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On July 1st, 2012, we get another leap-second added to our lifes. A leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to keep its time of day close to the mean solar time.

What are you going to do with that extra leap-second? Woeps, it has already passed.

The UTC time standard, which is widely used for international timekeeping and as the reference for civil time in most countries, uses the international system (SI) definition of the second, based on atomic clocks. Like most time standards, UTC defines a grouping of seconds into minutes, hours, days, months, and years. However, the duration of one mean solar day is slightly longer than 24 hours (86400 SI seconds). Therefore, if the UTC day were defined as precisely 86400 SI seconds, the UTC time-of-day would slowly drift apart from that of solar-based standards, such as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and its successor UT1. The purpose of a leap seconds is to compensate for this drift, by scheduling days with 86401 or 86399 SI seconds.

Because the Earth’s rotation speed varies in response to climatic and geological events, UTC leap seconds are irregularly spaced and unpredictable. Insertion of each UTC leap second is usually decided about six months in advance by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS), when needed to ensure that the difference between the UTC and UT1 readings will never exceed 0.9 second. Between their adoption in 1972 and June 2012, 25 leap seconds have been scheduled, all positive.

More info?

Slow funky cowboys and indians in a very funny commercial for a broadband company. Sometimes we need to slow down but probably this is too slow.