another problem to fix, earth slowing!

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
Pollution, Global Warming, Population control.....

All minor, Cause we got EARTH SLOWING!

Alright, not new news, but hey if it continues what happens to plant growth, warming (sun sitting on one spot too long), putting children to bed when it is still light out. The implications are mind boggling. Only the great Mongo can completely comprehend the implications. The good news is there is extra time this year to contemplate it.
Link
An extra second will be added to 2005 to make up for the slowing down of the Earth's rotation, officials said this week.

The once-common "leap second" is the first in seven years and reflects the unpredictable nature of the planet's behavior.

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service in Paris keeps track of time by measuring the Earth's rotation, which varies, and by an atomic clock, which is unwavering. When a difference in the two clocks shows up, the IERS adds or subtracts a second to the year.

For the first time since 1998, the IERS will sneak in an extra second this year to get time back in synch, officials said in a statement Monday.

On Dec. 31, the clock will read like this as it leads into Jan. 1, 2006:

23h 59m 59s ... 23h 59m 60s ... 00h 00m 00s. Normally, the seconds would roll from 59 directly to 00.
 

question fear

macrumors 68020
Apr 10, 2003
2,273
77
The "Garden" state
we all know what to do.
grab an astronaut, a geophycist, a genuis estranged from the government, an egomaniac scientist, and a geeky hacker.
insert them into the core of the earth, load with nukes, and run.
no one will notice.

hey, if it worked in "the core".....;-)
 

emw

macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
Great. I just reset my watch yesterday and now I have to do it again :mad:

Guess I need to get one that automatically reads info from the atomic clock.

Edit: On the other hand, it's more time to spend here! :eek:
 

xli_ne

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2005
788
0
Center of the Nation
question fear said:
we all know what to do.
grab an astronaut, a geophycist, a genuis estranged from the government, an egomaniac scientist, and a geeky hacker.
insert them into the core of the earth, load with nukes, and run.
no one will notice.

hey, if it worked in "the core".....;-)
god that movie sucked
 

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,232
4
more time eh? i dont have enough as it is........ but then again i can only work for so long....

this is the first i have heard of this actually, its interesting, but could be devistating as well
 

FoxyKaye

macrumors 68000
Not that the outcome would have any consequence, but isn't gravity a product of mass and rotation? If so, are we all weighing a bit less as time goes by and the Earth slows down? Wouldn't this also affect escape velocity as well?

So basically over a 70 year lifespan, at the end of my life the average year will be 10 seconds longer than it was at the beginning of my life. Hmmm... If you believe the statistics that smoking a single cigarette takes 15 seconds off of your life, then I should go light one up right now to celebrate my extra time. Of course, this would leave me with a 5 second deficit, but since enjoying the cigarette lasts over 5 minutes, then hey, I'm still in the plus!

Then again, maybe all the Equatorial countries won't appreciate the consequences of a longer day, gang up on us and strap a bunch of rocket jets all around the Earth's middle to speed it up again...

[Edit]:
xli_ne said:
god that movie sucked
Yes, yes it did... Yet I watched it all the way through - IIRC, I was blind for a few hours thereafter.
 

feakbeak

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2003
925
1
Michigan
FoxyKaye said:
Not that the outcome would have any consequence, but isn't gravity a product of mass and rotation?
Gravity is determined by the mass of two objects and distance between them and, of course, the gravitational constant. This change in rotation wouldn't have any practical change on people's weight. Although I suppose it could since the centripetal force we each experience would change negligibly. But that's only if your are using pounds which measures force. If you use the more reasonable unit, kilograms, which measure mass this doesn't matter.

Anyway, this slight change in rotation doesn't seem to be any danger. Especially considering how small the rate of change is. Our moon is also slipping away from earth at about a rate of an inch and a half per year. Actually, these two changes are related. The moon causes the tides and becuase of the gravitational effect of the moon on the oceans it cause torque on the rotation of the earth, which is what is slowing us down. This, in turn, causes the moon to slowly move away. No worries though, our sun will slowly run out of fuel and expand to consume earth and vaporize all life on earth before our rotation slows down too much or the moon gets too far away.
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Jun 4, 2003
18,388
42
1123.6536.5321
FoxyKaye said:
Not that the outcome would have any consequence, but isn't gravity a product of mass and rotation?
In essence, yes, but keep in mind that no one fully understands what gravity actually is. :cool:
 

stevietheb

macrumors 6502a
Jan 15, 2004
591
0
Houston
Perhaps I'm not understanding...but why add a second? Is the Earth's rotation on its axis slowing, or is its rotation around the sun slowing? If it's the rotation on its axis (thus creating the extra second of daylight mentioned by previous posts), won't adding a second screw up our calculation of the year?
 

feakbeak

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2003
925
1
Michigan
~Shard~ said:
In essence, yes, but keep in mind that no one fully understands what gravity actually is. :cool:
Although we seem rather clueless about how gravity actually works the equation to calculate the gravitational force between objects works rather well.

The only problem is accurately determining the gravitational constant, G. I find it interesting that more recent attempts to measure G have brought the accuracy of its value into further doubt. Gravity certainly does seem to be an enigma.
 

Snowy_River

macrumors 68030
Jul 17, 2002
2,517
0
Corvallis, OR
As someone else has noted, this is a matter of the length of the year not the day, so it has to do with the Earth's orbit, not its rotation. As such, this is a different effect than the effect of the moon slipping away and stealing the Earth's angular momentum.

One thing to note is that this is a result of the inherent instability of a multi-body orbital system. As was quoted, the people who monitor these effects both add and subtract time as needed. The instability isn't only in one direction.

question fear said:
we all know what to do.
grab an astronaut, a geophycist, a genuis estranged from the government, an egomaniac scientist, and a geeky hacker.
insert them into the core of the earth, load with nukes, and run.
no one will notice.

hey, if it worked in "the core".....;-)
Ugh. That movie was full of science fallacies. Yeah, you can really talk to someone who is thousands of miles underground using radio...
 

Josh

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2004
1,640
1
State College, PA
Interesting...first time I've heard of it.

I don't think it's a problem though. By the time it would take for enough seconds to be added to the year to siginificanlty increase the amount of time in a day - which would affect sleeping habits, plant growth, etc - everything would have adapted to this change.

The change is soo minute that any significant change would take a very long time, in which things will have no problem evolving to cope with.

Plus, sometimes the earth speeds up, so seconds need to be removed. This unpredictable addition and subtraction further mellows out the net change over a given amount of time and reduces the possibility of a huge change even more.
 

dubbz

macrumors 68020
Sep 3, 2003
2,284
0
Alta, Norway
Maybe we should ask Superman to fly around really fast so it slows down a bit? :rolleyes:

But seriously... it's interesting. Small changes can often have big consequences. But hopefully not in this case.
 

Nickygoat

macrumors 6502a
Dec 11, 2004
992
0
London
feakbeak said:
But that's only if your are using pounds which measures force. If you use the more reasonable unit, kilograms, which measure mass this doesn't matter.
Spot the new guy :D What is reasonable about kg but not pounds? Pounds are an acceptable measure ;)
 

Militar

macrumors member
Jul 4, 2005
85
0
Longer days means we'll have shorter life span measured in years. Or does it mean we'll live longer because our metabolism would be slower?
 

feakbeak

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2003
925
1
Michigan
Nickygoat said:
Spot the new guy :D What is reasonable about kg but not pounds? Pounds are an acceptable measure ;)
Well it seems to make more sense to use kilograms which is a unit of mass rather than pounds which is a measure of force. You have the same mass regardless of the gravitational force with whatever object you happen to be living on - earth, moon, Mars, space station, etc. On the moon you'll apply a much smaller force down onto the surface of the moon than you would on earth.

Since we're backwards over here in the US and never converted to the metric system we might not use the kilogram but we could at least use the English unit for mass, the slug. 1 slug = 14.59390294 kg. So my mass is about 7.5 slugs - that sounds nice. :)
 

michaelrjohnson

macrumors 68020
Aug 9, 2000
2,174
1
53132
I can't really think of something insightful to say, but I really do find this intriguing. I'll have to read up on it more when I get home from work. Thanks!
 

Apple Hobo

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2004
795
0
A series of tubes
OK, don't panic. Here's what we can do: get everyone in the world grouped together. Have them run in the opposite direction of Earth's rotation. This will have an effect like running on a log that's floating on water; we can speed up the rotation by running fast. Remember--don't panic...we can do this. And please think of the children! We must save the children! :D
 

feakbeak

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2003
925
1
Michigan
Snowy_River said:
As someone else has noted, this is a matter of the length of the year not the day, so it has to do with the Earth's orbit, not its rotation. As such, this is a different effect than the effect of the moon slipping away and stealing the Earth's angular momentum.
You are right, I stand corrected. My brain just missed that one.

I wonder what causes earth's orbit around the sun to vary. Is it caused the effects of the moon orbiting earth or the gravitation effect of the other planets acting on earth?
 

Nickygoat

macrumors 6502a
Dec 11, 2004
992
0
London
feakbeak said:
Well it seems to make more sense to use kilograms which is a unit of mass rather than pounds which is a measure of force. You have the same mass regardless of the gravitational force with whatever object you happen to be living on - earth, moon, Mars, space station, etc. On the moon you'll apply a much smaller force down onto the surface of the moon than you would on earth.

Since we're backwards over here in the US and never converted to the metric system we might not use the kilogram but we could at least use the English unit for mass, the slug. 1 slug = 14.59390294 kg. So my mass is about 7.5 slugs - that sounds nice. :)
Eh? I thought pounds [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pounds]were[/url] a unit of mass, as well as force. Guess I wasted 3 years at uni. I do like the idea of slugs though - I weigh 6 slugs hmmm have I just lost weight? :D
We were always taught that kgs were a horrible French invention - now we just remind them of the Olympics, and the celebration in Trafalgar Square