[LEAPSECS] Cost: getting rid of GMT & discontinuing leap seconds

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Mon Oct 25 00:50:32 EDT 2010

On Oct 24, 2010, at 6:30 PM, Warner Losh wrote:

> And what are these other time scales available today?

I suppose it depends on what "time scale" means. Start with all the zone times, of course. Then all the scientific time scales, TT, etc. Engineering time scales - if one is pedantic, anything with its own clock defines a time scale - or anything containing an oscillator of any sort, for that matter.

>> I personally find it weird that the keepers of the atomic clocks apparently want to (also) kill off TAI (International Atomic Time).


> Interesting, but not relevant.

The motivation of those pursuing the redefinition of UTC is relevant.

> UTC is the only game in town, for all practical purposes.

We likely have different definitions of "practical", and different ideas of the scope of the word "all".

> It is the only one broadcast world wide in real time,

Well, yes - for those who dismiss GPS as an option. Also, let's not completely ignore the original notion of UTC to convey realizations of both UT1 and TAI. It doesn't seem a step forward to throw out two of the three.

The Earth itself is the most robust timekeeper (if not most regular).

> it is the only one that will stand up in court.

A contract specifying a different time scale should be enforceable in most jurisdictions.

> Leap seconds make UTC a non-uniform-radix time notation, which is pretty weird.

Our wobbling home does that. Leap seconds are a means to an end. By all means lets consider others.

Define the problem, solve the problem - not the other way round.


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