August 8, 2022

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This is how the timestamp looked on December 31, 2016, the last time a leap second was added.  An additional 27 seconds have been added since the introduction of leap seconds in 1972.

As it is known, a leap year is the year in which an extra day is added to make up for a quarter of the extra day each year.

Less well known is the leap second, a second that is added from time to time to compensate for the gradually slowing down of the Earth’s rotation over time, due in part to the moon’s gravitational force. In this way, Coordinated Universal Time (known as Coordinated Universal Time) is synchronized with the Earth’s rotation.

The challenge, however, is that this patch creates strange timestamps – like the time 23:59:60 – which in turn creates problems for various numerical solutions.

Now Meta has set its foot and wants to end this practice. in Blog post They write that leap seconds may have been a good idea when they were introduced in 1972, but now they are “doing poorly for both scientists and digital technology.” Furthermore, they wrote, “Introducing more leap seconds is a risky practice that will do more harm than good.”

It also called on Microsoft, Google and Amazon to change this practice, as well as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the French International Bureau de Poids et Mesures (BIPM). Support from state agencies is essential because, after all, it is not the multinational technology companies that decide whether or not to continue the practice.

And Meta and the others might have had a point when they now demanded a change. The extra leap seconds led to technical problems on several occasions, and in 2012 they caused problems for Facebook’s servers, who worked overtime to understand why their sudden slowdown per second. Something similar happened to Reddit, which was down for 30-40 minutes, also due to server issues.

On his blog, Meta suggests an alternative solution to the problem – something called “smearing,” which means additional second-second smearing over a longer period of time.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has the final say, and they will make their decision on whether the leap seconds will continue sometime in 2023.

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