Slip into the future

Sicily’s mystery clocks take a bite out of time

Editorial Staff
June 16, 2011

Always running late? Head to Sicily. In Catania and other cities on the southern Italian island, life-according to digital clocks-runs 15 to 20 minutes ahead of standard time.


This as-yet-unexplained phenomenon has sparked the curiosity of two computer experts of St. Microelectronics, a semiconductor corporation based in Catania. Andrea De Luca and Francesco Nicosia are leading the efforts to discover why hundreds of digital clocks seem to be set ahead.

When Nicosia posed this question on his Facebook page, ‘How many of you have had problems with alarm clocks, microwave clocks, etc?' he immediately received a deluge of comments from followers: ‘I know I re-set the time on my microwave, but it keeps changing back.' ‘It's true even my microwave is ahead by about 7 min ... how strange.'

Some have attributed the problem to the presence of Mount Etna, Sicily's active volcano, and its electromagnetic fields that may be the answer to sudden changes in the delivery of electric currents. 



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