(Roughly) Daily

Special New Year’s Alert: Not So Fast!…

One must be careful when screaming out best wishes at the stroke of midnight tonight…  as midnight’s coming one second later than usual this year: The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service has announced that a leap second will be added on December 31, 2008 at 23h 59m 60s… meaning that this year will be exactly one second longer. The last leap second (added to correct for rotational fluctuations in the earth’s orbit) was incremented on Dec 31, 2005– and caused wide-spread gun-jumping.

As we count down to -1, we might recall that it was on this date in 1695 that William III introduced “the Window Tax” in England (to take effect with the beginning of 1696).  As windows were available then only to the well-off, the Window Tax was a method of imposing tax relative to a taxpayer’s prosperity, but without the controversy that then surrounded the idea of an income tax.  (Some things never change…)

It is alleged by many that the phrase “daylight robbery” originated with the introduction of this tax (though the OED is not convinced :-).

Written by (Roughly) Daily

December 31, 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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