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As a kid, you spent countless hours listening to shortwave radio: late nights, headphones, your darkened bedroom lit by the dial glow of a US Army surplus receiver.

 

Shortwave radio was the original World Wide Web, and you surfed the airwaves to hear news, music, and ideas from faraway stations like Radio Moscow, Radio Netherlands, and the BBC.

 

At the top of an hour, you'd often tune to the BBC just to hear its famous identification music, after which would come a series of tones and an announcement: "BBC World Service. It's zero-five-hundred hours Greenwich Mean Time."

 

What was Greenwich Mean Time? What was the Prime Meridian? Who decided it would be in Greenwich? Those questions fueled a lifelong interest in horology. Decades later, on a day in May, you visited an observatory high on a hill: the place where time begins.

 

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Taken on May 8, 2007