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Thursday, August 11, 2005Some things are not even on the radar
Why the US wants to end link between time and sun?
By now we all know that the time it takes the Earth to rotate around its axis is slightly longer than 24 hours. Every so many years, an extra second is added to regulate global time. This second is called a leap second and the last time a second was added was in 1998. Whenever these seconds are added they lead to glitches with the passage of that extra second. Because of this, the U. S. government made a proposal secretly to a United Nations body to simplify the world's timekeeping by making each day last exactly 24 hours. To compensate for the lost of time, the U.S. has proposed that every 500 - 600 years a leaf hour should be added.
When astronomers heard about this proposal (through a leak) they quickly began to organize against the proposal by Bush. They believe it will not be cost effective, since changes would have to be made to telescopes that would cost between $10,000 and $500,000 per facility. In addition, some believe there are inherent dangers or risks associated with this method of timekeeping and could cause a shut down in the traffic-control systems, etc., etc...
It appears Britain isn't too happy about this either, they see this as a threat to its venerable standard, Greenwich Mean Time.
The proposal, if approved, will go into effect in 2007.