How gob-smacking to hear that the last day of June 2015 gained an extra second. It seems, we’re told, that the slightly odd rotation of the earth means that an additional tick was added to the last minute of the last hour of the last day of June. How extraordinary in itself – think how long it might take to make even 5 minutes difference to anyone – but even more so how extraordinary in terms of letter-sending and letter-receiving over the centuries. Earlier an extra year, or chunks of months, in letters being written or received would make a difference by arousing dread (someone might have died) or indicating being engrossed with a new life and off with the old. Later delays of days in letters arriving, or a morning or evening post being missed, would induce similar feelings. This second can be thought of in respect of advertisements in postal shopping catalogues for kitchen and hall clocks accurate for the next 500,000 years. I find much amusement in imagining the shrivelled ancient last human being utterly bemused when their kitchen clock goes wonky by a whole second at the end of June 502,015!
Last updated: 2 July 2015