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Leap Second Victims

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A leap second occurred yesterday (or the day before, depending on how you want to look at it), and while some suspected Internet outages had nothing to do with the second added to compensate for the planet's rotation, it did cause some problems.

More than 2,000 networks experienced outages just after midnight yesterday at the moment the leap second was added.  Since no blame could be found on any ISPs, the leap second seems to be the transgressor. 

Te recap, official timekeepers rely on atomic clocks, which track time by looking at the oscillation of a cesium atom.  The cesium atom, however, does not consider the small deceleration of the Earth's rotation.  As such, the official world timekeepers add a second every now and then.  They've done it 25 times in the last 43 years.

The problem is that some computers and networks rely on outdated software that doesn't account for the extra occasional second.  More companies were ready for it this time around, but not all of them were.  A number of networks, as we already noted, went down, but not for too long.  It's thought that most were only down for about five minutes.

A lot of people have called for an end to adding leap seconds.  The difference is small to the point that clocks would be off only about half an hour... after seven centuries.