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The month ahead

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By Anjana Ahuja   June 2012



Hang on a second. That’s what the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)—the official keeper of the Earth’s time—will be doing when it adds a leap second on 30th June, reigniting the debate about whether this horological interloper has outstayed its welcome. The leap second was invented in 1972 to bring two chronological systems—time as measured by the Earth’s rotation, and time as measured by more precise atomic clocks—back into alignment (our planet wobbles as it spins, meaning that the exact length of a day can vary by a few milliseconds). But lobbing in a corrective second is disruptive for…

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