I heard on NPR today that 2009 will have to wait an extra second to coordinate clocks with the Earth’s rotation.
Rarely do we get handed the gift of time, so I got to thinking about what I would do with an extra second of time. A second isn’t really enough time to do anything significant, but it sometimes makes the difference for some people whether or not they step in front of a bus or not at a particular moment. A second is also a lifetime in most Olympic sports, sometimes determining the difference between first place, a gold medal and fourth place and nothing.
But, my mind raced to more practical calculations and I pondered this:
If I can type 60 words a minute, that means I can type out an extra word in one second. And, if there are 6 billion people on the planet at any given point, and if only 30% were literate enough to be able to type one word, that is 1,800,000,000 extra words.
Now, the result may be closer to a million monkeys on a million typewriters, but you never know. Would 1.8 billion words impart some human knowledge or wisdom we would never have know if we didn’t have that extra second?
But then again, it is just an extra second. What could you possibly do in one second?