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Can I have an extra second?

Can I have an extra second?

Well actually - yes, yes you can! In a few days the universe will grant you one extra second in your day. This extra moment is called a Leap Second. You may know about a leap year, which happens every 4 years when an extra day is added to the month of February to keep alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the sun. The leap second exists for a similar reason. It's added in order to synchronize atomic clocks with astronomical or solar time.

leap_second_stopwatch

The leap second will be added on June 30, 2015 23:59:60 UTC (UTC is currently EST+4 hours).

A total of 25 seconds have been added in the last 43 years. This means that the Earth has slowed down 25 seconds compared to atomic time since 1972. The last leap second was in 2012.

For most of us, this extra second means very little, but often leap seconds cause problems with computer software, most of which is built on code that was developed in 1970 (before the leap second). The previous leap second brought down Reddit, Yelp, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Gawker and StumbleUpon, among others. No small incident, huh?

However, there are many companies that have built systems to account for this and hopefully keep everything up and running (Google being the main player), and it's likely that none of us will be affected even if some sites do go down temporarily.

What do you plan to do with your extra second next week?

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Cheers to National Ice Cream Soda Day

Cheers to National Ice Cream Soda Day