June 30th – Time: What a Concept

June 30, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning clock-watchers. Today is Thursday, June 30th. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Leap Second Time Adjustment Day 

“Time is a concept created by people in need of structure in their lives.”  I don’t remember where I heard that saying, or if I coined it myself, but I’ve been using it for decades, and since I have been retired, it certainly is apropos to my lifestyle. However, for those of you who still care about ‘time’, Leap Second Time Adjustment Day is the day that the scientific types at the International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (IERS) make adjustments. They last only a heartbeat and go unnoticed by most, but without leap seconds our clocks would run too fast. About every year and a half, one extra second is added to Universal Coordinated Time (UCT) and atomic clocks around the world. This leap second accounts for the fact that the Earth’s rotation around its own axis, which determines the length of a day, slows down over time while the atomic clocks that we use to measure time, tick away at almost the same speed over millions of years. So, leap seconds are a means to adjust our clocks to the Earth’s slowing rotation.
Since 1972, a total of 27 seconds have been added. This means that the Earth has slowed down 27 seconds compared to atomic time since then. This does not mean that the days are 27 now seconds longer, only that the days on which the leap seconds are inserted had 86,401 instead of the usual 86,400 seconds. Leap seconds are inserted at the end of the last day in June or December. When that is the case, UCT ticks from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 before reverting to 00:00:00 (in the 12-hour format, this corresponds to 11:59:59 pm – 11:59:60 pm – 12:00:00 midnight). When that happens the last minute of the month has 61 instead of 60 seconds. The IERS observes the Earth’s rotation and compares it to atomic time. When the difference between the two approaches 0.9 seconds, they order a leap second to be added worldwide.
According to the IERS, there will actually be no adjustment made to the time tonight. The last adjustment was on June 30th, 2015. The last time an adjustment was made on December 31st was in 2016. That means that your New Years party that year was extended by one second — too bad you were probably too drunk to notice.
There will be no leap second adjustment made today so there is no need to stay up and “ring in the new second”.

Meteor Day (aka Meteor Watch Day and Look Up in the Sky Day)

The word “meteor” refers to a visible streak of light that is produced by debris falling to the Earth from space. We also call this beautiful phenomenon a “shooting star” or “falling star.”
The tradition of wishing upon a shooting star can be traced all the way back to 127 AD. Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer, hypothesized that the Gods occasionally liked to peer down at Earth from the other world. From time to time, a star or two would slip past them and fall through the heavens. Anyone who saw a shooting star knew that the Gods were paying attention so it was the perfect time to make a wish. Shooting stars are actually quite small. The average meteoroid is about the size of a pebble. Around 15,000 tons of meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere every day, but very few of them actually reach the surface. When they do, they are called “meteorites.”
To celebrate Meteor Day, spend some time stargazing tonight, or find out when the next meteor shower is going to take place. If you see a shooting star, remember to make a wish.

NOW (National Organization For Women) Day 

NOW (National Organization For Women) Day celebrates the date in 1966 when the National Organization For Women was founded. This link goes into much more detail about its creation than I care to in this Blog.

National Ice Cream Soda Day

According to my food-related holiday sources, today is National Ice Cream Soda Day. An Ice Cream Soda is a refreshing drink that combines ice cream and any carbonated beverage.
Ice cream sodas were invented by Robert Green in 1874 during Philadelphia’s 150th-anniversary celebration. Legend has it that Mr. Green added vanilla ice cream to the soda he sold after he ran out of ice (though Mr. Green claims he had dreamt up the innovation prior to the event). Intentional or not, it was a delicious way to keep the sodas cold, and they were an instant hit. Green was so proud of his creation that he even had the phrase “Originator of the Ice Cream Soda” engraved on his tombstone.
To celebrate National Ice Cream Soda Day, all you need is a carbonated soda, a scoop (or two) of ice cream, a tall glass, a spoon, and a straw.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1841 – The Erie Railroad rolled out its first passenger train.
  • In 1859 – Charles Blondin became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
  • In 1905 – Albert Einstein submitted a paper outlining his theory of special relativity. The text “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper” comprises the currently accepted theory about the relationship between space and time. The theory of special relativity is the basis for his theory of general relativity, which he published in 1916.
  • In 1908 – The Tunguska event left a 40-mile radius of Siberian forest flattened and scorched. The explosion knocked down trees and struck people unconscious up to 40 miles away. The devastation is believed to have been caused by the explosion of an asteroid or comet. It is the largest impact event in recorded history.
  • In 1934 – Adolf Hitler purged the Nazi Party by destroying the SA and bringing to power the SS in the “Night of the Long Knives.”
  • In 1935 – Fascists caused an uproar at the League of Nations when Haile Selassie of Ethiopia speaks.
  • In 1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s book, “Gone with the Wind,” was published. Margaret Mitchell’s story set in the American South during the American Civil War became one of the United States’ biggest best-sellers. The 1939 movie version starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable was similarly successful.
  • In 1950 – President Harry S Truman ordered United States troops into Korea and authorized the draft.
  • In 1953 – The first Corvette rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, MI. It sold for $3,250.
  • In 1958 – Congress passed a law authorizing the admission of Alaska as the 49th state in the Union.
  • In 1962 – Los Angeles Dodger Sandy Koufax pitched his first no-hitter in a game with the New York Mets.
  • In 1971 – The crew of Soviet spacecraft “Soyuz 11” died after the loss of their air supply. The cause of the tragedy was a faulty valve. The three cosmonauts had previously achieved the first docking of a spacecraft to a space station in history.
  • In 1971 – The Supreme Court allowed the New York Times to continue publishing the Pentagon Papers.
  • In 1971 – The 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified when Ohio became the 38th state to approve it. The amendment lowered the minimum voting age to 18.
  • In 1972 – The first leap second was added to UTC. Leap seconds are added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) from time to time to account for the Earth’s slowing rotation. UTC is the basis for the calculation of local times worldwide.
  • In 1974 – Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected in Toronto, Canada.
  • In 1977 – President Jimmy Carter announced his opposition to the B-1 bomber.
  • In 1986 – The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states could outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.
  • In 1994 – The United States Figure Skating Association stripped Tonya Harding of the 1994 national championship and banned her from the organization for life for an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
  • In 1998 – Officials confirmed that the remains of a Vietnam War serviceman buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery were identified as those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie.
  • 2000 – President Clinton signed the E-Signature Bill to give the same legal validity to an electronic signature as a signature in pen and ink.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.


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