Why scientists propose reducing the minute to 59 seconds

Our planet has entered a period when it will rotate slightly faster than usual for several years. Because of this, the standard of a minute, as consisting of 60 seconds, becomes inaccurate. At the household level, there is no difference, but if you work with ultra-precise equipment or service communications with huge bandwidth, an extra second becomes a huge problem.

The New York Post recalled the incident of 2012, when a manual addition of just 1 second led to the server crash of such heavily loaded sites as Reddit, Yelp and LinkedIn. Linux OS with Javascript also suffered, and all because in practice the outdated principle is still applied, when the program code for timing uses a very crude clock mechanism of the computer itself. Focusing on global time servers is also not an option because of the high ping and the colossal volume of modern traffic.

When the transmission speed in computer networks was measured in kilobytes, there was no problem, but today, in that very fateful second, tens of gigabytes are already transmitted through fiber. If you just add or subtract a second, you can lose a lot of important information, create a serious risk of out of sync systems. The same applies to scientific activities - even if you change the time strictly according to the schedule before starting work, this will lead to the accumulation of errors in measurements.

The problem is that there is no way out at the moment. Firstly, the Earth will continue to slow down and accelerate, and we have just begun to discover the factors due to which this happens. It is now impossible to make a forecast even for a dozen years ahead. Secondly, experts argue about how, in practice, to implement the correction of each day by just a few microseconds and create a new common time standard. The first conference to discuss this issue is scheduled for 2023.