at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Her research shows that bees take refuge under power lines when utility companies allow the land there to grow shrubs and flowers.

Oldest Known Maya Mural, Tomb Reveal Story of Ancient King

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 13, 2005   View Article

Archaeologists today revealed the final section of the earliest known Maya mural ever found, saying that the find upends everything they thought they knew about the origins of Maya art, writing, and rule.

The painting was the last wall of a room-size mural to be excavated. The site was discovered in 2001 at the ancient Maya city of San Bartolo in the lowlands of northeastern Guatemala.

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