[LEAPSECS] How good could civil timekeeping be?

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Fri Feb 15 18:42:39 EST 2008

In message <841D8957-BBA3-4D7E-B051-F61DAF50B89F at noao.edu>, Rob Seaman writes:

>> So far I have yet to see one single example of non-astronomy software

>> that needs changed to handle loss of leap-seconds.


>And you have access to ATC and nuclear control systems? Has anyone at

>Boeing or GE even been informed of the looming doom of mean solar time?

You are deliberately trying very hard to misunderstand what I am
telling you.

Neither the ATC nor the nuclear control systems care about where
the sun or the stars is in the sky. They care about a civil
timescale, but it does not have to be connected in any way to any
extraterrestial objects.

The correct choice of timescale would rightly be TAI, but they
were told, by BIPM and others, that TAI was reserved for
scientfic use and that it was inappropriate for their needs.

>> Given how much software we have seen between the two of us, that

>> brings the probability of finding any such software well below 1%.


>Please read Feynman's description of the Challenger investigation.

>Your statistics are bogus.

No, my statiscs are not bogus. You're just trying to evade the
argument by trumping me with an authority who talks about an
entirely different subject of statistics.

The fact that I have not seen any such software over the course
of a quarter of a century is pretty damn well indicative that
such software is very rare.

The fact that you cannot point at one such piece of software
is a guarantee that you don't know of any either.

That makes two of us, which reduces the probability of such
software existing even further.

>> The first thing you have to do, is turn the "virtually zero"

>> into "non-zero" by finding at least one piece of software outside

>> the realm of astronomy, which would be adversely affected by the

>> discontinuation of leap-seconds.


>I am (obviously) not the one pushing the initiative for change.

No, but you are obviously they guy who badly needs a killer-argument
to stop the change from happening.

You dont seriously expect your adversary to deliver you the munitions
you need to demolish his position ?

You need to show that there is a real chance of a risk, before they
are going to consent to carry out a full-blown risk study.

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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