comScore 2015's Second of Time Travel to Cause Internet Problems | The Mary Sue

2015’s One Second of Time Travel Expected to Cause Internet Problems

When this planet hits slightly slower rotation, you're going to see some serious shit.


Despite sounding like an extra course in a hobbit meal, leap seconds are a very real thing that cause us to change clocks and effectively time travel backwards a little bit every so often. Unfortunately, the Internet doesn’t like time travel, no matter how many Doctor Who GIFs it contains.

The Earth’s rotation is slowed by the moon. While there are theories that this effect was much larger in the distant past when Earth may have spun several times faster than it does now, it occurs at a very slow pace today. That means that we can get by adding an extra second to standards-keeping atomic clocks every so often instead of just adding extra fractions of a second to every day.

But that extra time disrupted services like Yelp, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and more the last time a leap second was added back in 2012. Google has created a workaround that causes their servers to burn that extra time during updates throughout the year and never notice anything has changed, but it remains to be seen who else has come up with a solution.

So be aware that around midnight on June 30 of this year, things are going to get a bit timey wimey on the Internet. But as annoying as it may be for tech companies, the rest of us should all come out just fine.



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Dan is a video game modding hobbyist and secret ninja who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa Brown, and his dog, Liz Lemon, both of whom are the best.