A giant leap for mankind?

My friend Alan Jones sent a message telling me that the ITU meeting on the redefinition of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which was held in Geneva last month, agreed on a process to phase out leap seconds by 2013.

If you don’t know what leap seconds are, don’t worry. They happen every 18 months or so and you’re unlikely to notice them unless you’re listening to the BBC time ‘pips’ at midnight, when you’ll hear an extra one.

One of the results, if it goes ahead, will be that time-sensitive software will be much easier to write.
Another is that, unless they agree on occasional fixes (leap hours have been proposed in the past), the time shown by sundials and sextants will start to drift, very very slowly, from ‘official’ time…

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1 Comment

After all the years of atomic clocks and such, we’ve decided that we won’t be around long enough for it to matter. Ah well, at least I’ll be able to tell my grandkids about how the world is off by a day.


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