Extra second, and celebrating a gigasecond

Last night an extra second was added to world time. It happened at 23:59:60 UTC, or Universal Time which is the same as Greenwich Mean Time minus daylight savings. Here in Norway we're at GMT +1 which is UMT +2, so it happened just before 2:00 a.m. here.

I stayed up late to celebrate. It was an eerie feeling, to experience a minute go by that was 61 seconds long. It dragged on and on and on and we began to wonder when this minute would ever end. Whoa. Good thing they only happen every 4 years or so.

Reminds me of when I turned one billion seconds old. It happens sometime when you're 31 years and some months old. I remember thinking about it when I turned 31 and I calculated the date. It was 252 days away and I soon forgot about it.

One morning I got an email from a guy I hadn't from in 10 years. The email simply said "Happy Gigasecond!" I panicked! I'd forgotten! Was it today? Had I missed it? I furiously calculated. I was born in Indiana at 1:02 p.m., now I was in Washington, I had to account for time zone changes and daylight savings. I found out the exact second... and I still had 4 hours to go. I celebrated by popping open a malty beverage at the exact second while in my hot tub. It felt good to be aware of and celebrate the exact second.

But I still had a mystery – how did this guy know? I wrote him back to thank him. Turns out 10 or 15 years ago at a juggling club meeting we all figured out the exact dates we'd turn one billion seconds old. Dave L. had written down all of these dates in his calendar, and being a very organized person at the end of each year he would buy a new calendar and transfer all of the relevant information from the old calendar to the new. This he did again and again, and when it came to be my turn, he tracked down my email address.

Dave, you're my hero! If I'd missed it I would have needed to wait until 63 to celebrate the next one.

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