Saturday, December 31, 2005

Yes, I love technology.

Yes, I love technology
But not as much as you, you see.
But I still love technology
Always and forever.

Tonight (CST) we will have a "leap second" added to our year. Ergo, our day/year will be one second longer.
"There have been 22 leap seconds added - and no subtractions - since the first one on 30 June, 1972."
From the article inserted below, technology and its advances in issues chronologically related have helped us to see that our earth is actually slowing down. It is actually taking the earth longer than 24 hours to make a full rotation.

I'm not sure yet of the theological/providential implications of this, but I do indeed find it somewhat fascinating. I look forward to observing that extra second tonight right after dinner time.

How will you spend that extra second this year?

How to Use Your Extra Second of Existence (AP)
Friday, December 30, 2005

If life is often a matter of split seconds — the train door that closes in your face, the chance encounter with the love of your life, the near-collision with an oncoming SUV — then the universe is about to bestow upon us a generous gift: the leap second.

On Saturday, at exactly 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, one second will be added to our official record of time — Coordinated Universal Time, kept by a series of atomic clocks, housed in environmentally sealed vaults in about 80 timekeeping laboratories around the world and certified by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris.

The reason for the extra second is simple: The earth is slowing down.

Since the days of Sir Isaac Newton, scientists have understood that the time it takes for the earth to make a full rotation is getting longer.

The gradual deceleration is caused by the gravitational pull of the moon. The same force that brings the tides is putting the brakes on the earth, albeit very slowly.

And because time is a function of planetary movement, our days are getting longer and, depending on how you look at it, time is slowing down.

This discrepancy is something we have only recently become able to measure. That happened in 1958 with the advent of atomic clocks, which measure time using the resonant frequency of a cesium atom.

When a 24-hour day, as measured by the world's atomic clocks, becomes more than 9/10ths of a second shorter than a solar day, those in charge add the leap second.

Eventually, the 24-hour day as we know it will become a few minutes longer, although it will take millions of years. After hundreds of millions of years, the day will grow an hour longer.

The rotation of the earth and its orbital path around the sun (which is engaged in a perpetual gravitational tug of war with Jupiter) are inconsistent and always vary slightly.

"If we think of all the ways we're being jerked around the universe, we'd probably be hurling in the street," joked Geoff Chester, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

These cosmic forces matter little in the lifetime of any single person until, eventually, a day in the life gains one second.

Most of us will not pause to notice the extra second. But our machines will.

Our computers, and mobile phones, and global positioning devices will all rest for one second at the appointed time as they calibrate to Coordinated Universal Time.

"All this stuff depends on precise time," Chester said, "and the problem that you have if you don't get all the clocks synchronized when the leap second occurs — you could have potentially interesting effects — is that the Internet could stop working, cell phones could go out."

The official timekeeping devices of communication companies the world over, television stations, newspapers, indeed The Associated Press, also will hold their electronic breaths for one second.

Perfect time is critical to our technological infrastructure, some of which operates at the speed of light. Measured this way, one second represents two-thirds of the distance between the earth and the moon.

For the average person, observing the leap second requires focus and effort. Most cannot feel the extra second of sleep to which we will be entitled. No ball will drop. The leap second will not be observed with a countdown broadcast live from Times Square.

But for those wishing to witness the event, the process is relatively simple and requires a stop watch and a common cell phone with a time display.

At the precise moment the display reads 6:59 p.m. (EST), start the stopwatch. When the display changes to 7:00, stop the watch. It should read 61 seconds.

There. Your extra second will have been spent.

[What time is it? Find out here.]


At 06 January, 2006 22:57, Blogger M. Jay Bennett said...

Very interesting! I didn't know that. But I'd like to take a stab at what Jonathan Edwards might have had to say about the theological ramifications of such a natural occurence.

Recently, I began reading through Edwards "Typological Writings." He not only employs typology in interpreting Scripture but also in interpreting nature. His interpretations of natural phenomena are profound and enlightening.

I would think that he might say something like, "The slow deterioration of the earth's rotation shows us the deteriorating effects of sin on all creation. Enmity restricts relations between God and his sinful creatures stunting the creatures' growth and happiness. Also, childbirth has become a slow and painful process reminding us of the slow and painful death of Christ by which sinners are given new life and become the children of God. Likewise, rather than taking freely from the abundance of the garden for his livelihood, man will slowly and painfully toil with the thorn infested earth in order to maintain his dying life a day or two longer by the sweat of his brow only to eventually be overtaken by that same earth in death. Sin has broken our world and all things are in perpetual degeneration. Creation has been subjected to futility, and apart from redemption in Christ all would end in universal destruction. Accordingly, the Apostle teaches us that faith leads to hope."

Or he might say, "That the earth is gradually slowing down in its rotation resulting in the lengthening of days shows us the that the end of creation is eternal. While there will be an end to the present order there will not be an end to creation's existence. Everything is moving towards one of two eternal ends. For the reprobate outside of Christ, the end is eternal torment in hell. For the elect in Christ, the end is eternal felicity in heaven. The lengthening of days during the present dispensation is only a small foretaste of the eternal state. In that state one second more will be like eons, either eons of excruciating pain and suffering or eons of overwhelming love and joy. What would a man give to escape just one second of Hell's torments or experience just one second of Heaven's pleasure? Surely he would give everything he had, but it could never be enough. Only the infinitely precious blood of Christ could afford that extra second."

Of course if Edwards had said these things, he would have crowned them with those jewels of unpretentious nobility that make all his writings truly majestic. These are just the pretentious rhinestones of a peasant admirer.


At 13 January, 2006 02:17, Blogger GUNNY said...

"Everything is moving towards one of two eternal ends."

So true and so sobering. Well said, Jay. I think JE would allow you to ghost write for him on occassion.

Indeed, "Only the infinitely precious blood of Christ could afford that extra second."

Thanks ... from your fellow admirer.


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