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Bright lights warm dark nights

We’re still a couple weeks from winter solstice, the day with the least sunlight for us in the Northern Hemisphere. But we’re already enjoying later sunsets one day to the next. Wednesday the 7th, old Sol sunk beneath Annapolis’s southwest horizon at 37 seconds past 4:43, the earliest sunset of the year. By the solstice December 21, the sun sets more than two and a-half minutes later at 4:47:03.
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Hang a gift on the National Zoo’s Enrichment Giving Tree

Grateful for the wild things that enrich your world? Choose a wild gift from the Animal Enrichment Wish List to hang on the Smithsonian National Zoo’s Enrichment Giving Tree.
    Speaking for the animals, zookeepers and researchers have asked for toenail clippers, bubble machines, natural-colored feather dusters and shower radios with CD players.
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A Christmas tale for the iPod generation

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring as a spaceship arrived.
    Wait. Is that how the story goes?
    In Arthur Christmas, a charming if not brilliant update on the story of Santa Claus, St. Nick is driven more by a palm pilot than eight tiny reindeer.
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Bringing home the fish on a captain’s holiday

With winter approaching and their businesses winding down, Chesapeake fishing guides Frank Tuma and Tom Hughes finally had a few days off. Of course they decided to go fishing, and they invited me and my friend Maurice Klein to join them.
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How to buy and keep a fresh, fire-safe tree

The best way to purchase a Christmas tree from a corner lot is to buy as soon as the tree lot opens. The longer you wait to purchase that tree, the more water it will lose and the more likely it will become a fire hazard.
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The Volvo Ocean Race isn’t the only high-profile sailing event

The Volvo Ocean Race is an around-the-world marathon showcasing 70-foot high-tech sailing machines. Precise rules govern boat and sail design, making each boat similar. It takes the racers nine months to sail the globe, with extended stops in eight ports. The boats are sponsored by syndicates that hire the world’s finest sailors to ride these carbon-fiber, sail-powered rockets. It costs about $100 million to play that game....

Volunteers take flight each year so that isolated Tangier Island has a green Christmas

The miracle of flight has long been Santa’s secret to guaranteed overnight delivery, but sometimes the reindeer need a break. During the pre-Christmas rush they’re in demand everywhere, including some pretty remote locales....

Answer that December call with the Parade of Lights and the Volvo Ocean Race

Like you, we’re playing carols, stringing lights and decorating the Christmas tree. (Practicing what the Bay Gardener preaches, we sawed a fire-safe Canaan fir at his Upakrik Farm, plunged it into a bucket of 100-degree water and stored it in the shade before it came inside.)
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Make the first gift to yourself by savoring the Season’s Bounty as you shop.

If you’re one of those people who love to shop, you can stop reading now and go wrap some presents.    
    But if it takes eight crazed reindeer to drag you to the store during the holidays, this story is for you.
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Ancient lava and endless impacts color our natural satellite

No doubt you’ve noticed the blazing light high in the east at sunset. The planet Jupiter rules over the rising stars of autumn and blazes until the wee hours before dawn. By 9pm it is a little to the south of the sky’s zenith; by 1am, Old Jove is high above the west horizon until finally setting in the northwest around 4am.
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