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As if 2008 really needed to be any longer than it already is...

December 17th, 2008 (10:36 pm)
amused

current mood: amused

I have all the respect in the world for science. But as with anything, some people can take respect for science too far. This usually comes in the form of portraying science as some sort of inherently rational arbiter of everything in the world and science as being run by scientists who are only concerned with a noble pursuit of pure truth. In this fantasy world, scientists are all completely logical and reasonable human beings, only doing what is for the good of the greater society.

Bullshit. Case in point (yanked from gillen):

A single leap second will be added at the end of the year to accommodate accumulated slow-down in the Earth's rotation.

The decision, made earlier this year by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, will adjust Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is used to calibrate clocks worldwide.

This will be the 24th leap second added to the world's clocks since 1972, and the first one added since the end of 2005. No leap seconds were added between the end of 1998 and the end of 2005 due to a temporary acceleration in the Earth's rotation.

The leap second will be added on 31 December 2008 at 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds GMT, so you perfectionists on the west coast of the US should make your adjustments at 03:59:59pm PST December 31st.

Q: If it's 'Coordinated Universal Time', why is the abbreviation 'UTC'? Is that the abbreviation for the French? And, if so, shouldn't it be 'TUC'?

A: When the International Telecommunication Union decided that they wanted a single acronym for Universal Time across all member languages, they couldn't get sufficient agreement on whether the English 'CUT' (Coordinated Universal Time) or the French 'TUC' (Temps Universel Coordonné) should apply, so they compromised on the acronym 'UTC', which fits the phrasing and word order in precisely none of the member languages. The English-speaking members then retroactively argued that it stood for 'Universal Time - Coordinated', even though 'Coordinated Universal Time' is still the official term in English. Yes, public monies were spent on this stupid argument.


A "compromise acronym". Wow. Now that will certainly go down as one of the all-time great moments in international diplomacy. I feel so much more confident about our ability to solve the whole Middle East thing now.




Sorry to say it, pdx42, but I think the following story outdoes all of your help desk calls of the week, much as I enjoy reading them.

Beware the Spartans, shadowy and deadly enemies of computers everywhere (yanked from "apocalypsos):

Spotted on Not Always Right ...

Customer: “Hi, my son says that I have spartans on my laptop and I should bring it to you guys.”

Me: “…Ma’am? Spartans?”

Customer: “Yes, I called my son at school and told him that screens keep popping up all the time, and he said that I have spartans.”

Me: “Oh! You mean trojans! That’s a possibility; let me run this analyzer on your laptop real quick and we’ll see what’s going on.”

Customer: “Young man, my son is in college and he says it has spartans. You just stand here in a little uniform and make minimum wage. I think my son knows what he is talking about.”

Me: “You’re right ma’am. I was hoping to run a diagnostic and find out that it wasn’t spartans, but just by looking at the login screen, I can tell that you probably have about 300 of the little guys running around.”

Customer: “300?! Is that bad?”

Me: “It’s horrible. They cram themselves into a bottleneck and kill wave after wave of data, until there is a wall of dead programs blocking any more traffic through your computer.”

Customer: “Oh, that just figures. I’m going to go buy a new computer.”

Me: “Ok, ma’am, I think that would be best.”





And anyone who wants more scary stories of creepy things that go bump in the night, stay tuned for...ATTACK OF THE INVISIBLE HAND!!!. All together now...AHHHHH!!!!!!!




Also, don't forget today's bonus feature, How to Use Your Drawing Skills to Quickly Become Debt-Free