A Longer 2008

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The most valuable thing in this world is time.  There’s a news story that went under the radar and from all places it came from IERS (International Earth Rotation and Reference System Services) who just announced that at the end of 2008 at 23:59.60 on December 31st the beginning of the next year will be delayed by 1 second.  This means that we all have one more second in 2008.

You might be wondering why are we blessed with this extra second and the answer is because a year is determined by the time it takes for the earth to complete its orbit around the sun and the rate is slowing down at a very gradual pace due to tidal friction.  So in order to keep the time in sync with the earth the IERS was forced to add a second to 2008.

If you think this is rare event you would be wrong because the IERS ads a second about every 18 months.  It is not always exactly 18 months because Earths rotation is very unpredictable.  Don’t worry its not going to be Y2K all over again almost all of electronic devices will adjust automatically to the International Atomic Time .

You can’t add seconds without some people getting upset and protesting.  Of cource this year was no different there has been protest against this change.  Opponents of the leap second argue that the problems it would cause on older computer systems would cause a major hassle and cost people and businesses thousands of dollars.

For more information you can go to www.IERS.org

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