I’ve been working in Serbia the last few days. The past weeks at home in the Netherlands, E and I noticed how the clock on the microwave in the kitchen was running behind. I’d arrive at the railway station in the morning to find that I was actually later than I thought. Had I been cycling slower than expected? But no it was the clock in the kitchen, that was off by a few minutes.
E sent me a link yesterday evening to a Dutch newspaper article that explains how this happened. [Update: Here’s the original press release by the European network of transmission system operators. The Guardian has an article in English, as does Ars Technica]
Energy producers in Serbia and Kosovo, as a result of the ongoing arguments and tension between Serbia and Kosovo, currently deliver less energy to the European grid than planned. To compensate for that and balance the European network, the overall frequency of the alternating current has been lowered a tiny bit (0,004Hz of 50Hz) across Europe since mid January. Clocks like on our microwave use the frequency of the electric power to keep time. When the frequency drops, their counting slows. The Serbia and Kosovo energy producers caused me to nearly miss my train recently!
So this week I am working in the place that makes the clocks run slow.