Earth, the real goat, breaks long-term speed record

The old planet Earth, known for its cunning rather than its youthful speed and explosiveness, put on a classic earlier this summer, completing the fastest spin on record. All the haters and skeptics who have excluded Earth are now sobbing, absolutely sobbing.

On June 29, the Earth’s rotation took 1.59 milliseconds shorter than the league’s average of 24 hours, and an estimated 7.97 billion viewers witnessed this astonishing athletic feat. That’s the fastest rotation on Earth since they started tracking statistics in 1955 with the advent of the first functional atomic clock. But as we all know, athletes only get stronger and faster. Back then Earth was competing with a bunch of plumbers and postmen.

The world record is verified by the International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (the governing body of time itself) and first reported by Timeanddate, a popular fan blog of time news, time scores and time trading rumors. As Timeanddate points out, June’s record performance didn’t come out of nowhere. Well, it comes from the vacuum of space, but you know what I mean; Earth has been enjoying a late-career resurgence. Although the Earth’s rotation has generally been slower since the rookie year (about 3 milliseconds per day per century; so a late Cretaceous day was about 23 hours and 30 minutes long), the Earth’s rotation has been increasing over the past few seasons hurry up.

The spikes in the graph are due to the position of the Moon, which affects Earth’s performance like a pitcher’s hand-picked catcher. Seasonal declines are due to atmospheric changes that cause drag to increase or decrease; like many pitchers, the earth gets looser in the (northern hemisphere) summer. Chart

The reason for Earth’s return to Player of the Year is unclear. Some think a new training regimen; others a new offseason diet. Still others speculate that Earth’s coach Sun’s match-calling philosophy has changed to better suit Earth’s abilities. Earth has also been plagued by rumors of the use of PGH (Planetary Growth Hormone), although those rumors may have been sown by its closest rivals Mars and Venus. “It’s certainly strange,” said Professor Matt King of the University of Tasmania. “Obviously something has changed.”

Scientists who are basically saber metrology nerds have many theories, one of the most popular being the glacial equilibrium adjustment. In this case, climate change is melting the ice caps, reducing the weight of the Earth’s poles and decompressing the planet, which is wider than it is tall, into a more spherical shape. Like a figure skater putting his hand in, this will make the earth spin faster.

Another theory involves Chandler wobble, which is a periodic drift of the center of rotation. Over the past few years — likely driven by changes in ocean circulation — the wobble has been at an all-time low. Earth is more of a football thrown in a tight spiral than Peyton Manning’s injured duck.

“Given that both of these changes could be related to mass shifting on the Earth’s surface, it’s probably not a bad guess that these things are somehow connected,” King said. “I don’t know if we’ve come any further in understanding what’s going on, but I’d say there’s probably something going on in the climate system or in the ocean.”

For whatever reason, Earth’s recent performance has been so impressive that they are considering changing the rules of the sport. In a few more years below 24 hours, we’ll need the first-ever “negative leap second”—a jump of a second in International Atomic Time (the official international time) to realign with Earth’s rotation. Of course, Barry Bonds hit a bunch of pieces and set a bunch of records. But does he force us to jump forward in time? Earth is the greatest ever.

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