Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

2005 Was Extended By One Second...


You know that awkward moment on New Year's Eve just towards twelve when no one is quite sure exactly when midnight hits? Everyone's looking at their watch nervously and then someone starts loudly counting down from ten and you think, "well it's not quite right by my watch but let's join in anyway". Well, this new year just gone you had slightly more reason to be skeptical of these gun jumpers than normal.

Scientists extended 2005 by one second.

For the first time in seven years the Earth's rotation has necessitated a "leap second". The extra snippet was added to atomic clocks at midnight Coordinated Universal Time - the same as UK winter time. Said clocks read 23:59:60 before rolling over to 00:00:00.

Although leap seconds could, if required, be deducted (a "negative leap second"), they have always been added "reflecting the Earth's general slowing trend due to tidal braking". The decision as to whether a leap second is needed - and the criterion is that universal timekeeping should be within 0.9 seconds of the Earth's rotation - is decided by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service.

Did you notice a bit of extra drinking time this New Year just gone? No, me neither.

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