UnNews:World's most unreliable clock reset again

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World's most unreliable clock reset again

We distort, you deride

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23 January 2015

Clock face sm

The unreliable clock.

CHICAGO, Illinois -- Just over 67 years ago, a group of disaffected atomic scientists, envious of the attention given to their colleagues who were making boring things like atomic clocks rather than exciting things like atomic bombs, decided to make their own clock. In retrospect, this turned out to be a bad decision. While those scientists who were making atomic clocks had been inspired by taking apart their parents' alarm clock at three years of age, the ones who were making bombs had been blowing up mailboxes on Halloween. Nevertheless, the mailbox bombers got together and made a clockface, a big hand and a little hand, just like they had learned long ago. There was then an extended period of confusion about what made the hands go round. They were almost ready to swallow their pride and ask the clock disassemblers, when one of their number stated boldly, "Screw it! We'll just put the hands wherever we want them!"

This vision has been maintained by the custodians of the clock ever since. Once they realized that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, it was only a matter of devising a plausible excuse for adding one more stopped clock to the rather large number that already existed.

"Why don't we make it like the time to midnight? You know, like on New Year's Eve. Five four three two one BOOM! BOOM BOOM BOOM!"

The idea was an immediate success. However, the implementation was less so. The initial committee meeting that decided that the clock should be initially set to 11:53. Yet the original clock, which was really just a picture of a clock at that stage, was set to 11:52, as there was some degree of uncertainty about the big hand and the little hand.

Every once in a while, the custodians of the clock become weary of seeing the same time on the clock and have another committee meeting. Despite great differences of opinion as to where the hands should be placed this time, it is always close to midnight. So far, the positions chosen have only covered 2.2% of the possible twelve symbolic hours. It is reliably reported that none of the custodians wants it to get too far from the "BOOM BOOM BOOM" time.

The recent reset to 11:57 has again been reported widely, although there has been no plausible explanation of how this clock's time relates to that of the clocks that the real mass of humanity watches. Neither has the apparent immunity of this clock to things like daylight saving time and leap seconds been explained. We are assured that it is all highly symbolic, yet the sounds of raucous laughter and shouts of "BOOM! BOOM!" from the latest committee meeting do little to win our confidence.

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