How the "Leap Second" Really Works

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

According to the brainfarm at ABC, the Earth is "out of sync with time." That's how they explain the 2008 "leap second" in this segment.

I also appreciate the way the newscaster clarifies that the "leap second is like a leap year - only shorter." Seconds are shorter than days! Good to know.

I feel sorry for the poor guy from NIST who was brought in as an expert and obviously quoted way out of context in this segment. He's explaining something a lot more complicated than "weather makes the Earth slow down." But good old ABC made it sound as if he really thought the only reason we need a leap second is that we had a lot of snowmelt.


Good to know that as we charge into the year 2009, science coverage is getting even better at the major networks. Probably for the best that CNN fired Miles O'Brien along with its whole Earth and space reporting team - as this ABC segment makes clear, any old person can understand teh sience. We all know that seconds are shorter than days!