One of the things that to me sums up the utter futility of existence and the inevitability of humanity's eventual extinction is the fact that the world is slowing down. About every 18 months or so, the Earth takes about a second longer to rotate on its axis, ever so slowly grinding to a halt. There's at least a possibility that when this happens, the Earth will be tidally locked to the Sun, with one side in sun-scorched perpetual daylight (probably Texas, they frankly won't notice the extra heat) and the other side eternally dark. The future is really bleak.
But between now and then, we have to handle the problem of keeping track of the time. There are two main sources of time; a whole bunch of atomic clocks averaged together to produce International Atomic Time, and the astronomical time that comes from measuring how long the earth actually takes to spin on its axis. This latter time, named UTC ("coordinated universal time"), is used in science and engineering. For most purposes, it's the time reference that we want our watches, clocks, phones, and computers to be set by. Because UTC is based on the Earth's actual spinning, it slowly falls behind atomic time. Every time the gap is more than 0.9 seconds, an extra second is added to UTC—a leap second—to bring the two back in sync.
The next major update to Windows 10, likely due in October, and the next major version of Windows Server, named Windows Server 2019, will both include support for leap seconds. Whenever UTC needs an extra second to catch up, the clock in Windows will include the extra 61st second before rolling over to the next minute.
The University of Basel has dozens of ancient papyrus texts in its collection, but one has been known for centuries as the Basel Papyrus. The two-thousand-year-old work has been in the university’s collection since the 1500s, when it was acquired from a lawyer and art collector named Basilius Amerbach. And throughout those 500 years, no one could decipher it.
The writing on the Basel Papyrus looked like the ancient Greek script commonly used during the waning days of the Roman Empire, around the 3rd century CE, but the letters were reversed, like writing held up to a mirror.
“A few individual letters were readable before, but no sense could be established,” Sabine Huebner, professor of ancient history at the University of Basel, told Ars. “There were several theories circulating [about] why the papyrus was written in mirror script: to hide a secret message? As a joke? A medieval forgery?” Generations of archivists have puzzled over the mystery since the papyrus arrived in the University’s collection, but until recently, they’d all been stumped.
Comcast is abandoning its attempt to purchase 21st Century Fox properties, the cable company announced today.
"Comcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the 21st Century Fox assets," Comcast said in a statement.
That doesn't mean Comcast is done trying to buy media properties, however. Comcast's statement said that it will focus on its attempt to purchase Sky, a British media and pay-TV company. Comcast last week raised its bid for Sky, topping a previous offer made by 21st Century Fox.
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