There is a gradual slowing of the earth’s rotation so scientists are adding one second to today’s time to counterbalance the phenomenon.
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The event known as ‘Leap Second’ has happened 25 times since 1972 without much notice, but lately it has been known to throw many of today’s technology out of sync.
Many people wonder if leap-second is even necessary because it doesn’t impact people and the effects of the earths slowing will not be noticed by time for thousands of years.
With many complex computer systems a change in time by one second can disrupt operations. During the last leap-second in 2012, sites like Linkedin, Reddit, and Foursquare reported outages, and Qantas Airways reservation systems failed causing headaches for travelers.
Many global markets have prepared for leap-second, including the US stock markets planning on ending after-hour trading early to prevent the time change from interfering with trades being recorded. Since 2012 Google has divided the added second into fractions of seconds added throughout the day so systems would not be impacted.
Leap-seconds are not scheduled for certain times of the year but randomly added with little notice by a group of scientists who monitor the earth’s rotation. Scientists hope in the future leap-seconds can be done on a schedule and planned for in advance to help technology developers avoid glitches.