[LEAPSECS] How good could civil timekeeping be?

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Fri Feb 15 13:20:17 EST 2008

> It's pretty short -- it won't take longer than reading (not to mention

> writing) one of these emails.

Interesting historical take. A lot has happened in software design
since the referenced technologies. I don't reject the essence of the
story, however.

> The relevant Cambridge here is the one containing MIT.

Ah, yes - which leads us right to the MIT seal. See:

http://web.mit.edu/graphicidentity/symbols/seal.html, but also

for instance.

I was interpreting Cambridge vs NJ more along the lines of mens et
manus. Maybe NJ is manus et mens?

> I don't think ZAMM quite fits here. This isn't classic vs. romantic

> beauty, but two schools of thought on what classic beauty actually is.

Indeed. The "right" answer is alluded to in the essay. What survives
the evolutionary process is by definition well designed. A risk
analysis is a way to grease the skids of evolution whether systems are
designed one way or the other (mind first or hand first)

> I'm not familiar enough with the other two to comment usefully, except

> that Burning Man sounds like far too dangerous a place for me -- too

> many unfamiliar deaths lurking just around the corner.

I recommend Stewart Brand's "How Building's Learn" for a discussion of
two similar design trends in architecture. In general, software
architecture philosophy is rather too self-referential and could do
with seeking design paradigms from outside the community. In
particular, timekeeping is more than just a question of software.

I think we all share a common interest in keeping death unfamiliar.

Rob Seaman

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