[LEAPSECS] How good could civil timekeeping be?

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Wed Feb 13 15:47:49 EST 2008

In message <B857B583-EE7F-40CA-9206-C760400C9CE1 at noao.edu>, Rob Seaman writes:

>The heart of civil timekeeping is the dynamic tension between the two

>definitions of the "second":


> - as 1/86400 of a mean solar day, and

> - as the SI unit of time

I have still not found where the first definition have any importance
in civil timekeeping, apart from sundials. Can you give more detail ?

>If this distinction had been made crystal clear in the beginning, we

>wouldn't be having this discussion now.

You are barking up the wrong tree again.

The problem at the heart of civil timekeeping is that the rules for
counting time are only known for the next six months at any one

How we count, what we count and what it adds up to in the long run,
is totally without relevance in this picture, the problem is, crudely
put, that we know how many seconds there are in the next six months,
but not the next 12 months.

It's not the seconds, it's how we count them.

Poul-Henning Kamp | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk at FreeBSD.ORG | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer | BSD since 4.3-tahoe
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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