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News / Weird & Wonderful

2016 will last a second longer than usual

2016 will last a second longer than usual
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Simon Evans

Did you love 2016? Well, you will get to live it for a second longer.

Although it seems like the majority of the country is looking forward to a fresh start, Americans will have to endure the hardships of the year 2016 a second longer as time keepers will add a "leap second" to clocks around the world at 11:59pm (and 59 seconds) Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)—"the world's official time standard, based off atomic clocks and used to calculate the times around the world," explains Vox.

Since the Earth actually takes longer than a precise 24 hours to complete a full rotation (for those of you who are wondering, it takes 86,400.002 seconds exactly), timekeepers add a leap second to the world's clocks every few years to stay in sync with that rotation.

What's even more interesting is that, although Americans will enjoy a longer 2016, countries to the east of the UTC time zone (think France, Russia, Japan and Singapore, for example) will get to bask in an extended 2017 as their extra second will be tacked on after midnight.

As for practical matters: although those working on timekeeping softwares will likely have to go through some trouble to make sure the additional second doesn't cause any glitches (in 2012, the leap second caused a glitch in the software running Gawker and Reddit, for example), you can actually sit back and relax as devices that automatically set their times will adjust on their own.

In terms of what to do with that bonus time, we have a suggestion: channel the inner positivity that you might have lost contact with this year and wish for a splendidly beautiful and positively memorable year to come for all of us. Happy New Year!

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