First posted: Monday, June 29, 2015 03:13 PM EDT | Updated: Monday, June 29, 2015 03:28 PM EDT
Remember the Y2K scare? Like that, but shorter.
You likely won't even notice it — an extra second to be added on to the world's clocks Tuesday to make up for the Earth's slowing rotation. But the 61-second minute threatens to play havoc with computer systems, causing widespread outages.
It wouldn't be the first time. The last time we had a leap second in 2012, Reddit went down, as did Gawker, FourSquare and others.
This year's leap second also happens to coincide with the opening of Asian markets, leading to fears that the world's finances could be skewed when trading is delayed.
Many systems, thankfully, are better ready for this year's mini time trip.
Google, for instance, has implemented a "leap smear" -- extending seconds very slightly leading up to the leap second so that the moment will go by without any changes on its servers.
There have been 25 leap seconds since they were introduced in 1972, and some scientists are calling for the practice to be done with, considering the difficulties in this computer age.
"The leap second is a hiccup in the time scale that's not predictable," John Lowe, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Time and Frequency Services division, told The Washington Post. "If you're writing code right now, you know when every leap day is going to occur all the way into the future. But leap seconds can't be predicted. There's five or six months of advanced notice, but that can be a problem for long-term programs that are already written."
Will 'leap second' take down the world's computer systems? | News | Tech | Toron