Monday, July 15, 2024

Later this month, delegations from around the world will head to a conference in Dubai to discuss international treaties involving radio frequencies, satellite coordination, and other technical issues. This includes the issue of clocks. For decades, there have been two different methods of timekeeping: one based on Earth’s rotation and the position of the sun and stars, and the other based on atomic time and the regularity provided by cesium atoms. However, these two methods have diverged over time, leading to the need for leap seconds to sync them. Judah Levine, a leading thinker on coordinating the world’s clocks, has proposed a new solution called the leap minute. This solution suggests syncing the clocks less frequently, allowing atomic time to diverge from cosmic-based time for 60 seconds or longer. This proposal aims to alleviate the headache caused by leap seconds for technology companies, countries, and timekeepers around the world. The proposal will be discussed at the upcoming conference in Dubai, although it is unclear if a consensus will be reached.

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