leap seconds, other leaps & more

if u are a believer in the gregorian calendar, next year is a leap year. in order to compensate for the fact that the earth actually takes 365.25 days to go around the sun, february 29, leap day, is added to the calendar every four years.

february 2016 calendar leap day

why leap year?  this year, june 30 is tuesday.

calendar june 2015 leap secondjune 2016--leap year






if 2016 were not a leap year, june 30 would be a wednesday. but because of the extra day, june 30 will leap (jump) past wednesday and land on thursday.

sheree north leaping over a hurdle
actress sheree north leaping over a hurdle in life magazine in 1955 (loomis dean, life magazine)

before yesterday, though, i had never heard of the concept of a leap second which elizabeth zubritsky explains is necessary on nasa.gov because

a day lasts 86,400 seconds……..according to the time standard that people use in their daily lives – coordinated universal time, or utc. [in] utc the duration of one second is based on extremely predictable electromagnetic transitions in atoms of cesium. these transitions are so reliable that the cesium clock is accurate to one second in 1,400,000 years.

the first atomic clock leap second
also in 1955, the first atomic clock was presented. it was precise because it used cesium. (© bettmann/corbis)

reliable means dependable or credible — u can count on it.

fun english practice  :) richyrocks english on youtube

according to zubritsky’s article, however, the average day is in fact 86,400.002 seconds long. our awareness (knowledge,consciousness) of this discrepancy comes from scientists who study the earth’s rotation using a technique called very long baseline inerferometry (vlbi).

vlbi is used to create another time standard called universal time 1 (ut1), but

ut1 isn’t as uniform as the cesium clock, so ut1 and utc tend to drift apart. leap seconds are added, when needed, to keep the two time standards within 0.9 seconds of each other. the decision to add leap seconds is made by a unit within the international earth rotation and reference systems service.

as uniform as is a comparative structure. isn’t indicates that the cesium clock is more reliable than ut1. drift apart means separate or move away from each other.

pangea leap second
supposedly, at one time all the continents made one big pangea. later they drifted apart 

maddie stone sarcastically observes on gizmodo.in

if you’re the sort of person who lives by the motto that every second counts, [today] u get to put your money where your mouth is.

motto is a phrase that represents the values of a person or organization. get to indicates a privilege or looking forward to something. put your money where your mouth is is used to provoke people to do or act rather than just talk; in other words, if u truly believe that every second counts, u should be able to find a great use for today’s extra second.

put your money where your mouth is leap second
put your money where your mouth is. it’s not literal, dumbass. (tvrage.com)

but hold on just a (leap) second. everything ain’t cool here.  stone also comments that

leap seconds can wreak havoc across the internet

more specifically, david goldman on money.cnn.com warns that in the business world

the 61-second minute threatens to make computer systems go haywire, potentially screwing up complex trades that can take place in a split second.

threaten suggests the negative possibility of systems going haywire i.e. malfunctioning.  wreak havoc means create serious disorder and screw up is similar, but probably to a smaller magnitude.

indominus rex leap second
indominus rex wreaks havoc on jurassic world in the eponymous movie

goldman reports that as a result….

some groups have been looking to get rid of leap seconds……leap second opponents say the benefits don’t outweigh the technological mishaps that they cause. even if there were a leap second every year (there isn’t), the earth would only be 16 minutes behind schedule in the year 3015.

get rid of means end or eliminate in this context. outweigh is used to show that the mishaps (difficulties) leap seconds create are heavier than the benefits. finally, the if there were + would be is a classic example of how to express a hypothetical situation (second conditional).

benefits outweigh risks
do the benefits of the leap second outweigh the risks? (scielo.br)

were u aware of the existence of leap seconds? did the leap second wreak havoc on your internet experience today?  share your experience under leave a reply



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