Governments vote to retire the leap second by 20352022-11-21 17:24 by Daniela
Leap seconds, used for a half century to synchronize atomic clocks with variations in the Earth's rotation, are being phased out. That's good news for tech giants that are worried about the adjustments' technical risks.
Leap seconds have been used since 1972, and over the past 50 years have caused big headaches for the tech industry. The International Telecommunications Union, the standards body that governs leap seconds, pushed back a decision several times. But pressure continued to grow on multiple fronts, including from major tech players such as Google and Meta (formerly Facebook).
"Introducing new leap seconds is a risky practice that does more harm than good, and we believe it is time to introduce new technologies to replace it," Meta engineers wrote in a blog post in July. "Because it's such a rare event, it devastates the community every time it happens."
Now, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures has formally agreed with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, that it's time for the practice to end. In a resolution at the bureau's 27th meeting, the timekeeping body elected to find a new way to manage the small discrepancies between our planet's actual position and the number on the clock.
The change will take effect no later than 2035, though it's possible the group could phase it in sooner. The new policy is designed to last at least a century.
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