Friday, December 30, 2005

What will you do with your extra second this year?

Because the world is running down we need to adjust our clocks to keep pace with the Earth. It turns out that atomic clocks are more accurate than the earth is. Though if your intention in using the clock is to know what time of the day it is, then you must synchronize your clock with the earth's motion. This slowing down of the earth is the source of the clever sign on the convenience store in one Futurama episode that says "Open 28 hours".

On New Year's Eve this year those of us in the Eastern Time Zone get an extra second just before 7pm. The clocks will read 6:59:59, then 6:59:60, before moving on to 7pm. I am going to take an extra heartbeat or one twelth of a breath with my extra second.

The best part is that the leap second will be inserted just before 12:00 midnight for the Greenwich time zone. Which will have Londoners at their New Year's Eve party counting down - 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... 1...

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