[LEAPSECS] UTC Redefinition Advanced

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Fri Oct 22 18:41:08 EDT 2010

In message <0254D452-98BF-4A46-A63D-94AEB158E4F6 at noao.edu>, Rob Seaman writes:

>Ok - so you weren't criticizing my estimate of the scale of the

>economic impact on my community, but rather were suggesting that

>my estimate isn't formal enough?

No, that is also not what I said.

I called it "handwaving" and I mean "handwaving".

First, I firmly belive that just the salary expenses of implementing,
ignoring or otherwise dealing with leapseconds, in what we can call
"the non-astronomer world" exceed your puny estimate every single
damn time we have a leap-second.

Second, therefore I have long time ago said that if the astronomers
thought this was a real problem, they should send a proposal saying
"Give us $CALL and we'll shut up and support you" for some Finagle
adjustment of $CALL big enough to make it worth your while.

But thirdly, I have a hard time finding more than a single astronomer
who belives this is a Big Freaking Technological Catastrophe.

Most of the ones I have talked to, admittedly mostly europeans,
claim that this is no big deal, since they already cannot use UTC
as Earth orientation estimator, without the fetching DUT1 and other
earth orientation data from IERS over the internet also.

For years now, we have heard your continuous thunder about how "all
of astronomy would be badly affected", but appearantly you cannot
even get these likely doomed astronomers to give a reasonable precise
estimate of the impact ?

Anecdotal evidence could seem to indicate, that might be because
most of them found it easier to just preemptively fix the issue,
if it even existed in the first place, than to join your sentimental
crusade for Astronomys Proper Role In Timekeeping.

So yes, by now I do consider your dire forecasts of economic
ruin unsubstantiated handwaving...

Or to put it more bluntly: You and what army ?


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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