Will the Leap Second on June 30 Break the Internet?

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internet-leap-second

If you are a regular fossBytes reader, you’d be aware of the fact that June 30 is going to be the day when world’s clocks will add an extra second to the day.

It’s just an extra stupid second, right? Well, it isn’t that simple. According to several computer experts, this extra tiny second could wreck the systems powering the internet.

This extra second is added to the clocks to accommodate the slowing of the Earth’s rotation by about two-thousandths of a second per day. This extra second is added to the atomic clocks that uses the vibrations within atoms to measure time and is the most reliable measure of time.

So, this leap second is added to the atomic time to make the things fine. Now let’s talk about the part where things get a little scary?

Back in 2012, when a leap second was added to the world clocks, the systems got confused and reported instances of hyperactivity. Due to this websites like Reddit, FourSquare, Gawker, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Yelp and more sites collapsed. Some flights were cancelled and some were delayed.

According to Gawker, the Linux creator Linus Torvalds said that people shouldn’t worry about that scale of outrage this year but he didn’t rule out the possibility of some minor failures. He said, “Last time it happened, people spent some effort making sure it was fine afterwards. Hopefully that all stuck.”

internet-leap-second-

This time, companies are saying that they are prepared and companies like Google are adding fractions of a second from past few years so that they don’t have to make a sudden jump. Google site reliability engineer Noah Maxwell and Michael Rothwell called this a “clever way of handling things.” Reports have been published in the media highlighting the danger of the systems that rely on Google’s method.

However, some nations including the US said that they want to get rid of the leap seconds and keep the clocks out-of-sync instead. This will have its own problems as the clocks will be eventually out of sync for minutes and, or maybe for hours in future.

On the other hand countries like UK want to keep adding the leap second.

According to a calculation, without a leap second, there would be a difference of two to three minutes by the year 2100.

Well, whatever happens on June 30, fossBytes will be here to tell the story and later this year, leap second’s fate would be decided by voting at the Radiocommunication Assembly and the World Radiocommunication Conference.

Also read: Here’s Answer to the Impossible Math Problem that is Breaking the Internet

Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]

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