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I can't take 2008 for another second
BffSatan at 7:58PM, Dec. 30, 2008
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joined: 3-2-2008
But I have to.
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/technology/704880/science-holds-new-year-back-by-a-second
Someone
Eager to see the back end of 2008? Be forewarned: the world's official timekeeper has decided to prolong the year - by one full second, to be precise.

Which means a champagne-soaked countdown to 2009 something like this: “… THREE, TWO, ONE-AND-A-HALF, ONE … Happy New Year!”

The extra second was mandated by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) in Paris, and is not to be taken lightly.

Satellites that orbit at speeds calculated in kilometres per second depend on knowing exactly what time it is, as does the internet and global positioning systems.

IERS head Daniel Gambis announced the time-stretching measure in July in a letter addressed to “authorities responsible for the measurement and distribution of time”.

That would be the white-robed guardians of the 200-odd ultra-accurate atomic clocks scattered in national time temples around the globe.

“The last adjustment dates to 2005, and the next could happen in 2012 or 2013,” Gambis said.

Leap days occur once every four years because it takes 365 days plus six hours for our planet to complete an orbit around the Sun.

But leap seconds are added strictly on a case-by-case basis, depending on need. This year's will be the 24th bonus second since the practice was initiated in 1972.

The sleight-of-clock is necessary to reconcile two different time scales.

One is established by the atomic time pieces and the other is based on Earth's imperfect rotation on its own axis.

The two get out of sync because the planet's spin is affected by a host of slightly fluctuating variables, including solar and lunar gravity, the movement of the tides, solar wind, space dust and magnetic storms.

Even global warming has gotten into the act because melting ice caps have an impact too.

And so, at exactly 23:59:59 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) - or Co-ordinated Universal Time (UTC), to the scientifically literate - on December 31 (10:59:59 AEDT on January 1), the world's clocks will add a beat to their metronomic tick tick tock.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:20AM
Product Placement at 8:06PM, Dec. 30, 2008
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joined: 10-18-2007
Meh. It's a well known fact that the leap year system isn't completely perfect. If I remember correctly, Napoleon added few days into one year once. Kinda like a “super” leap year.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:50PM

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