Atomic clocks

Leap seconds are introduced because, according to our reference standard — the atomic clock — the earth’s rotation is slowing down.

But surely it’s all relative? The earth’s rotation could be staying the same, and the oscillation of caesium speeding up, for reasons we don’t understand. Is it actually possible to tell the difference? Is atomic oscillation calibrated against something other than other atomic oscillations?

Parsing CSV files with embedded newlines in Perl

Need to parse CSV (comma-separated values) files which contain embedded newlines in the fields, as produced by many applications including MS Excel? The usual Perl modules Text::CSV, Text::CSV_XS and CSV.pm can’t do it. Fortunately there is one that can, called Text::xSV. Find it on CPAN. I’m posting about it here to raise awareness because Google searches threw up lots of people asking about this but the answer was not obvious.