Today Will Be One Second Longer Than Usual


Hopefully your Tuesday is off to a great start because there's going to be just a little bit more of it than we're used to. Our very precise modern clocks measure exactly 86,400 seconds between one midnight and the next. Unfortunately, one full rotation of the Earth actually takes 86,400.002 seconds because of the way the oceans work against the gravitational forces of the various celestial bodies to ever so slightly slow the Earth's spin. To accommodate this, all those milliseconds are lumped together into a full second that is added to the year at a predetermined to time to re-sync our clocks with the Earth's rotation. Today is that time. The extra second is added at the very end of the day, 11:59 p.m., according to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Here in New York, and the rest of the East Coast, that will translate to 7:59 p.m.

This year features the 25th such leap second to be added since scientists at the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service first started calling for them in 1972. These days, though, they're being added at a slower rate because the Earth's rotation is slowing more gradually than it was in the '70s. Of course, the earth's rotation was variable even before then, but modern technologies like satellite navigation require a level of precision that makes such adjustments necessary.

Or at least that's how the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service and some countries feel. Others, including the United States, think adding the seconds is a cumbersome process, especially considering the scale of inaccuracy. If leap seconds were done away with, it's estimated that it would take over 200 years for our bodies to register even an hour difference in the way the clocks reflect the time of day.

Opponents cite the billions of devices around the world that rely on absolute precision that could suffer Y2K style bugs later today. Computer systems, especially those that live on the Internet, might not be prepared to handle an extra second, especially because there were no leap seconds added between 1999 and 2002 while the web was in its formative stages. When the last leap second was added in 2012, sites as big as Amazon and Reddit faced associated issues. This year, Amazon and others like Google, have instituted various ways to account for the extra second, adding it at the end of 11:59 p.m. or divvying it up into even tinier segments of time throughout the day.

But the opposition will have to wait for another year to mount their case against the leap second. For now, start thinking about how you can best use the extra time today.

A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”

When Chuck Yeager Tweeted Details About His Historic, Sound Barrier-Breaking Flight

Seventy years ago today—on October 14, 1947—Charles Elwood Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound. The Air Force pilot broke the sound barrier in an experimental X-1 rocket plane (nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis”) over a California dry lake at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

In 2015, the nonagenarian posted a few details on Twitter surrounding the anniversary of the achievement, giving amazing insight into the history-making flight.

For even more on the historic ride, check out the video below.


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