[LEAPSECS] UTC Redefinition Advanced

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Sat Oct 23 01:35:55 EDT 2010

On Oct 22, 2010, at 9:05 PM, Jonathan E. Hardis wrote:

> Now comes the moment of self-appraisal.

This "moment" has come a dozen times before on this mailing list(s).

> Leap seconds have been around since 1972 (IIRC).

Leap seconds are a means to an end. Civil time is (obviously) derived from mean solar time. The ITU-R can cheat for some purposes for some period of time. However, the moon exists, tides exist, the day lengthens. See dozens of previous threads.

> we have had, since 1972, an explosion of digital infrastructure that is designed and built without regard to leap seconds.

Spend even one sentence in the proposal speculating on system engineering issues related to that infrastructure.

> Minutes contain 60 seconds ... period.

An SI second is not 1/86,400 of a day. Pretending it is, legislating it, don't make it so. It ain't brain surgery to collect use cases, discover requirements, write them down, build trade-off matrices, perform sensitivity and risk analyses, and do all the normal system engineering that would be performed by - say - Cisco building another network switch. The ITU-R draft is an embarrassing exercise in avoiding due diligence.

The ubiquity of crappy digital technology is an argument for better system engineering, not for abandoning any semblance for a Hail Mary pass.


More information about the LEAPSECS mailing list