Everything You Need To Know About Today’s “Leap Second”

john oliver leap second

Today, June 30, 2015, is one for the record books – it’s going to last an extra second than normal days. At 11:59:59 PM (UTC), the atomic clocks will add an extra second to the day. Why? Because the leap second is what keeps the world’s official clocks and the world’s computers in sync with the rotation of the earth. This has happened every few years since about half a century ago when we started keeping time with automatic clocks. What – you never noticed?

You might say, “What difference does one second make?” Well, it doesn’t seem like it does. However, this year is particularly interesting. It just so happens to arrive the same day that Greece is due to repay its 2010 bailout loan to the International Monetary Fund. Most likely, Greece will default on its loan, shaking the worldwide financial markets. And then the leap second will appear—a 61st second in the last minute of the day, Coordinated Universal Time—tossing a curve ball at all those computers that drive the worldwide financial markets. So yeah, minor issue.

This isn’t the first time the leap second has caused issues. After the last leap second in the summer of 2012, Reddit, Gawker Media, and Mozilla went dark. So did the systems that underpin Australia’s Qantas Airways, causing long flight delays in Brisbane, Perth, and Melbourne.

 

Unless your plans for tonight involve a flight from Australia or making a large investment, you’ll probably be fine and largely unaffected (as long as Reddit stays up. Please stay up). So how should you spend this extra second? John Oliver is here to help.

We visited spendyourleapsecondhere.com, and we’re happy to report that Oliver actually did buy the domain and they do show you a one second video! Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose it. We got a video of Charlie Rose laughing, then played again and got a mime screaming profanity. So yeah, we might be here a while.

leap second website

If you don’t feel like spending your extra second on the computer, we’re not quite sure what to tell you. The rest of your options are limited. You could, um, blink, wink, take a sip of wine, and not much else. Enjoy!

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