Thursday, January 01, 2009

‘Leap Second’ delays 2009, but Happy New Year!

While Cranmer was listening to Big Ben chime in 2009, and revelling in Boris’s corpulent visage projected large next to the London Eye, he was struck by this ‘leap second’ phenomenon.

The Lord’s return has been delayed a second.

We have to endure an extra second of Gordon Brown.

Labour has an additional second during which in can inflict further evil upon the nation.

Cranmer understands that leap seconds are necessary to account for the Earth's slowing spin on its axis. Apparently, 23 leap seconds have been introduced since 1972 to keep GMT - internationally defined time - and the Earth's rhythms in synch.

It appears that atomic time is consistent, while the Earth's rotation - the traditional way of measuring time - varies unpredictably. As a result, the two methods of measuring time slowly drift apart and leap seconds occasionally have to be added or subtracted to the atomic clocks to make sure astronomical and atomic time remain synchronised, and to ensure the Sun remains overhead at noon.

The music of the spheres is a work of art, and is just as much a work of creation as radioactive decay. Leap years make sense – for there is no logical reason why February should not have 29 days – but why is necessary to have a 61-second minute every seven years?

If a second is a man-made measurement of time, is it not the case that it ought to be lengthened?

Would it not make more sense to increase every second by 0.000000004 of a second, instead of inflicting us with 61-second minute every seven years?

That way, the Lord’s return would be perfectly co-ordinated between astronomic time and atomic time. And Cranmer would not feel he has had to endure Gordon Brown and New Labour one second longer than he thought he had to.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Dave J. said...

"Leap years make sense – for there is no logical reason why February should not have 29 days – but why is necessary to have a 61-second minute every seven years?"

For the same reason that the Gregorian calendar reform is more complex than most people realize. Adding a day every four years overcompensates, hence no leap year in century years. But THAT overcompensates in the other direction, hence century years evenly divisible by 400 ARE leap years.

2 January 2009 at 02:40  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Dave J is quite right. But even the Gregorian Calendar is not completely accurate and an extra leap day will have to be slipped around about AD 4000 should the Lord have not returned by that time.

2 January 2009 at 12:02  

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