Wednesday, January 11, 2006

2005's last minute will have 61 seconds

World clocks will be set back by one whole second at midnight on Dec 31 this year.
Researchers have said that the Earth has not been able to keep up with its rotational pace. As such, December 31's last minute will have 61 seconds instead of 60.
Following advice of astronomers, who use observations of stars to monitor Earth's spin, the International Telecommunication Union has decided to adjust the world's clock.
"People who have short-wave radios and nothing better to do on New Year's Eve can actually hear this 'leap second' correction being made," said Roger Sinnott, a senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine.
Astronomers have said that tuning into the short-wave station WWV at 5 or 10 MHz, or CHU at 3335 kHz, will allow people to count 61 official seconds before the minute before midnight at Greenwich.
If everything went right, all personal computers, GPS receivers, and radio-controlled clocks around the world will automatically adjust themselves, they said, adding that the last time a leap second was added was on Dec 31, 1998, before most of today's computers were manufactured.
Some communications engineers have however said that the insertion of a leap second is a needless annoyance. Astronomers have on the other hand said, that it would signal the end of mankind's fundamentally Sun- and star-based timekeeping system.
The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) has announced the introduction of a "time step" at the end of December to add a "leap second" as 2006 arrives.
Leap seconds are needed to keep clocks in step with Earth's rotation, which varies by several thousandths of a second per day. Slowing down the clocks every year or two keeps them coordinated. As 2005 transitions to 2006, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) will be retarded by 1.0 second. This essentially means that the last minute in 2005 will be 61 seconds long: December 31, 2005, 23:59:59; December 31, 2005, 23:59:60; January 1, 2006, 00:00:00. This adjustment will affect UTC and all time scales based on UTC. Loran-C and GPS will not be adjusted physically, however.
For GPS, the leap second correction, contained within the UTC data of the navigation message transmitted by satellites, will change. After the leap second, GPS will be ahead of UTC by 14 seconds.

Barramundi on holidays

Barramundi remain off-limits this holiday season along Queensland's east coast.
The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) senior fisheries management officer Anita Wohlsen said that the Barramundi closed season was aimed at protecting stocks of barramundi during their spawning period.
"The closed season allows fish to spawn and stocks to replenish ensuring healthy fish stocks for current and future generations," Ms Wohlsen said.
"The annual closed season for Barramundi along Queensland's east coast will be in place until midday February 1, 2006.
"The on-the-spot fine for taking a Barramundi during this period is $300.
"While barramundi will be off-limits in most areas, anglers wanting to catch the iconic fish can still throw in a line at 18 of Queensland's stocked impoundments where a fisher is permitted to have one barramundi in their possession.

Don't dump your fishy friends

The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) is urging people not to dump their unwanted fishy friends when they go on holidays this Christmas.
DPI&F principal scientist Peter Jackson said most aquarium and some pond fish species are not native to Queensland and have the potential to cause serious environmental damage if released into local creeks or streams.
"Pet fish should never be released into dams and creeks or flushed down the toilet. People need to make arrangements for their pet fish to be looked after on the holidays or they need to dispose of them appropriately," Dr Jackson said.
"If people have fish which they no longer want, they should dispose of them by putting them in an ice slurry to humanely kill them. Alternatively, they may be able to give them back to the shop where they were purchased.
"Pet, ornamental and bait fish can all too easily turn into pests when released into our waterways. A few non-native fish could become thousands in the wild and may compete aggressively with native fish for food and space, degrade habitat, and introduce exotic diseases and parasites.
"Prevention is our best protection. Pest fish can upset the balance of a whole ecosystem and when they become established in a water body they can become impossible to eradicate."

International sailing summit

Connect to Sailing's overriding goal is to revitalise grass roots participation in all categories of sailing and put sailing firmly back into growth with a focus on youth.
Sailing is a lifetime's sport - and it is part of International Sailing Federation (ISAF) mandate to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to participate and benefit from the sport.
As the world governing body for the sport of sailing, ISAF is in a position of influence. ISAF has a community - its members - the 114 national sailing authorities around the world.

Hook Island buoy

Mariners are advised that the unlit red marker buoy between Stanley Point and Cockatoo Point, Hook Island in approximate position latitude 20°04.3815'S, longitude 148°54.1439'E is reported to be no longer in position. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution in this area. AUS Charts Affected - 252, 254, 370, 825

Newfoundland fisherman's saying.

'Tis another year gone
God Bless you an' yours
May 'ee grant you
As you bend at d'oars.

Best wishes of the Season and Long may your big jib draw!

Cap'n Dan