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Adding leap second this year expected to cause Internet problems

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Posted January 7, 2015

Officials at the International Earth Rotation Service have announced that a leap second will be added to the year this summer to allow for syncing up atomic clock time with the Earth’s rotational time. The announcement has made many Internet sites nervous, as adding leap seconds in the past has caused problems with services such as Foursquare, Reddit, Linkedln and Yelp—all reported incidents due to the sudden time discrepancy the last time a leap second was added back in 2012.

The advent of computers and the Internet has caused a need for ever more precise time measurement and scientists have responded—atomic clocks are the standard now with accuracy up to quadrillionths of a second. Unfortunately, the spin of the Earth on its axis, which of course is the original source for recording the passage of time—one spin equals one day—is slowing down, losing approximately two thousandths of a second every day. That means that atomic clocks and true Earth time must be reconciled every so often—it has happened 25 times since it became necessary back in 1975. But back then, adding leap seconds went virtually unnoticed by all but the most interested.

Read more at: Phys.org

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