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.
The race for the 2012 Republican presidential campaign has been anything but predictable.
It's been the first contest in memory, for instance, with a candidate, Mitt Romney, who was reputedly the inevitable nominee but so suspect in many Republicans' eyes that they kept searching for an alternative. That has led to nearly every candidate in the crowded field, at one time or another, challenging for frontrunner status.
The final results for Egypt's parliamentary elections are in, and while there are no surprises, the Muslim Brotherhood exceeded expectations by capturing 47 percent of the vote.
The final election results were read out Saturday with little ceremony, but the final tally cemented what most people in Egypt already know: Islamist groups are the new political powerhouse in post-revolutionary Egypt.
The farm-to-table philosophy has been mostly about knowing where food was grown. For meat, that meant knowing if your chickens were caged and if your beef was grass fed.
But with the revival of the butcher shop, some young people are undertaking the largely lost art of butchering as a stronger way to connect with their food.
For 24-year-old Andrew Plotsky of Washington, D.C., that meant leaving his job as a barista in a snobby coffee shop to learn the process of raising an animal, slaughtering it and butchering it for a meal.
Nigeria is again gripped by deadly religious violence. Friday night, a coordinated series of bomb and gun attacks ripped through the largest city in the nation's Muslim north. The attacks were claimed by a militant sect that seeks to impose Islamic law in Nigeria. Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton.
Conference championship Sunday is almost as big as the Super Bowl, but without all those distracting halftime wardrobe malfunctions. Host Scott Simon is joined by NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman to discuss the upcoming games.
Under current law, candidates' campaigns are not allowed to coordinate with superPACs, although they clearly benefit from their messages. As result, candidates have performed feats of verbal gymnastics in order to talk about them. Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR's Peter Overby about the role of superPACs in the presidential race.
Police have closed down dozens of toy shops for selling Barbie dolls in Iran, part of a decades-long crackdown against "manifestations of Western culture." Host Scott Simon looks at what's being called a "cultural Trojan horse."
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.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon, and the polls are open in South Carolina; first southern state to hold a primary in the race for the Republican presidential nomination of 2012, the stakes are critical. The state has picked the eventual nominee in every year since 1980, and it's sure been a turbulent week with Rick Perry dropping out, Iowa declaring Rick Santorum the winner of its caucuses and Newt Gingrich closing in on Mitt Romney.
Clemson University political scientist Dave Woodard has spent the past week polling South Carolina voters ahead of Saturday's primary. Host Scott Simon talks to the former Republican political consultant about South Carolina politics and the results of his Palmetto Poll.
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.
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?
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.
The Justice Department's massive copyright case against the file-sharing website Megaupload.com had the Internet world hopping this week. But it also got lawyers talking, about the scope of a criminal investigation that spanned eight countries and the hard-nosed tactics that the government deployed.
Rick Santorum is officially the winner of the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican presidential caucus. The state Republican Party reversed itself from a previous assertion that it would not declare one, given problems at eight precincts, as The Des Moines Register reported.
In a news release late Friday, the party said it called the race "in order to clarify conflicting reports and to affirm the results released Jan. 18 by the Republican Party of Iowa."
When the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI shut down the web site Megaupload yesterday, there were many responses, from outrage to confusion to applause, and nearly as many questions. One that stood out was simple: If Megaupload provides a service that can be used for legal pursuits, are they legally responsible for the users who use it to illegally share copyrighted material?
The album Little Spark evokes a sound you might have heard 40 years ago, piercing through the static of your AM radio. The big string sections and angelic choruses are all there, echoing the hallmarks of classic orchestral pop. But Little Spark is the work of a modern singer-songwriter named Jessie Baylin.
Javier Sicilia is a novelist and a poet. In 2009, he was awarded Mexico's prestigious Aguascalientes National Poetry Prize. This September, he read a poem dedicated to his son, Juan Francisco, at a rally:
Despite a furious lobbying effort by the Catholic Church, the Obama administration today said it won't weaken new rules that will require most health insurance plans to offer women prescription contraceptives at no additional out-of-pocket cost.
Saturday's South Carolina Republican primary may be the last good chance for Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's challengers to stop his march to the nomination. Every election year since 1980, the winner of South Carolina's Republican primary has gone on to win the nomination.
Food is getting elbowed out of the discussion on climate change, which could spell disaster for the 1 billion people who will be added to the world's population in the next 15 years. That's the word today from scientists wondering why food and sustainability get such short shrift when it comes to thinking about how humans will adapt to climate change.
If you're seriously into reading, chances are, if you're not a nerd, then you've at least got some nerdy DNA somewhere in your intellectual genome. I know I do. But as a reader I sometimes feel like I'm being asked to identify with a hero who isn't nearly geeky enough — a hero with uncorrected vision and excellent orthodontics and really good hair. Sure, he's nice, but I doubt I would have wanted to sit at his table in the cafeteria in high school.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, one of the Tea Party's early superstars, has seen her approval ratings fall, and some of her core supporters are baffled by Haley's endorsement of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Haley won election in 2010 as a true fiscal conservative, capturing the endorsement of Sarah Palin, who said Haley was willing to challenge the good old boys of the state's politics.
Federal judges have been getting hammered pretty hard in this Republican presidential campaign.
Rick Santorum has joked about banishing liberal, federal judges to Guam. Erstwhile candidate Rick Perry has been a longtime advocate for states' rights, calling himself a "tenth amendment believing governor." And Newt Gingrich has repeatedly criticized the country's judicial system, targeting what he calls quote "activist judges."