At last, a decent explanation of the "leap second" phenomenon

Leap day comes around every four years (give or take a few), but just what is a leap second and why does it happen? This video explains the science behind our lost time.

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In this clip, Chief Scientist for Time Services (and cool title-holder) Demetrios Matsakis of the U.S. Naval Observatory, poses an interesting problem: The Earth's rotation is infinitesimally slowing at a rate far too small for us to notice, but not for our increasingly precise clocks. "What do you do," he asks, "if the Earth slows down and you have so many seconds in a day, your clocks are giving you the right answer and the Earth is telling you the wrong answer?" The answer, as explained in the video, is the leap second

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The clip is from The Atlantic Tech, and is part of a larger video piece from The Atlantic on where time comes from, which features a whole bunch of cool atomic clocks, and which you can watch here.

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DISCUSSION

ManuelBrown
Guild_Navigator

That's why we should adopt the French Republican Calendar:

Imagine 10-day weeks long instead of seven. Each consisting of 10 hours, each of which had 100 minutes, each of which had 100 seconds. Oh, and the clocks would have to look like this:

And EVERY single day has a name such as "Pitchfork," "Goose," "Barrel," "Donkey," "Cricket," "Charcoal," "Copper," "Dung" (no, seriously), "Maple Syrup,". Imagine how easy and memorable each day would be! The Internet would be 10 times more awesome!

"Tomorrow is "Barrel",woo-hoo!" But then again... "I got dumped by my girlfriend on a Donkey afternoon... :("