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Trick Question: How Many Seconds Are In A Year

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A year with a positive Leap Second is just slighly longer^3^^.

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Of course, Leap Seconds can happen on Leap Years too. So, based on our current system of time^4^^, a year can have one of six possible total seconds.

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Debugging Stuff

I'm moving stuff around right now. All this below is helping me figure out where to put stuff

        -- title

Trick Question: How Many Seconds Are In A Year

Time is weird. Or, if you prefer, wibbly-wobbly^1^^. 

Take someone who lives on a border between time zones 
and has a five minute commute. Separate clocks at home 
and the office show they make it in before waking up 
and that it takes two hours longer to trek home than 
it did to come in.

Weird. 

A more subtle strangeness is the Leap Second^2^^.  

Like the days we add for Leap Years, these seconds 
keep our clocks and calendars from drifting away from 
their proper seasons. The expected math class answer 
for determining how many seconds there are in a year 
looks like this:

-- pre

365 days * 24 hr * 60 min * 60 sec = 31,536,000 seconds

-- p

A year with a positive Leap Second is just slighly longer^3^^.

-- pre

365 days * 24 hr * 60 min * 60 sec + 1 Leap Sec = 31,536,001 seconds
    
-- p

Notice the explicit use of "positive" above. 
That's required since Lead Seconds can, in theory, 
be negative. 

-- pre

365 days * 24 hr * 60 min * 60 sec - 1 Leap Sec = 31,535,999 seconds

-- p

Of course, Leap Seconds can happen on Leap Years too. 
So, based on our current system of time^4^^, a year can 
have one of six possible total seconds.

-- html/

<table style="margin-left:auto; margin-right:auto;">
  <thead>
    <tr>
      <th>Leap Year</th>
      <th>Leap Second</th>
      <th style="text-align: right">Number of Seconds</th>
    </tr>
  </thead>
  <tbody>
    <tr>
      <td>no</td>
      <td>negative</td>
      <td style="text-align: right">31,535,999</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td>no</td>
      <td>–none–</td>
      <td style="text-align: right">31,536,000</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td>no</td>
      <td>positive</td>
      <td style="text-align: right">31,536,001</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td>yes</td>
      <td>negative</td>
      <td style="text-align: right">31,622,399</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td>yes</td>
      <td>–none–</td>
      <td style="text-align: right">31,622,400</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td>yes</td>
      <td>positive</td>
      <td style="text-align: right">31,622,401</td>
    </tr>
  </tbody>
</table>

-- /html

Our global time keepers came up with the Leap Second
in 1972. Since then, 25 have been added.  All of the 
"positive" variety. And, we're ready for another 
one^5^^. This June will be one second longer 
than last. 

Wibbly-wobbly indeed.


-- footnote
-- id: 1

Season three, episode ten of the modern Doctor 
Who is titled "Blink". It's a masterpiece. 
It's also where 
<<link|this wonderful 14 second description of time|https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY_Ry8J_jdw>> comes 
from. If you've not yet tuned into Doctor Who, do 
yourself a favor and start from the first episode of 
the modern reboot.

-- footnote
-- id: 2

To quote the <<link|Wikipedia entry for Leap Second|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_second>>: 
A leap second is a one-second adjustment that is 
occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
in order to keep its time of day close to the mean 
solar time. 

Without such a correction, time reckoned by Earth's 
rotation drifts away from atomic time because of 
irregularities in the Earth's rate of rotation.


-- footnote
-- id: 3

I trust some clever, smart-ass student will get the 
"How many seconds in a year" question and use a Leap 
Second in the calculation to see if they can argue the point.

-- footnote
-- id: 4

Anyone else remember when, in 1998, Swatch tried to 
redefine time with their '.beats' Internet Time? 
Saying: "Internet Time exists so that we do not have 
to think about timezones. For example, if a 
New York web-supporter makes a date for a chat 
with a cyber friend in Rome, they can simply agree 
to meet at an "@ time" - because internet time is 
the same all over the world.""

I was a little surprised that 
<<link|Beats is still around|http://www.swatch.com/en_us/internet-time>>, though, 
I haven't heard it mentioned since '98. 

-- footnote
-- id: 5

Here's the <<link|leap second announcement|http://hpiers.obspm.fr/iers/bul/bulc/bulletinc.dat>> 
from the International Earth Rotation And Reference 
Systems Service. It contains the line, "To authorities 
responsible for the measurement and distribution of time." 
That's just begging to be the opening of a sci-fi novel.

-- categories
-- Miscellaneous

-- metadata
-- date: 2015-01-07 00:00:00
-- id: 20en1ved
-- status: published
-- type: post
-- site: aws