[LEAPSECS] Saint Crispin's Day

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Mon Oct 25 14:50:01 EDT 2010

In message <09B6E6AF-6426-4068-A4A8-F4ADE644A571 at noao.edu>, Rob Seaman writes:

>On Oct 25, 2010, at 8:28 AM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:


>No. Diurnal rhythms are more pronounced than ever in human systems

>and processes. Allowing these to drift is a poor engineering choice.

Yes, indeed. It has been nothing but trouble for us that the usual
human circadian rythm is a couple of hours longer than 24 hours the
planet currently cares to rotate in.

I am sure that a second every other year makes all the difference in
this context.

>> The suns position in the sky has nothing to do with this, that is

>> in the hands of the local(-ish) politicians who legislate your

>> timezone.


>I'm skeptical that leaving much if any responsibility in the hands

>of local politicians results in a net good to humanity :-)

Well, that remains to be seen, it is however, how things are legally
arranged around here, and so far it seems to be the least bad of the
possible alternatives.

>By all means, however, assemble materials related to your notion

>that timezones can provide an acceptable substitute.

They seem to have done a damn good job for 120 years now, including
quite a few changes to them, caused by such diverse events as
marriages(!), wars, unions, more wars, and even tourism.

In fact, I have yet to see a single shred of evidence that they would
not be more than able to cope with the problem, particularly Chinas
wanton diregard for solar position in the heavens seems to indicate

>> PS: You still have not answered my question: Why did you use UTC

>> when you knew it was the wrong timescale for your astronomical

>> applications ?


>I've answered several times. Your premise is wrong. Astronomers

>often use universal time. UTC is currently an acceptable approximation

>to universal time

But you are still not answering my question:

How could it ever be considered good design to embed a politically
controled timescale, subject to lots of valid scientific criticism,
into the design of astronomical equipment ?

Clearly, that is negligent design, isn't it ?

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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