Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy Leap Second!!

What in God’s name am I yapping about you ask? Well let me tell you. On the night of December 31st as you’re eagerly awaiting the stroke of midnight. It will actually take a second longer. You see our planet’s rotation and revolution around the Sun aren’t in perfect sync with our methods of time keeping. It takes the Earth a little less than a day to rotate on its axis. A year is a bit shorter than the time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun. So scientists have decided to tack on an extra second this year.

Why bother adjusting? Because if we didn’t have leap seconds and years where we add an extra day on the calendar eventually Christmas would be in the middle of summer. Our calendar would lose more and more time in comparison with our place in the solar system and stuff would get confusing.

Also if I may add our Earth is getting slower as well. Our rotation is slowing as we speak It’s nothing to worry about in your lifetime but old Mother Earth is getting slower in her old age. At one point very early in our planet’s history it’s estimated that our days were about ten hours long. So I guess you’d have to choose work or sleep in a ten-hour day. But as the Moon’s gravity has gently tugged on us, we’ve slowed. Eventually a day will be 25 hours long and I’m sure someone will find a way to get an extra hour of work out of somebody.

Anyway I’m really hoping the big New Year’s countdown goes just like this, 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…1…0. Just the thought of people having to wait an extra second and have no idea why is amusing to me. I like to cause trouble though so your mileage may vary.

I’m only bringing this up because so few people pay any attention to news that doesn’t involve politics or celebrity. Things like leap seconds don’t get a lot of play in the media. It’s a shame. I really think we’d be a better off nation if TV gave more of what we need like science and real debate on its programs. The gossip and propaganda and constantly stooping to the lowest common denominator really does us no good. We can do better. Unfortunately we seem to settle for very little in this country.

I could say more I suppose but I got an extra second to make plans for. Have a good and safe and enlightening New Year.

If I don’t post again this year, thank you for reading my blog. I really appreciate it. As always you’re very welcome to leave comments both good and bad. My thanks to you once again.


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