Tuesday 28 February 2017

Not enough time in the day? Here's an extra second to play around with

Techies fear 'leap second' will cause mayhem for internet

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Clocks showing the time of various international major cities (Photo by Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images)
Clocks showing the time of various international major cities (Photo by Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images)

Think there's not enough time in the day? Well tomorrow you will have get an extra second to play around with as the world clocks gain an additional tick (or indeed tock).

At 23:59:59 on June 30, a 'leap second' will be added to year's initial 31,536,000 seconds in a bid to compensate for the slowing down of the Earth's rotation.

But while making the day that little bit longer sounds rather insignificant to many of us, scientists have warned that the amendment may cause mayhem for global internet systems.

Professor Shane Bergin from the School of Physics at Trinity said the extra second does have practical implications.

“A lot of people who work with technology, like internet sites, are worried about having the same moment in time twice because the system may think time has gone backwards,” he told RTE Radio One’s Morning Ireland.

“A lot of internet providers are worried about the effect this will have.

“Google here in Dublin have come up with a clever solution. Instead of having a leap second, they’re smudging the effect of this second over the entire year so the system doesn’t feel the effect of it.”

Atomic time, which uses the vibrations of atoms as a measurement, is used as the most reliable and consistent way of keeping time.

To keep this time in parallel with the Earth's time (which has slowed ever so slightly) , we need to jump our clocks back.

No excuses for being late for work so.

This phenomenon is by no means new, however, as this is the 26th time since 1972 that a leap second has been added to our clocks.

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