Big Tech, Meta, Earth's rotational timing, record short days, leap seconds
Photo credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to

As Earth Spins Faster, Meta Joins Fight Against Leap Seconds (Maria)

The author writes, “Meta recently joined the ranks of tech giants calling for the end of the leap second, the fascinatingly complex way humans account for tiny changes in the Earth’s rotation timing. The owner of Facebook and Instagram adds to a chorus that’s been growing for years, and the debate could come to a head at a global conference in 2023 — or even sooner if the Earth keeps having record-short days.. … At midnight on the designated day,  clocks are set to tick from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 to 00:00:00. That uncommon middle timestamp drives coordinated systems bonkers.” 

Study Finds Wikipedia Influences Judicial Behavior (Dana)

From MIT News: “Mixed appraisals of one of the internet’s major resources, Wikipedia, are reflected in the slightly dystopian article ‘List of Wikipedia Scandals.’ Yet billions of users routinely flock to the online, anonymously editable, encyclopedic knowledge bank for just about everything. How this unauthoritative source influences our discourse and decisions is hard to reliably trace. But a new study attempts to measure how knowledge gleaned from Wikipedia may play out in one specific realm: the courts.”

Why Expensive Gasoline Is Here to Stay (Sean)

From Politico: “The political pain that high gasoline prices have inflicted on President Joe Biden offers a potential warning to future presidents: It’s likely to happen to you, too. The reason: The United States’ capacity for refining oil into gasoline is declining, a trend that appears irreversible — for reasons that include climate change. But the nation’s appetite for fuel is holding firm, no matter all the predictions of a future filled with electric cars.”

The Country That Wants to ‘Be Average’ vs. Jeff Bezos and His $500 Million Yacht (Russ)

The author writes, “Why did Rotterdam stand between one of the world’s richest men and his boat? The furious response is rooted in Dutch values.”

The Race to Reclaim the Dark (Mili)

The author writes, “Founded in Arizona in 1988, the [International Dark-Sky Association] was set up by two astronomers to protect night environments from skyglow — excessive, artificial light directed upwards into the sky. Globally, light pollution has increased by at least 49% over 25 years. Amidst mounting concern from ecologists and astronomers in the 1980s, the IDA was the first recognized authority in the dark sky movement, and remains the largest today.”

Why a Sacramento-Area Restaurant Owner Brought in a Priest to Talk to His Workers (Reader Steve)

From The Sacramento Bee: “Last November, a few weeks after the U.S. Department of Labor had notified owners of Taqueria Garibaldi restaurants in the Sacramento area that it had evidence of overtime and record-keeping violations, one of the chain’s owners showed up at the Howe Avenue eatery with a priest, the government says. Eduardo Hernandez and the priest walked in during the afternoon shift and asked workers if they wanted to take time out of their day to take confession, according to Labor Department officials.”

Scientists Find Clues About Decapitated Egyptian Mummy Head Found in Attic (Mili)

The author writes, “The decapitated head of an ancient Egyptian mummy found in an attic in Kent, England, has been put under a CT scan, revealing it belonged to a woman that lived at least 2,000 years ago. The head is believed to have been brought back from Egypt as a souvenir in the 19th century, researchers from Canterbury Christ Church University said.”


Comments are closed.