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01-19-12, 08:04 PM #1
Debate over whether to keep "leap seconds"Once or twice a year, the leap second can be tacked on to synchronize atomic clocks — the world's scientific timekeepers — with the Earth's rotational cycle, which does not run quite like clockwork.Sanjay Acharya, a spokesman for the International Telecommunication Union, said Thursday a decision to abolish the leap second has been put off until next week. He said "it's been deferred" because government delegates at an ITU meeting were unable to reach agreement at talks this week.
The decision about how much the world needs the leap second affects everything from mobile phone networks to financial markets to air traffic control systems, all of which rely on atomic clocks and wouldn't have to momentarily stop their systems.
01-19-12, 08:11 PM #2
I think we should have a candle light vigil for the leap second.
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01-20-12, 10:26 AM #3
So the decision will be postponed for another 3 years....
Delegates at an international telecommunications meeting in Geneva were to decide on Thursday whether to recommend the elimination of leap seconds, which are occasionally added to the world’s atomic clocks to keep them synchronized with Earth’s rotational cycles.
¶ Richard C. Beaird, a State Department official who led the American delegation, said in a statement that discussions at the meeting “revealed a heightened degree of interest that has not previously existed on this issue.” With no consensus among the delegates, officials at the International Telecommunication Union, part of the United Nations, sent the issue back to a panel of experts for further study. A revised proposal will be introduced no earlier than 2015.
¶ Mr. Beaird characterized the delay as “a significant step forward” and said the burst of interest in leap seconds “should allow for a decision that will have the widest possible backing.”
¶ Opponents of leap seconds, led by the United States, say the sporadic addition of these timekeeping hiccups is a potential nightmare for computer networks that depend on precise time to coordinate communications.
¶ But nations like Britain that wish to keep the current system say that eliminating leap seconds might create bigger problems.
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