It was announced that Tuesday, June 30, will be longer than any other day because, at midnight, clocks will count 61 seconds instead of 60 for the last minute of the day.
This “leap second” is actually meant to have the Earth rotate at its own pace ( given the fact that this rotation is gradually but surely slowing down), while at the same time keeping up with atomic clocks. This helps preserve the official time in perfect synchronicity.
This is not the first time a leap second is introduced. Time keepers have been doing so since 1972 and the last time it was recorded was in 2012.
However, even if for us this might just be an interesting fact to acknowledge, the internet and tech companies all over the world are extremely worried that their systems might crash at the end of this longer day.
“There are consequences [to] tinkering with time. Because leap seconds are only introduced sporadically it is difficult to implement them in computers and mistakes can cause systems to fail temporarily,” stated Peter Whibberley, who is a senior scientist at the National Physical Laboratory.The National Physical Laboratory is currently in charge of defining Greenwich Mean Time.
Many trade companies are worried about the extra second, given the fact that it is going to strike during trading hours. With the dramatic economic situation in Greece, this cannot be good news.
Other businesses that might be affected include flight companies. In 2012, when the leap second last occurred, 400 flights had to be delayed because the Qantas check-in system crashed. Websites like Reddit, Mozilla and LinkedIn also went out of order for a while.
However, experts in business development say that there should be no problem as long as everybody adjusts their clocks at the same time. Discrepancies tend to occur when there is lack of synchronicity.
It is precisely because of these discrepancies why many countries have asked time keepers to abolish such leap seconds that could cause chaos in companies that are reliant on technology, where every fraction of a second matters. A final decision is to be made at the International Telecommunications Union meeting that will be held in November this year.
Image Source: Geograph