Some good news for fans of natural peril.

With the year drawing to a close in a matter of a couple of days, we will all experience, although at a level hardly detectable, proof of yet another natural peril.  Life, such as it is, with the threats flowing from Global Warming and other natural disasters in the making, has just become more difficult.  You see, at 23:59:60 PM Wednesday, December 31, 2008, one second will be added to the cesium atomic clocks around the world.  It is being called a Leap Second. 

This is being done in response to the reality that (perhaps you should be seated when you read or hear this) the earth’s daily rotation is slowing.  In fact, in the 34 years between 1972 and 2006, the earth’s rotation, when compared to the atomic clocks, slowed by 23 seconds.  Did you stop to consider that?  23 seconds!  And now, only 3 years later, we are having to add yet another second.

With various other imagined global crises somewhat in doubt, I suppose this must be a real blessing for those who see a calamity under every rock and behind every tree.  This is REAL.  The earth is slowing down!!!  It will take someone with far more creativity than I possess to imagine the dire implications of this new peril.  I hope Al Gore is aware of this. 

Perhaps Barack Hussein Obama will have a solution.  Just as he plans to create “green jobs” in response to Global Warming, maybe there are new “slower jobs” that will not only be a natural response to a slower rotating earth, but will also serve to boost the economy and maybe even save the planet.  Let’s do hope so.

Read more about the Leap Second at the U.S. Naval Observatory website.

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7 Responses to Some good news for fans of natural peril.

  1. Steve Allen says:

    Not quite. During the years 1972 through 2004 the rotation of the earth’s crust got faster.

  2. Chuck says:

    Steve: Your argrument is not with me but with the U.S.N.O.. Read the article at their website (found via the link in my post) and contend the facts with them.

  3. Steve Allen says:

    The plot on that page shows it. When the graph is going down, the earth’s crust is spinning faster. Overall we are spinning faster than in 1972.

  4. silentmelody08 says:

    Just a thought.. if the earth is actually slowing down do you think that would have something to do with a possibility of maybe the earth switching its magnetic pole? Or would that have nothing to do with it?

  5. Chuck says:

    Steve: How ever it is you choose to read the plot on the USNO page, my comments are relative to the narrative contained in their article. Specifically they say:

    “Since the first leap second in 1972, all leap seconds have been positive and there were 23 leap seconds in the 34 years to January, 2006. This pattern reflects the general slowing trend of the Earth due to tidal braking.”

    It’s not a matter of my having some overwhelming confidence in anything the government says, but it is hard to mistake that they are saying the earth’s rotation is slowing.

    silentmelody08: I am not a scientist, and I haven’t a clue if your hypothesis or speculation is right or not. I simply wrote an admitedly snarky post, intenting to mock the breathlessness of various groups who seem to thrive on the angst they can generate from their made-up armageddons. The difference between some of their “pet paranoias” and the subject of this article…this one is real rather than imagined.

  6. silentmelody08 says:

    that may be so.. but it was just a random thought of mine.. 😛

  7. Steve Allen says:

    Yes, it’s complex. For zoomed out views of the rate of earth rotation as shown by the USNO see the series of plots on http://www.ucolick.org/~sla/leapsecs/dutc.html
    There you can see that during almost all of recorded history the rotation of the crust of the earth has slowed down. The past 35 years were an exception.

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