Scientists are terrified of what will happen on 31st of December. Things are changing fast..
Sometimes strange phenomena occur, things that were not taken into account, or simple miscalculations that can predict total destruction of Earth. The announcement of the inevitable destruction of humanity is always preceded by a total panic and promises of unimaginable suffering. But in case it's something too imminent that has caught some scientists by surprise. The origin of everything could be found in the Apollo X! Program.
During this mission of great importance, some mirrors were placed to allow us to check the distance between the Earth and the Moon. The mirrors not only serve the measurement of distance between the two bodies but also to be able to check if it varied with the passage of time or was constantly fixing itself. The surprise came about when they determined the effects that this could bring upon us humans.
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Thank to these mirrors, also known as retroreflectors, it was possible to begin taking measurements. The measurements have determined that the Moon was gradually moving away from Earth. Although it may seem like a pretty small issue, it's not. The force of the gravity exerted by the both the bodies is what makes the tides and rotation possible. In case of the tides we would encounter a strong catastrophe if we lose the gravitational force from Moon, as the water would remain calm and all the ecosystems would be affected.
In the case of rotation, it is going to cause some serious problems for us. As the distance increases, the rotation gets affected more slowly, so the planet needs more time to rotate by itself. This means each time the distance increases, we need to add more time to our clocks, more days to our months and more months for our years to compensate for the real movement we are living in. Can this bring us more problem? Or is time the only problem?
In an earlier era this would not be much of a problem, because it would take centuries to actually really affect us. What it does really prevent us from is to perform accurate calculations related to time. When we want to look at the time, we just jump to the world of machines. We have to keep in mind that a change in an hour can be pretty fatal.
So what is going to happen on 31st of December that scares the scientist? A second of time will be added to the time of the year. That second will cause computers that do not have in their planned schedule at the moment to begin performing operations before they really have to be carried out. Although it isn’t much of a concern for a normal computer, it is when it comes to mega-computers like those of Google or other companies as things change a lot.
To compensate for this change, the California based giant has decided that it would be too abrupt to add a second to that machine, so they preferred to fractionate in different milliseconds has been added gradually. With this change the problem can be avoided and Google wouldn’t be stopped to reprogram the machine. The biggest problem is that the clocks are not synchronized with the global atomic clocks, but they do among themselves.
Most computers in the world use the same time synced to a type of setting called the NTP server. With this server the time is directly updated no matter what. What if there is an error in this? Simply change the internal clock and move on. But this would not be possible for large companies, as they depend on this effect that would ruin their 24-hour service. Many engineers are already working on this.
For the most common cases, our devices are updated automatically which will not pose much of a problem. But for the multi-national companies this could cause the complete fall of their networks. Now just remains to be seen how they implement the solutions, because their operating systems are not prepared for this added second and certainly could cost a lot of investment of time and money to solve it.
Hopefully we finish going as Year 2000, which simply see it as something that did not matter, beyond the long headaches of those involved in finding solutions. Although we have to consider also everything could come down if the calculations are finally desmadran and fail at the last minute. Just in case we recommend to be careful with the entry of new year.
Happy New Year!
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