Friday, December 31, 2010

Awaken on Wake?

Morning Edition's  Travis Larchuk closes the year with a geographic puzzle that started with a Nantucket Nectars bottle cap. The trivium inside the cap indicated that Sconset Beach in Nantucket witnesses the first sunrise of each year in the United States, and Larchuk decided to investigate the validity of the claim.

He first turned to James Hilton of the U.S. Naval Observatory, which is the official time-keeping authority for the United States. Hilton said that it is a question that mixes "science with sociology," by which he means, of course, that it is a GEOGRAPHY question, though the word is never used in the report.

The answer involves physical geography questions related to elevation and atmospheric conditions as well as human geography questions related to the status of states, territories, and outposts.

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