Leap Second internet crash won’t happen like last time

Chris Burns - Jun 29, 2015, 11:26am CDT
Leap Second internet crash won’t happen like last time

Time stands still on Tuesday as an extra second is added to the 30th of June, 2015. Because the Earth’s rotation is slowing – and in several billion years we’ll all be dead – a second will be added to the clock. Without this second, we’d eventually have times of day that once were associated with the morning setting with the sun. We’d have chaos. But brought on so gradually that none would really notice the difference. Except computers. Back in 2012 when a second was added to the day, Linux-based systems were flung into chaos. Real chaos, not just imaginary.

Back on the 1st of July, 2012, the extra second adding situation we’re in right now didn’t go so well. Websites like Reddit, Mozilla, Yelp, and FourSquare were all knocked offline for a bit. It wasn’t a pretty thing to behold, and it was all because of a bug in Linux.

Linux didn’t want to believe what was happening, basically, not really being able to comprehend how there were 61 seconds in this minute rather than just 60. Oh, the humanity.

Similar things happened back in 2008, when the Leap Second was added on December 31st.

But here in the year 2015, we’re doing better. The bug is fixed. We should have nothing to worry about.

Seriously don’t just jump out the window, we’re going to be FINE.

Google and Amazon have been adjusting their clocks micro-seconds at a time over the past several weeks to adjust. Operating systems like Linux and codes like Java have been adjusted well in advance of this event.

“In the short term,” said Chopo Ma, a geophysicist at Goddard and a member of the directing board of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service with NASA, “leap seconds are not as predictable as everyone would like.”

“The modeling of the Earth predicts that more and more leap seconds will be called for in the long-term, but we can’t say that one will be needed every year.”

Above you’ll see why we add a second to the day this week, courtesy of NASA.

For those of you looking to spend your extra second wisely, we recommend John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight “Leap Second Countdown Clock” which leads to a big button press for a single second video, curated by the Last Week Tonight crew. We got a video of N.Cage in a bear suit punching a woman in the face in “The Wicker Man.” Epic.

Let us know if you have any other special plans for traveling through time, gaining another second, or something thereabouts.


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