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Just remember, as you lean in for that New Year's kiss, that the earth will eventually be swallowed by the sun.
Just remember, as you lean in for that New Year's kiss, that the earth will eventually be swallowed by the sun.  
Happy New Year … but wait a second: scientists turn back time in 2008
By Tom Boyd

December 9, 2008 — It’s been a long year – but it’s about to get longer.

The economy isn’t the only thing slowing down; it seems the earth itself is screeching to a halt (albeit very, very, very slowly) and therefore the world’s timekeepers must artificially tack one second onto the end of the year to keep their atomic clocks accurate, according to a story printed in the Rocky Mountain News Dec. 9.

Which leads me to two questions: First, who the hell are, “the world’s timekeepers?” I’m picturing a covey of little bird-like men in lab coats, gathering in the industrial basement of a large University in Brussels or Leipzig, humming and muttering and constantly checking their watches.

And second, atomic clocks are supposed to be accurate to within 1 gazzilion googles … so how is the monstrously large “second” supposed to make everything OK again?

Either way the planet is doomed. The equations which describe the orbits of the planets, first devised by Johannes Kepler in the late 1500s, have been fine-tuned with the help of more than a few famous scientists (Newton, Einstein, you know the drill) and we’ve discovered that the Earth’s gravitational interaction with the sun and the other planets is grinding our happy little sphere to a halt.

They should make a movie about it, eh? Perhaps call it, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and find a dreamboat actor with questionable intelligence and ambiguous sexual behavior to play the leading role? Or maybe they’ve already done that.

But I digress. If you’re worried about the Earth grinding to a halt, have no fear. Our planet is doomed to be swallowed by the sun long before it stops spinning. Experts in the field aren’t sure if the sun, as it matriculates through its various stages of death, will expand beyond the boundaries of the earth’s orbit or simply edge right up alongside us, making our planet hotter than Mercury and drowning us in electromagnetic waves of fury, evaporating our seas, ripping away our atmosphere, and blasting us with a storm of particles so intense that even the smallest microscopic cells of life will be torn to pieces, leaving nothing alive.

In order to stick around long enough to see this better-than-high-definition, real-life destruction of our planet, you’ll have to live a long, long, long time (and presumably find a new place to live). But time is marching on, and in 7.5 billion years, whether you’re here or not, the Earth will become uninhabitable.

So I recommend enjoying it while it lasts – preferably with a really rockin’ New Year’s party.

And as you’re heading into 2009 remember two things: the planet is doomed to a fiery death, and you must time your kisses appropriately, because this year’s countdown goes like this: 5 … 4… 3… 2… 1… 1… HAPPY NEW YEAR!



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