Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Leap second today

I made the following program note in the middle of A drink for Father's Day on the Summer Solstice.
Normally, today is called "the longest day of the year."  That isn't strictly true.
While we say longest “day” in regards to Sunday, the 24-hour period known as a day won’t be any longer.

The longest actual “day” or 24-hour period of the year will actually be June 30th, during the leap second.  A full second has to be added to clocks to keep everything (atomic clocks, etc.) in synch with earth’s slowing rotation.  That’s truly the longest “day” for a while.
I'll see if I remember that factoid for the final entry of June.
I remembered!  Now follow over the jump for videos from TomoNews US and HBO's Last Week Tonight about tonight's leap second.

To explain the day, the normally funny animators of TomoNews US play it straight in Leap second: June will be one second longer this year, problems with Linux, Java expected.

The world is preparing to add a leap second at the end of June to synchronize the world's clocks with the Earth's rotation. The leap second was scheduled by the Paris Observatory to compensate for the slowing of the Earth's rotation on June 30, when clock dials will read 23:59:60 to synchronize atomic time with the Earth's rotation.

The leap second was first introduced in 1972 and it has been used 25 times since then. The most recent leap second was added in 2012, when several websites including including Reddit, Yelp and Linkedin reported crashes and problems with the Linux operating system and programs written in Java.
Enough seriousness.  For the humorous take I was expecting from TomoNews US, I present Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Leap Second.

On June 30th, scientists are adding an extra second to atomic clocks. How will you spend yours?
The original answer was going to be "sleeping" if the leap second were added just before Midnight local time.  Instead, it was added just before this entry posted, so the answer will likely be "watching television with my wife."  How did you spend yours?

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