Monday, June 29, 2015

Look first, leap second

By +Brad Naylor

You may remember June 30th, 2012 when the scientific universe decreed that an extra second needed to be added to the year to account for the slowing of the earth's rotation around the sun. This Leap Second allowed the hyper accurate atomic clocks which run on International Atomic Time (TAI) to resync with Universal Time (UT1) which is defined by the rotation of the Earth. Well this year, on Tuesday June 30th we are getting another one.

Universal Time is slowing down
Universal Time - A visual representation
At midnight GMT on June 30th, 2015 atomic clocks around the world will add one second to everyone's day. Some of you may not notice since it will happen while you are sleeping, but for those people who are in work at midnight GMT your employer could get an extra second of work out of you for free.
Some companies are compensating their workers with an extra second of personal time, or for those in non-critical positions they will be allowed to stop work for the duration of the leap second. Other businesses will just absorb the extra second into the work day.

The Sony corporation were one of the first companies to track leap seconds and have been allowing employees to accrue leap seconds since they were first introduced in 1972. Some long term Sony workers have earned 25 leap seconds so far and are looking forward to cashing them in at retirement, allowing them to leave their job almost half a minute early on their last day.

To many people the leap second seams inconsequential, but to air traffic controllers, GPS systems, and satellite communications, syncing with the leap second is important to keep planes in the air, cars on the road, and America's Got Talent on TV.

What are your thoughts about the Leap Second? How are you planning on spending your leap second this year? What did you do with your leap second 3 years ago? Is it time to stop messing with the leap seconds and just let them rack up for bigger rewards like a leap minute?  Did you even know that we have leap seconds?

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

UHG!!! I do not remember this in 2012, but is all they keep talking about where I work. It feels like Y2K all over again. I will be so grateful for that extra second of sleep!!!

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