We all know that time and tide wait for no man … at least according to Chaucer. But, did you know you had to wait another second longer than usual this year for that ball to drop on New Year’s eve? Many of my friends have told me that this year seemed longer than years in the past … now you can know why:
Now, I have to admire the precision and the number of professionals who care about something like this so deeply. It is nice to know there are so many high paid scientists out there protecting us from things like this which might, after enough years, prove embarrassing … geeze … you would find yourself showing up a minute early for a meeting if you lived that long.
On a more serious note though, this should remind us all about how our modern world now has levels of precision that were unavailable … frankly inconceivable in prior decades. Well, if we can celebrate this, why do we so easily ingest comparisons of data today with decades when we did not have precision like this? We talk about the incidence of hurricanes over larger periods of time than we have had radar and satellite imagery. We talk about changes in temperature in fractions of a degree when temperatures a hundred years ago were +/- a full degree precision!
And, on a personal note, I recently conducted a range of experiments with the loggers we have been using to measure thermostat performance and, much to my amusement, I discovered that the mass of the logger itself biases the measurements! Not much mind you, but in comparison to adding one second to the end of a year, a lot! It doesn’t change anything I have been saying about how important it is to measure temperatures in a home, but it does point out that comparisons of data over time should be treated with caution.
Happy New Year in any event!!