Calendric Disaster Looms!
Posted by aogThursday, 30 August 2007 at 14:17 TrackBack Ping URL

Forget Y2K — what is going to happen when the Earth’s rotation is 24 hours and 1 second? We already have had to start having leap seconds (and read that to get a sense of how complex and jury-rigged our time system is) but that happens even with a very small delta. But in under 60,000 years we’ll have a leap second every day (and in less than 10 Kyears every week). What is being done to prepare for this? Time to write Congress and get them working on something important!

Comments — Formatting by Textile
erp Thursday, 30 August 2007 at 16:51

You think that’s bad, I can’t even get a calendar on my blog! Kyear?

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 30 August 2007 at 17:18

Kilo-year, 1000 years.

cjm Friday, 31 August 2007 at 14:15

aka “millinium” :)

cjm Friday, 31 August 2007 at 14:15

not 1024 years ? :)

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 31 August 2007 at 14:27

Well, most people take “MYear / mega-year” to mean 1,000,000 years and you know what I softie I am in the face of popular opinion.

Hey Skipper Saturday, 01 September 2007 at 06:54

The problem is the disconnect between UT1 and UTC.

Periodically adding a few wavelengths to the number of cesium atom transitions defining a second would zero the disconnect.

Problem solved.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 01 September 2007 at 07:15

No, that’s actually worse because it makes computing earlier times almost impossible. Leap seconds are a pain, but at least you can have a nice table of them and the adjustment is tedious but easy. Vary the actual length of the second and it becomes a nightmare. It’s really no different than the argument about local solar time vs. time zones. Once industrialization / computerization proceeds far enough, you have to go discrete.

Hey Skipper Monday, 03 September 2007 at 20:19


Good point; I hadn’t thought of that.

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