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.”
“I married a Lebanese-American “Badger” who holds two degrees from the UW and I worked for the university myself for almost 30 years. If you know anything about UW alumni and Lebanese families, you’ll understand why that makes Anthony Shadid and me almost brothers.”—A touching piece on Anthony Shadid by a former colleague (via)