The Leap Second – It’s like Y2K all over again

The world’s time will be forever changed today when a 61st second is added onto the last minute of the day.

This so-called “leap second” isn’t something new, in fact, scientists around the world have been adjusting clocks since 1972 – making this the 25th time an adjustment has been made.

So, why do we care and what does it really mean?

This extra second is what keeps the world’s “official” clocks, and the world’s computers, in sync with the rotation of the earth. The problem: some of the world’s computers aren’t exactly up-to-speed software-wise and don’t adjust well to this change.

We add on the extra time

In 2012 the world saw a “leap second” when it happened and again when companies such as Reddit, LinkedIn, Gimodo and FourSquare experienced glitches as their network clocks failed to read the extra second; financial markets were also impacted.

Just like Cinderella, 8 p.m. EST might be a good time to fall in love update your Facebook status before the world’s computers (potentially) crash. (I’m only kidding!)

The silver lining in all of this is that people really shouldn’t see an impact – I mean, Google says they won’t “go down” as they created a workaround in 2005 after their systems stopped responding to commands, so we’re good. We can continue Googling on to our heart’s content.

Will the leap second ever go away?

Some say YES, it definitely should since every time it happens there are always a few unforeseen problems. The International Telecommunication Union will meet in November and vote on abolishing the leap second.

While they’re at it, could we also do away with daylight savings time? I’m all for “endless summer days”…but when the sun sets at 8:30 p.m., on average, in Florida that’s just pushing it a little bit in my book.

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