Beware the leap second?

On June 30, an extra second will be added to the Bureau of Standard’s atomic clocks.  This is so that our clocks will align more precisely with the rotation and orbit of the Earth.  The fear is that this will throw off the world’s computers, and, particularly, the programs that run the internet.

Last time this happened, in 2012, it did throw off a number of Unix-based websites.  Google has a fix for its sites, but many people are nervous, though probably not as nervous as they were with the Y2K panic, when 1999 turned into 2000. [Read more...]

What time is it?

In a story about how the rotation of the earth has slowed 2/1000 of a second over the last century, science writer Ivan Amato explains how dependent our technology is on extremely accurate time-keeping.  For example, if the clocks in your GPS device and the satellite it connects to are out of synch by as little as 1/1000 of a second, your location would be thrown  off by hundreds of miles. [Read more...]