Has 2008 been a long year for you? Join the club

The club of everyone, that is. Technically 2008 is an especially long year; not only is it a leap year, but 366 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 60 seconds into it, a “leap second” will be added to account for slight fluctuations in the rate at which the speed of earth’s rotation about its axis slowly decreases.
The announcement was made by The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, which unfortunately lacks the authority to adjust my road-race and track times in a way that would benefit my athletic resume.
So, assuming the organizers of the huge gathering at New York’s Times Square don’t catch on, you, drunk at home watching the 89th edition of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, might want to count down from eleven instead of ten as the apple drops.
Leap seconds–which can be inserted at the end of June, the end of December, or even both, as was done in 1972, the year they were first introduced–are not uncommon; in fact, they were used in 21 of the first 27 years of their existence. However, only once (2005) in the nine-year period from 1999 to 2007 did the rotation Nazis see the need to call for an adjustment.
Since 1972 not only included two leap seconds but was a leap year as well, it stands as the longest year in years. Maybe this explains why Richard Nixon won the presidential election in a rout amid a spectacularly low voter turnout.

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