[LEAPSECS] UTC Redefinition Advanced

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Sun Oct 24 03:29:15 EDT 2010

Jonathan E. Hardis wrote:

> Once you get over the hurdle of allowing DUT1 to be larger than 0.9, many additional possibilities open up. You could concentrate the pain by having a "leap minute" once a century rather than a "leap second" every year or two. Alternatively, you could declare leap seconds 50 or 100 years in advance, which presumably would make their implementation easier and more straightforward.

But this isn't the discussion we've been having for ten years - and we aren't the ones to convince. On this list we have speculated widely on possibilities of all sorts, but the entire time a relentless and inflexible and closed-door campaign has been carried out by nonparticipants of this list to redefine UTC without leap seconds. The consensus of the only public meeting on this topic (Torino, 2003) was ignored. That consensus? Simply: call it something other than UTC in that case. Those ten years could have been much better spent.

> Or, society could decide that having a leap-anything isn't worth the bother.

Society can decide all sorts of things. The real world has a way of having the last say.

Warner Losh wrote:

> While some take that as things are OK with leap seconds, those people that have real-time systems cringe.

It occurs to me that "real-time" is a rather strange term...

...anyway, "real-timey-ness" is an orthogonal concept to the timescale used. One has to question whether any software system on Earth can be regarded as trustworthy if leap-seconds (purely a representational issue - see previous threads) are a lost cause. As science and technology professionals, should we have patience with a line of reasoning that proceeds from the premise that technology is crap?

...and should a group that fancies itself the "precision timing community" really be pinning all its hopes and dreams on subverting UTC and decommissioning TAI? Truly bizarre.


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