[LEAPSECS] New Year in Times Square

John Hawkinson jhawk at MIT.EDU
Sat Jan 1 00:53:59 EST 2011

Steve wrote:

> US networks do not want the FCC fine for wardrobe malfunction or

> any of George Carlin's words, so their delay is enough to allow

> the feed to be suppressed by manual action.

The general reality is somewhat worse than that.

I was in NYC for Christmas, and 1010-WINS, the AM radio station,
had their time off by 10 seconds -- and they market it as a way to
set your clocks.

Back in Boston, let's check +1 617-MEridien7-1234, the supposed local
time signal.

"At the tone, Verizon time will be 12:47, EXACTLY, beep!" that
seems to match up.

But then the beep for 12:47:10 happens at 12:47:12.
And then the beep for 12:47:20 happens at 12:47:23.
And then the beep for 12:47:30 happens at 12:47:35.
I lost track of 12:47:40.
And then the beep for 12:47:50 happens at 12:47:48.
And then the beep for 12:48:00 happens at 12:48:00.

It's really depressing, and does contribute to the idea that
supposedly authoritative time sources just aren't reliable.

(The city hall clock in Cambridge, MA is off by four minutes this time
of year. And it rings a big bell audible for several blocks around it,
on the hour. I keep meaning to figure out who is responsible and see
what I can do to repair it. It moves by several minutes with
temperature shifts...)

--jhawk at mit.edu
John Hawkinson

p.s.: I would also think the networks could suspend their "tape" delay
for the New Year. How many people trust television and would be shocked
to discover they kissed/toasted/etc. 15 seconds off?

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