Big Sean Vexed by Acceleration of Earth’s Rotation

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Science time!
Photo-Illustration: The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

Every so often, the celebs open a little window to their interior lives and, kindly, invite us to look inside. Martha Stewart? Patiently waiting for her friends to die so she can date their husbands, as she divulged in a recent interview. Ben Affleck? Happiest when surrounded by chaos, or so his wife’s Instagram suggests. Kim Kardashian? Might “literally … eat poop every single day” if it made her look younger, she admitted to the New York Times. Big Sean? Having something of a temporal panic, oh no, as evidenced by the comments section of Shade Room’s Instagram.

On Wednesday, TSR posted a summary of a recent news report announcing that the Earth has for some reason sped up its rotation, dropping teeny increments of time from some of our days. June 29 marked the shortest day on record, by 1.59 milliseconds, a discovery that troubles scientists — who fear this acceleration could eventually amount to a whole second lost — and also Big Sean. “This has been going on, its not just a ‘coincidence’ that it feels like time and life is flying by more than when we were kids,” he (or whoever runs his account) wrote under the post. “Its actually moving faster on a quantum level so that fact we can physically feel n see it in real time means it honestly, really needs attention.”

Personally, I see where Big Sean is coming from: According to this website, it is August now, even though last week it was June, and meanwhile I keep writing the date as 2020. Big Sean is also correct that this phenomenon has been ongoing: Leonid Zotov of Lomonosov Moscow State University, a co-author of a study announcing the spin change that published in March, told CBS News the planet’s rotation picked up starting in 2016, and “this year it rotates quicker than in 2021 and 2020.” Zotov said the tides could be to blame, though the astrophysicist who authored the TimeandDate.com blog post on this event reports that “scientists are not sure” why Earth’s rotation speeds up sometimes “and struggle to make predictions about the length of day more than a year ahead.” To me, this all seems pretty tentative. But if the pattern continues, those milliseconds may one day stretch to a full second lost from each day, potentially demanding an adjustment to the atomic clock. Which, I’m sure, would mean something.

However! It is worth remembering that there are 1,000 milliseconds in a second; it’s going to take a very long time to hit the mark, and I am not confident Earth will even exist at that point. I don’t want to trouble Big Sean with that, though. He seems vexed enough by particles and time’s cruel tricks and the fleeting beauty of existence. As ever, much to think about.





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