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The operatic good timing of the leap-second decision

The decision to create a leap second at the end of 2016 is timely, in oh so many ways. It especially delights us, because this year’s Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will include the premier of a new mini-opera, called “The Last Second”  about a plot to secretly add an extra leap second to the world’s clocks.

A lot can happen during a leap second (some of the possibilities are sketched in a recent article in New Scientist magazine). A lot more can happen during a leap second that only one or two scientists know about in advance — that’s the crux of the opera plot. In the opera, of course, something will go very, very wrong, accompanied by music and mayhem.

BONUS: Leap second data, from NIST.

BONUS (related in spirit): Randall Munroe explores some of the implications of leap secondry, in his book What If. This drawing is part of that:

leap_tides

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