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Do you have the time please?


We are again past the shortest day but few, if any, have noticed the days getting longer, especially June 30 which was actually extend-ed by one second. Thus, the last minute of June 30 actually con-tained 61 seconds.

So 2015 is not a leap year, but it does have a leap second.

Earth's rotation is gradually slowing down a bit, thanks largely by a braking gravitational force governed between the moon and tides. Unchecked this would mean

that over a period of 800 years, ac-cording to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) the sun would be highest in the sky at 1pm rather than midday.

However, because leap seconds are only introduced sporadically, it is difficult to implement them in computers, and mistakes can cause systems to fail temporarily.

While glitches expected in Y2K (the change from Dec 31, 1999 to Jan 1, 2000) did not materialise, atomic clocks are now so precise that glitches can, and do, happen. For example, on June 30, 2012 there were major technical hiccups for services such as Mozilla, Reddit, LinkedIn and others, while more than 400 flights had to be grounded in Australia as a result of problems with Qantas' auto check-in system.

It’s unlikely to make much difference to most of us and we certainly won’t be able to charge for overtime, but when somebody says to you ‘just give me a second’ they may well be serious.
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