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Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.
June 29, 2012 12:51 PM   Subscribe

After a period of relative stability, another leap second will occur on 2012 June 30 at 23:59:60 UTC. (Previously.) Proposals to decouple UTC from the Earth's irregular rotation (previously, previously) have stalled and the International Telecommunication Union has recently deferred the development of a continuous time standard. So enjoy your extra second while you can!

If you'd like to watch UTC ticking away, the US Naval Observatory Master Clock is your go-to destination (in the US, at least). (Somewhat related previously: Myths programmers believe about time.)
posted by RedOrGreen (41 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Another one? This is why this millenium feels endless.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 12:53 PM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's going to be great to get a little extra time. I've got some blinking I've been meaning to get around to.
posted by cog_nate at 12:54 PM on June 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Interesting fact: if you commit a crime during that second, any crime, it doesn't count.
posted by theodolite at 12:54 PM on June 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'd like to read these articles, but I need a second to get to them.
posted by smirkette at 12:56 PM on June 29, 2012


oh man it's like cheating death itself
posted by neuromodulator at 12:57 PM on June 29, 2012


Does the leap second occur in all time zones at 23:59:60 UTC, or in each individual time zone's 23:59:60?
posted by General Malaise at 12:59 PM on June 29, 2012


I am going to record the second then play it whenever I need extra time.
posted by Cranberry at 12:59 PM on June 29, 2012


THIS IS ALL KINDS OF BULLSHIT!
posted by Fizz at 1:00 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does the leap second occur in all time zones at 23:59:60 UTC, or in each individual time zone's 23:59:60?

I hope it's the latter -- because I like for things to be as abstract as possible.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:01 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


>> Does the leap second occur in all time zones at 23:59:60 UTC, or in each individual time zone's 23:59:60?
> I hope it's the latter -- because I like for things to be as abstract as possible.


Alas, the rule is that it gets added at 23:59:60 UTC, regardless of the local timezone.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:05 PM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


i refuse to participate in this government-enforced futurism
posted by slater at 1:06 PM on June 29, 2012


Wait a second here!
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:07 PM on June 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


So, just to be clear, it happens at 19:59:60 eastern daylight time?

I swear this isn't being timed to celebrate with a one-second-long leap-second shot of high-proof spirit. I promise.
posted by General Malaise at 1:07 PM on June 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


> So, just to be clear, it happens at 19:59:60 eastern daylight time?

Yep, 8 PM US/Eastern on Saturday.

> I swear this isn't being timed to celebrate with a one-second-long leap-second shot of high-proof spirit. I promise.

That certainly wouldn't be the worst use of your extra second...
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:12 PM on June 29, 2012


What's all this leap second hoo-ha? I don't have time for this!
posted by mazola at 1:14 PM on June 29, 2012


FUCKING LIBERALS CONSPIRING TO EXTEND OBAMA'S TERM THIS IS BULLSHIT
posted by xbonesgt at 1:16 PM on June 29, 2012 [24 favorites]


I think we've figured out what's causing the Tom-Kat divorce!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:20 PM on June 29, 2012


I used mine for this post.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:26 PM on June 29, 2012


I used mine for this post.

I used mine to read your post. Hope you're happy.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:33 PM on June 29, 2012


I'm curious what will happen for highly synchronized devices. Most servers will just adjust at their next NTP and assume they had slipped an entire second. But I'm looking forward to another month long controversy about faster than light neutrinos due to miscalibrated equipment.
posted by msbutah at 1:57 PM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is a wonder of modern science and technology that we can both measure the precise rotational period of our planet and keep time accurately enough to observe a drift to the point of requiring a correction. It's an inconvenience in the same way that having a bag full of money so heavy it can't be carried is an inconvenience.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:59 PM on June 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


If they decouple UTC from the Earth's rotation, I will lose my everloving mind. Day is day and night is night and if you are think for one second that I am going to stand by while you make my life more complicated than it already is you have another think coming. I swear on the names of Galileo, Chandrasekhar and Carl Edward Sagan that there will be blood.
posted by BrashTech at 1:59 PM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Leap second? Whatever. I always leap first. Then look.
posted by Atreides at 2:12 PM on June 29, 2012


I'm on the moon. Someone tell me what to do.
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:29 PM on June 29, 2012


Make sure you've got enough air in your suit to last the extra time.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:39 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't check that now; he should have done that before he left.
posted by Edison Carter at 2:59 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm having a leap second party with friends of mine. I'm gonna cut four or five songs down to one collective second (might have to pan and overlap some stuff) and we're gonna party hard for the duration of that "playlist"/second. I might also take a picture.

So yes, I'll spend my day trying to figure out the timing of my flash, what songs I will pick and how I will make everything fall together nicely into that extra second. And there I was thinking I would -gain- time.
posted by bigendian at 3:00 PM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I note the memo is to "authorities responsible for the measurement and distribution of time" ... I can envision any number of agencies sitting around measuring time, but who actually has the authority to distribute it? And who was it that authorized it - are we talking Chronos? Or Kali? Maybe they split the duty, East/West?
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:20 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm on the moon. Someone tell me what to do.
Make sure you've got enough air in your suit to last the extra time.
You can't check that now; he should have done that before he left.
Yeah, at this point I'd say ignorance is bliss.
Proofreading is also bliss... or so I've heard.
posted by BrashTech at 3:21 PM on June 29, 2012


Bad enough being born on Feb. 29. Now this. Imagine being known as a "leap-second baby" born on June 30+00:00:01. And having to celebrate your birthday at the whim of the International Time Tribunal.

Will this incursion stand? I for one will be rivited to WWVB which is ending a special test for this moment-ous event.
posted by Twang at 3:54 PM on June 29, 2012


I'm curious what will happen for highly synchronized devices. Most servers will just adjust at their next NTP and assume they had slipped an entire second.

Precise timekeeping devices presumably don't use UTC but use something based on TAI instead. (TAI is a uniform timescale; UTC is an integer number of seconds different from TAI and kept synchronized to the Earth). Really precise timekeeping devices can't even assume that time is universal, of course; there are a bunch of other standard timescales based on various relativistic frames of reference. TAI is referenced to time as experienced on the geoid.

NTP includes support for leap seconds, although not very elegant support; each kernel that synchronizes to NTP makes its own (often even less elegant) accomodation.

You'd think that the easiest solution would be for computers to keep TAI and maintain the TAI-UTC offset in the same way they do time zones, but for whatever reason that's not a common approach for OS kernels.

Greg_Ace: Why, the International Earth Rotation Service, of course. (And some other people but they have less-awesome names.)
posted by hattifattener at 7:49 PM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Time is very arbitrary. The better our technology (both high end as well as "consumer level," or more realistically "widespread level) the more exacting our ability to measure time will be. Coupled with this highly-desynchronized information-exchange that we call the internet, precision in timekeeping and the dissemintion of same is pretty important.

In contrast, humanity has gotten along swimmingly by adjusting their times several times a year. Every time there's a solstice, "time" gets reset. Noon occurs at different times at different places every day.

We humans (and non-human sentients) have gotten along just fine with changes in "official time." Get over it.

Except for the "daylight savings" bs. That's just stupid, like sticking with Fahrenheit temperature measurements. At no point in time did it make any sense whatsoever to the majority of people. DST was made up by politicians to increase consumer spending. It doesn't necessarily work all the the time and negatively affects other economic engines. There's decent data that DST ends up using more energy than it saves - instead of heating, it's used for lighting. Also, inappriopriate heating/cooling schedules.
posted by porpoise at 8:21 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


hattifattener: the International Earth Rotation Service

Despite the cool name, I strongly suspect they are NOT in the business of mechanically spinning the planet...more's the pity!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:05 PM on June 29, 2012


That was the longest second ever. I'd 10 minutes later, and I feel like I'm still in it.

Very surreal. It's like a dude being stuck in the 60's. Nothing's changed man, but everything. Far out.
posted by purephase at 9:10 PM on June 29, 2012


With less than an hour to go before the Big Event, I'm surprised there isn't a party going on in this thread.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 4:19 PM on June 30, 2012


It's over. Was it good for you?
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 5:02 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wrote it down to enjoy later.
posted by Atreides at 5:03 PM on June 30, 2012


Apparently some newer Linux kernels have a spinlock bug which causes big bad crashes today. Maybe unrelated, but a couple sites like LinkedIn and Meetup are down now.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:28 PM on June 30, 2012


Reddit was down, as well, apparently because of a leap second bug. And we were all worried about Y2K.

(Fark had the good sense to move all their servers today, guaranteeing they'd be down regardless)
posted by dirigibleman at 7:43 PM on June 30, 2012


My school VM host (running a Debian kernel, 2.6.32-5-amd64) was down today for the first time in about nine months.
posted by flabdablet at 6:39 AM on July 1, 2012


I keep forgetting to mention that the USNO javascript clock, linked in the post, didn't actually display the leap second. Yes, I was watching.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 6:51 PM on July 8, 2012


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