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Politics of Science

November 10th, 2005

Interesting post over at Slashdot that is worthy of actually reading (shocker, to be certain). The story itself is by the BBC and has a very anti-American bent to it, which is interesting in of itself. But what is really interesting is the subject matter itself: the infamous leap second.

We add a leap second in January ever now and then to keep us aligned with the Sun. Apparently American scientists are proposing to eliminate the leap second and replace it with a far less frequent leap hour or even less frequent leap day. There is yet no stated justification for the proposed change except that American’s don’t like resetting their high precision clocks. Between you and me, there is nothing I hate more than resetting my high precision clock… so the folks over at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology must really hate it.

What I found most delightful about the article was this particular quote: “It really doesn’t appeal does it – the idea that we’re gradually slipping out of synchronisation with the Earth? And the idea that maybe one day a leap hour could be added is surely a joke.” I know that there is no more humorous day on the calendar than February 29, but it would seem to be quite a big deal for those working on the Prime Meridian.

probonogeek Uncategorized

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