I am sorry that there is some delay (more than 1 second) between the arrival of The Internet Protocol Journal at my desk and this e-mail. In the December 2012 issue (Volume 15, No. 4), Geoff Houston discusses the extra second on the last minute of the 31st of June. There is no 31st of June in the calendar, at least not in old Europe, but maybe in the United States. It is funny to discuss the problem of a second at the end of a nonexistent day, isn't it?
Nevertheless I could take some new knowledge from this article.
Hi Geoff (and Ole)!
I am sitting comfortably in a chair on the terrace in a Tenerife house, reading the December 2012 issue of IPJ, which I received by mail today. Since I have been working many years with the Network Time Protocol (NTP), I started reading your article on the subject with great interest. Having read only a few sentences I jumped in my chair:
"Back at the end of June 2012 there was a brief IT hiccup as the world adjusted the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) standard by adding an extra second to the last minute of the 31st [!!] of June."
Of course you may have received numerous notices of this hiccup [ha, ha], but still I couldn't resist writing to you. Thank you for an [otherwise] well-written and clarifying article (as always).
PS: Thanks to Ole for this anachronism on paper still available to us oldies who prefer sitting with a paper magazine in the sun instead of gazing at a poorly lit screen and struggling with the tiny letters.
The author responds:
Back in 45 BC, Julius Caesar made same revolutionary changes to the Roman calendar, and the changes included adding one extra day to June (well not quite, as the letter "J" was not around until the 16th Century, and the letter "u" was also yet to makes its debut, so it is probably less of an anachronism to record that Gaivs Ivlivs Caesar added an extra day to the month of Ivnivs). Either way, this change brought the total number of days in the month of June to 30, which is where it has remained for 2058 years.
It is often said that Australia operates on a calendar all of its own, but while our isolation on a largish rock at the southern end of the Pacific Ocean has led to a number of revolutionary innovations that are easily on a par with fire and the wheel, including the world-renowned stump-jump plough and the sheep-shearing machine, we Australians have not yet turned our collective national genius to the calendar. Despite a pretty sensible suggestion from the latest meeting of the Grong Grong Shire Council for a year to be made up of 10 months of 30 days followed by a decent 65-day session at the pub, we have yet to get the blokes back from the pub after their last 65-day bender, so that plan needs some more work back at the shed before it gets another airing! Thus it looks like Australia uses the same calendar as everyone else, making the reference to the 31st of June one of those pesky brain-fade errors! Oops. Yes, it was meant to say 30th of June. Well spotted!
—Geoff, Chief Scientist, APNIC
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