Let’s consider what this means for evolutionary theory and the age of the universe.

Assuming that the Earth’s day has been getting longer by one second every 2 years (which is the conservative estimate according to those numbers)…

This means that the Earth’s day has grown 1 hour over the past 7,200 years.

Heck, let’s imagine all the math is wildly wrong and a leap second should only be added every century. Now, the Pleistocene epoch started 1.8 million years ago, which is the era during which man evolved from ape. In that time, there would have been 18,000 leap seconds added, or 300 minutes, which comes out to 5 hours. If we go further back, another 7 million years, the day didn’t even exist, we had negative time! Obviously that’s wrong, but I’m already including a massive margin of error - 60:1 in favor of the scientists.

OK, so let’s say it’s a function, say that the effect of the moon on our day increases as our orbit slows (which makes sense). What’s the function? How can the function give us a second every 2 years for the past 30 years, but keep the length of the day relatively reasonable (20 hours or so) over the millenia? The Earth’s rotation is apparently unpredictable and accelerates or slows down, but what’s the explanation for that behavior?

I find this problem so fascinating :)

… if the earth is 6000 years old, problem evaporates!

It’s a non-linear problem.

Obviously. But it’d be difficult to explain even as a function. Assuming the random acceleration/deceleration of the Earth’s orbit holds true, what causes that?

Like I said, it’s a fascinating problem :)

The article doesn’t say. The Wikipedia entry claims 1.7 milliseconds every century. Probably this value was fairly different a few aeons ago.

This means that the Earth’s day has grown 1 hour over the past 7,200 years.

Heck, let’s imagine all the math is wildly wrong and a leap second should only be added every century.

You’re confusing leap seconds with changes to the Earth’s rotation.

Leap seconds are used to correct the fact that the Earth’s rotation is a very slight bit off year to year. They’re used to correct for temporary aberrations in the rotation rate, not permanent changes.

Obviously. But it’d be difficult to explain even as a function. Assuming the random acceleration/deceleration of the Earth’s orbit holds true, what causes that?

Like I said, it’s a fascinating problem :)[/quote]

don’t forget the earth’s mass increases each year due to meteroites and stuff.

Also, GPS time is off by I think 8 seconds these days – they don’t have leap seconds at all.

I notice there’s more bullshit these days as well.

It’s actually off by 13 seconds, the number of leap seconds that have occurred since the beginning of the GPS epoch in 1980.

I notice there’s more bullshit these days as well.[/quote]

fine fine, i forgot that tidal braking swamps the effect of the relatively tiny mass gain by the earth.

http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2000-06/961342625.As.r.html

The tidal effects of the Moon, and to a lesser extent the Sun and other planets, are now much more important for influencing the motions of the Earth than the bombardment of matter from space. There’s a long, slow decrease in rotation speed that has been going on since the Moon formed, due to the tides raised by the Moon on the Earth, and the subsequent loss of rotational kinetic energy from the Earth by frictional heating.