ALL it took was a single second to bring down websites all over the world.
Sites such as Reddit, Gawker, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Yelp crashed after a “leap second” was added to the universal clock in order to keep up with the Earth’s rotation.
Slight fluctuations on the Earth’s axis meant that some days ended up being longer than others meaning that in a few hundred years time we’d be eating lunch at midnight if the problem went unaddressed.
All it needed was an extra second to pull everything back into line.
No, not so much.
The extra second sent some websites into a spin. Reddit announced on Twitter that the second was causing problems with its Java, Mashable reported.
Gawker’s entire website was down for about 45 minutes. Aggregator Stumbleupon and review website Yelp also reported problems.
Despite the technical issues, the one-second-solution was deemed a success.
The glitch followed a severe power outage in the US causing photo app Instagram to be down most of the weekend, along with social network Pinterest and video streaming service, Netflix.
The outages were caused by a storm in Virginia, which caused Amazon’s servers (which the businesses hosted their websites on) to fail.
The matter of a simple leap second also cost travellers hours and left passengers stranded all across the country.
The leap second is being blamed for a Qantas system meltdown yesterday that left thousands of passengers stranded around the country.
Up to 50 Qantas flights were delayed by a system glitch with global reservation software Amadeus, which left the airline unable to check in passengers.
Amadeus is the global program that monitors flight weight control, inventory and seat bookings.
Qantas spokeswoman Lauren Blank said the airline system returned to normal by noon, but many passengers were affected by the backlog.
“Amadeus had a global outage which affects all clients worldwide,” Ms Blank said, before conceding the leap second had been mentioned as the reason.
Ms Blank said domestic flights were delayed by about an hour and international flights faced delays up to an hour.
The NSW State of Origin team was among those affected by the glitch.
The team, travelling to Brisbane to prepare for the series decider at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night, was delayed by more than an hour in Sydney.
Travellers took to Twitter to report chaos and long queues.
ABC personality Karl Kruszelnicki tweeted “big queues and Qantas domestic” and traveller Daz Martin reported “chaos at Adelaide airport Qantas check-in crashed”.
The so-called leap second was added to electronic clocks at midnight universal time on Saturday, with atomic clocks reading 23 hours, 59 minutes and 60 seconds before then moving on to Greenwich Mean Time.
The Earth slowing down from the tidal pull of the Moon has meant that periodically, timekeepers have to synchronise the official atomic clocks.
The last leap seconds happened in 2008, 2005 and 1998.
Adjustments to atomic clocks are more than a technical curiosity.
A collection of the highly accurate devices is used to set co-ordinated universal time, which governs time standards on the internet, satellite navigation, banking computer networks and international air traffic systems.
There have been calls to abandon leap seconds but a meeting of the International Telecommunications Union, the UN agency responsible for international communications standards, failed to reach a consensus in January.
Opponents want a simpler system that avoids the costs and margin for error in making manual changes to thousands of computer networks.
Ref : http://www.news.com.au