Leap Second Receives Last-Minute Reprieve

Leap Second Receives Last-Minute Reprieve

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The leap second may live on for at least another three years. Once or twice a year, the leap second can be tacked on to synchronize atomic clocks — the world’s scientific timekeepers — with the Earth’s rotational cycle, which does not run quite like clockwork. Without the leap second, atomic clocks would diverge about a minute a century from the course of the sun across the sky.

Britain, China, Canada and others have argued to keep it, but the United States, France and other nations have pushed to untether machines from the natural cycle because of the technical difficulties and costs to government and business. Government delegates now plan to examine the issue at a separate meeting in Geneva next week, but Acharya said they will likely defer any formal decision until 2015.

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