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Science & Technology

'Leap second' could wreak havoc online

By T.K. Randall
January 7, 2015 · Comment icon 15 comments

An extra second will be added at the end of June. Image Credit: sxc.hu
An extra second being added to the clock at the end of June could cause disruptions on the Internet.
The concept of a leap year, when an extra day is added to the calendar to help keep it synchronized with the seasonal year, is something that most people will be familiar with, however the idea of a leap second is not quite so commonplace.

Officials at the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) in Paris this week announced that an extra second would be added to the clock at the end of June of this year. The second will come in to effect at 23:59:59 so that the following month of July will be slightly delayed.

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First introduced in 1972, the leap second was designed to correct minor desynchronizations between the time defined by the Earth's rotation and that derived from an average of atomic clock times.

Unfortunately however the addition of this extra second has the potential to cause problems on the Internet. When the last leap second was added back in 2012, big websites such as Gizmodo, Reddit and StumbleUpon all experienced issues because their servers were unable to handle the change.

While it's likely that most server software will have now been updated to avoid this happening again there's still a chance that we'll see a few disruptions online at the beginning of July.

Source: CBS News | Comments (15)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by third_eye 9 years ago
ahhh ... that's why I'm been sleepy for a longer moment this days ~ ~
Comment icon #7 Posted by ealdwita 9 years ago
What am I gonna do with the extra time?
Comment icon #8 Posted by third_eye 9 years ago
Take another breathe ~ it may well be fruitful down the line ~ ~
Comment icon #9 Posted by Calibeliever 9 years ago
. if the Earth is slowing by 2000ths of a second per day, why do we need to add another second after only 3yrs? 365x3=1095. . Good question. I've never read up on this topic but apparently it's not very cut and dry, and there's a lot of contention: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_second
Comment icon #10 Posted by ancient astronaut 9 years ago
Y2Goaway.
Comment icon #11 Posted by shrooma 9 years ago
Good question. I've never read up on this topic but apparently it's not very cut and dry, and there's a lot of contention: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_second . cheers for the link Cal. this- . QUOTE- Leap seconds are irregularly spaced because the Earth's rotation speed changes irregularly. Indeed, the Earth's rotation is quite unpredictable in the long term, which explains why leap seconds are announced only six months in advance. . answered my question perfectly. thank you. .
Comment icon #12 Posted by Cruel_Cahal 9 years ago
Oh no, it's gonna be the end of the world! Shades of the Y2K paranoia, which was laughable enough.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Calibeliever 9 years ago
. cheers for the link Cal. this- . QUOTE- Leap seconds are irregularly spaced because the Earth's rotation speed changes irregularly. Indeed, the Earth's rotation is quite unpredictable in the long term, which explains why leap seconds are announced only six months in advance. . answered my question perfectly. thank you. . Brilliant!
Comment icon #14 Posted by regeneratia 9 years ago
I promise that I will not go online that day. I will be in my garden while the world crashes without me. LOL.
Comment icon #15 Posted by jarjarbinks 9 years ago
. (the PS2 was launched in march 2000 JJB.....) . you're right, it must have been my ps1 i remember i got the ps2 on october 2000, release day.


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