What to Do With the Free Bonus Second We're All Getting This Weekend

Suggestions for enjoying your leap second

Atomic Clock

NIST

The Earth's rotation doesn't line up perfectly with our calculation of it, so to keep things consistent, we have to adjust. That's why this weekend will have a leap second. This Saturday, just before midnight Greenwich Mean Time, clocks will count to 60 seconds, instead of 59.

How should you spend that free, unexpected single second? Here are nine ideas.

1. A Japanese computer can sort you out from 36 million other faces in one second. Play and lose an absurdly huge game of hide-and-seek in that time.

2. An electromagnetic pulse lets you cut through a hunk of steel in 200 milliseconds. Do it fives times and get that shed you've been meaning to build taken care of.

3. A high-res, high-speed 3-D printer can make five meters of whatever you want in one second. Unwind by using the technique to start making a model car like researchers for the project did.

4. A super-fast camera can take 1 trillion frames per second. A self-portrait can be a fun art project. Do it 1 trillion times.

Capturing Video at the Speed of Light

MIT

5. The Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG is a speed demon. Travel to a nearby neighbor's place by going at 273 feet per second.

6. The 2007 Jaguar XK has a safety system if you'll be going that fast. Its hood can bounce pedestrians out of harm's way, and do it more than 30 times in a second. (Note: leap second preparation is also important.)

7. Grab 23 friends and try out a Dutch superbus. That one can take you and your friends 227 feet down the road.

8. Start an experiment! The current record rests with the pitch-drop experiment--85 years and counting. Assuming that experiment magically breaks when you start yours, one second will put you .000000000373 percent of the way to the record.

Pitch-Drop Experiment

John Mainstone/University of Queensland

9. Researchers have discovered a way to wirelessly transfer 2.5 terabits of data in a second. How much information is that? Enough to spend your extra second being a pal by sending a friend Blu-Ray copies of the six Star Wars movies (and one more of your choice).

Have some thoughts of your own on how to put those 1,000 milliseconds to use? Add them to the comments.