Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time on our hands

A challenge as 2008 winds down:
Don’t waste a (leap) second

The year has been bad enough for much of the world, but it’s about to get longer – tonight at the stroke of 11:59:59, some crazed scientists have determined, we must add a second to 2008.

What to do.

After all the turmoil of the economy, war and disaster – natural and otherwise – we have an extra second on our hands this year, and it seems a shame to waste it, to just let it blow past like so much atomic dust.

Wikipedia has a lengthy explanation about why we need another second added to the master clock, yup, an atomic clock, that, for all you conspiracy buffs out there, controls our lives. (For the rest of us, we can pretend it doesn’t.) I gather it has something to do with the shimmying of a particular atom, though how anyone can figure that out....

So maybe, with a bit less than eight hours before this adjustment in the time of our lives, I can throw out to my vast cyber-readership (OK, it’s not vast, and on an average day maybe there’s 21 of you, but the word ‘vast’ sounded so nice) a challenge: Suggest how we can all best use an extra second this year.

C’mon – get to it! Time’s a-wastin’!

Pray? Initiate an act of intimacy? Take a last, deep breath, or give up a sigh for the end of days, at least those of a year that’s one second longer than scheduled.

Or how about this: Just laugh. It’ll be 2009 before you know it.

And here at The Real Muck, Bonnie and I wish you all a most excellent new year.

Christmas gone at last?

The holiday has its merits. I say this as a lapsed Jew (and, for that matter, a lapsed Unitarian), Christmas is OK – particularly as a reason for families to draw together, like Thanksgiving or even the Fourth of July. Families need all the help they can get, after all.

But as a religious occasion, I am very confused. Let’s see, peace on earth and goodwill and all that, and a jammed parking lot outside the local Best Buy store. Inside, the soothing tune of “Silent Night” is a backdrop to the booms and gunfire of demonstrator video games on half a dozen high-def TV and home theater systems. Loud enough, I’m sure, to send an Iraqi diving for cover. There could be a war outside (aside from the skirmish for a parking space), and who would know it?

The day after Christmas, everything you bought is 25 percent cheaper. That, I suppose, is when the folks who celebrate Orthodox Christmas begin their shopping season – if they happen to celebrate their holiday in an excess of gift-giving.

The Orthodox Christmas is Jan. 7, 2009, based on the Gregorian Calendar, rather than the Julian Calendar which for now is 13 days behind (not counting leap seconds, of course).
For those interested in the celebration, I found a nice account on the BBC Web site:

To an outside observer, it seems to make more sense than test-battling video games at Best Buy.

Blog envy

The Real Muck has had a surge of attention since Saturday, when Bonnie went “blogistic” on malware. More than 250 visits have been logged at Statcounter, most of them drawn by her account of the battle against the trojan that invaded her computer through a seemingly harmless but infected Web site.

I’ve been watching where visitors come from and what draws them, both of which are tracked in a general fashion by Statcounter. I can see whether they came through a link from another blog or Web site, and geographically the town or country of their Internet provider, among other characteristics.

They’ve been drawn from places as diverse as Claremont, Calif., and Hahira, Georgia; Sydney, Nova Scotia (we’ve been there!) and Billings, Montana; Mahwah, New Jersey, and Worland, Wyoming; Washington, D.C., and Macclesfield, Cheshire, United Kingdom, Palestine; towns in Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee – even Mexico; and places as remote as China, Japan and Thailand.

Some, like a visitor from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, departed with a click directly to the Malwarebytes Web site, suggesting they were dealing with the same problem that infected Bonnie’s computer.

And so far, we’ve had two messages from folks who, like Bonnie, cured the problem with the Malwarebytes software.

We particularly enjoyed this comment:

My daughter wants to know what kind of scented candle you like so she can light it in your honor.

I have just reformatted my computer because of the Vundo and Virtumonde viruses and she had just gotten a new motherboard and freshing reloaded XP and found to her horror her computer already was infected.

We used Malwarebytes and it cleaned her computer right up!

Thanks for raging against the idiots who love to create these things. They need to be blindfolded and bound in a room full of angry mothers with red hot kitchen utensils...

Our answer: Cinnamon will do nicely.

Today's fortune cookie message

Friends long absent are coming back to you.

Daily number: 232


Anonymous said...

I'm starting my 25 volume life history, opps the second is over. Well maybe next time. Back to my eggnog.


Mitch Hellman said...

I used the extra second to feel sympathetic toward George W. Bush. Seemed like the longest second of my life. Get out of town, Dubya!