“Roscoe is pro-stache, but he does not believe Americans should pay for people’s personal grooming decisions.”—Deborah Burrell, chief of staff for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md. The American Mustache Institute had claimed Bartlett supported the ‘Stache Act, which calls for a $250 tax break for facial hair grooming.
“MUSIC, when soft voices die, / Vibrates in the memory. — / ODOURS, when sweet violets sicken, / Live within the sense they quicken. —”—“To…” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Learn more about Shelley’s poetry at Shelley’s Ghost, at the NYPL through June 24.
“Higher tax rates on high earners, even if they produce less revenue, are an attempt to centralize power in government and to limit the autonomy and countervailing power of individuals in the voluntary sector.”—Michael Barone
An extra day. How will you use it? Start by reading our hour-by-hour guide. Here’s a sample:
Feb. 29, 2012, Hour By Hour:
Midnight. Too excited to sleep, you can click on the fascinating site of the Long Now Foundation, timekeepers of the 10,000 Year Clock. Computer wizard Danny Hillis first dreamed up the idea of a massive timepiece that “ticks once a year. The century hand advances once every 100 years and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium.” Cultural explorer Stewart Brand helped organize the foundation — named by musician Brian Eno — that oversees the design and construction. Benefactors include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has handed over $42 million to the project. The first clock is being built in West Texas.
1 a.m. Watch the 30 Rock “Leap Day” episode with timely cameos by Jim Carrey and Andie MacDowell on Hulu.
2 a.m. Check the time on your many, many digital clocks against the Norwegian website Time and Date. “Our website is well-prepared for leap day,” the site’s Konstantin Bikos says. “All our calculators and calendars automatically take it into account — in most cases for all years between 1 and 3999.” While you’re at it, turn off the clocks you don’t need, to reduce your “phantom load” — the power that is being used even though the gadget or appliance is off.
3 a.m. Pay your monthly bills. You have an extra day.
4 a.m. Think about taking the day off. According to the Huffington Post, about 17 percent of respondents to its poll say they are taking off a personal day on leap day. You can also read what other people are planning to do and see the Cheap Sally infographic that provides the skinny on leap years.
5 a.m. Check out alarm clocks on the Web. Type “weird alarm clocks” into Google Images and you will see photos of the glowing pillow alarm clock, the dumbbell alarm clock and the aromatherapeutic alarm clock.
6 a.m. Listen to 11 Great Songs About Time, as recommended by NPR’s own Bob Boilen: “Time Has Come Today” by the Chambers Brothers, “Time” by Pink Floyd, “Arc Of Time” by Bright Eyes, “One Day at a Time” by John Lennon, “Time Is On My Side” by the Rolling Stones, “Syncopated Clock” by Leroy Anderson, “Time of the Season” by the Zombies, “Time Won’t Let Me” by the Outsiders, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” by Chicago, “Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce and “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets.
7 a.m. Throw together some 5-minute bread, 4-minute fudge, a 3-minute egg, 2-minute noodles or a minute steak.
8 a.m. Fix a cup of Eight O’Clock coffee. For more than 150 years, Americans have been drinking this coffee — long before 7-Eleven, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts chimed in. According to the Eight O’Clock website, it was first made available as the house brand for the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company — A&P — in 1859. In 1919, the name was changed to reflect the times of day when most people drank the coffee — 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
9 a.m. Punch the time clock. You can thank Willard Bundy and his brother Harlow for the first time-recording clock for workers. In 1889 they opened a company in Binghamton, N.Y., that eventually morphed into IBM. Today Harlow’s home is the Bundy Museum of History & Art.
10 a.m. Make time for a horologist. And watch out for clockmakers. You can find both on the website of the American Watchmaker-Clockmakers Institute in Ohio. “I have been repairing antique clocks for 30 years and love them,” says Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post writer, comic strip creator and amateur horologist Gene Weingarten. “It’s about history; having your hands inside something that was last opened, maybe, in 1892.”
“There was one neuron in one person that responded only to pictures of Jennifer Aniston – not to Halle Berry, not to Julia Roberts, and one great finding said that this neuron did not respond to pictures of Jennifer Aniston with Brad Pitt. … It would be overstating the case to say this neuron only responds to Jennifer Aniston because the experimenters didn’t have time to show the person all possible celebrities. But it seems safe to say that this neuron responds to only a small fraction of celebrities.”—Today on Fresh Air: understanding the Jennifer Aniston neuron
Had any bystanders witnessed the attack on Duncan Davidson late one evening three years ago, they could never have guessed its epochal significance. It was a February night in Long Beach, California, and Davidson was walking to his hotel after a long day of work. West Ocean Boulevard was unusually dark. The streetlights were out. The sidewalks, thickly over-treed, were invisible from the road. As Davidson made his way through the gloom, a man grabbed him from behind and said, “I need your badge right fucking now!”
Dangling from Davidson’s neck was an all-access staff badge for TED, the four-day ideas conference he had been hired to photograph. TED is best known for its eclectic eighteen-minute talks, videos of which often go viral online, and the expensive and clubby annual event where the talks are given. Davidson was also carrying a backpack containing cameras and lenses worth tens of thousands of dollars, but it went ignored. The man squeezed tighter. “I don’t want to hurt you, but I will,” he warned.
Davidson thought quickly. At this hour, it would be difficult to notify everyone that a violent, credentialed TED impostor was at large. The attendees included famous people like Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Meg Ryan. Davidson told the mugger he couldn’t give him the pass.
“No, you don’t understand,” the man said. “I’ve got to get in there and meet those people.”
“I made the decision,” Davidson recalls, “that I don’t have arms, but I have legs.” With the guy hanging on his back, Davidson dragged himself toward the street. As they reached the curb, the mugger let go and took off running. From behind, Davidson saw that he was a professional-looking man wearing jeans and a light jacket.
The Long Beach Police Department seemed doubtful of Davidson’s description. “The police kept asking,” Davidson remembers. “They didn’t want to believe it was a well-kept white guy. They really thought it had to be an itinerant or gang type. It was cognitive dissonance.” The attack perplexed Davidson too. This was an attempted identity crime the likes of which the world had never seen—the strong-arm theft of an ideas-conference badge—and he was the first victim. “It’s easy to think that money is the currency of the world,” Davidson says, “but there are other currencies.”