August 15, 2022

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Google, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft for more leap seconds

Almost everyone knows about leap years. Every four years, 365 days becomes another day, because the Earth needs a little longer than 365 days to revolve around the sun and this circumstance must be compensated for so that the seasons do not turn away. There are also leap seconds, which may not be familiar to everyone and are imposed to account for the slowing of the Earth’s rotation. Normal Joe doesn’t notice this extra time, but for researchers and astronomers, the extra second is important when observing celestial bodies, for example. There have been 27 leap seconds since 1972.

Global companies stand against more leap seconds to avoid damage from the Internet

However, not everyone is excited about the concept of a leap second. Google, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft joined forces with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the French International Bureau de Poids et Mesures (BIPM) on Monday to launch an initiative against more leap seconds, according to a report found on Cnet.

Because an extra second is difficult on many computer systems, because it is programmed to linearly measure time with 60 seconds in a minute. The leap second ensures, for example, that International Atomic Time (TAI) does not shift from 23:59:59 to 00:00:00, but to 23:59:60, causing problems such as Internet failure. Against this background, majors argue that there is no need for more leap seconds, especially as the rotational speed pattern changes to the point where negative leap seconds can occur. It is not yet possible to determine how this will affect the processing of computers.

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Meta wrote their own blog post about the leap second elimination initiative, which concluded: “As engineers at Meta, we support a larger push by the community to stop the future introduction of leap seconds and stick with the current number of 27, I think the next millennium will suffice.”

Fits this: Leap second 2015: Maybe it won’t mess up the internet

Among other things, a leap second in 2012 ensured that Reddit was unavailable for 30-40 minutes, which is said to have caused problems with Mozilla, Yelp, and flight booking service Amadeus. In 2017, Cloudflare’s second major failure caused a small portion of the network infrastructure company’s client servers to go offline. Cloudflare, which is comparing the two hours, calculated that the time had slipped, but failed to properly process that result, Cnet reports.

The Y2K error, known in German as the year 2000 problem, is similar and caused serious errors when jumping from 1999 to 2000, as computers treated years as two-digit numbers. Another problem may appear in 2038, when the capacity of the 32-bit integer used by some systems to define Unix time is no longer large enough to count every second since January 1, 1970.

Source: via cnetAnd the dead