It’s Gigasecond Eve!

Friday July 14, 2017 at 2:40:00 UTC the UNIX seconds clock rolls over to 1,500,000,000 seconds or 1.5 Gigaseconds. This clock is used by basically all computer systems now. So I’m calling Thursday Gigasecond Eve. What are your party plans?

Since a gigasecond lasts 31 years and 248 days or so (about 8 months) a half gigasecond is over 15 years. (See https://www.epochconverter.com or another time site that shows time in seconds.) This is not something that happens very often. It’s roughly equivalent to a New Year’s decade rollover like 2000 or 2010 in level of timekeeping importance.

So how will you celebrate 1.5 Gigaseconds? Planning time is short now, but it’s not too late to do something you’ll remember. I’m quite disappointed that all the news sites aren’t writing articles about how to plan a perfect Gigasecond eve. Every year they do this with New Year’s and that’s only every 31,557,600 seconds after all. This is clearly a bigger event!

Ok, this is all very tongue-in-cheek, but really, what time unit is more fundemental? We use metric seconds to count time when it’s less than a second (millisecond, microsecond, nanosecond), but when time is longer than a second we use difficult units like minutes and hours that are hard to work with. This makes little sense.

I have no expectation that we’ll abandon minutes and hours anytime soon though. We’re all used to them. And after all, 86.4 kiloseconds per day is a bit awkward. It’s just a lot easier to say “24/7” instead of “86,400/604,800". That doesn’t have the same ring. But for scientific and engineering measurements, kiloseconds, Megaseconds, and Gigaseconds might just make a lot of sense.

But if you do have a Gigasecond Eve party, enjoy! And tell me about it in the comments. Happy 1.5 Gsec!

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