[LEAPSECS] Saint Crispin's Day

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Mon Oct 25 16:58:19 EDT 2010

Steve Allen wrote:

> On Mon 2010-10-25T12:23:52 -0700, Rob Seaman hath writ:

>> Managing the timescale wasn't originally a politically process.


> Sure it was. [...]

Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

> That should have put any compentent astronomer on notice that these

> "broadcast" timescales were governed by irrational telebureaucrats

> and that they can would not be trustworth for scientific astronomy.

I stand corrected by both Steve and Poul-Henning.

> I can still not see how astronomers can credibly claim to think

> that UTC, as broadcast, is a suitable timescale for them.

Heretofore the "UT" in UTC has meant "Universal Time". Universal Time has been the general equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time. Factions of the ITU-R seek to change this whether or not astronomers are particularly good politicians. In fact, astronomers require the use of several timescales including UTC and TAI. It appears that both are not long for this world.

By all means, repeat the question (again). "I'm a trifle deaf in this ear. Speak a little louder next time." (Gene Wilder)

Steve Allen wrote:

> So it remains possible that the delegates to WRC 12 will modify the

> existing draft proposal to abandon leap seconds in the broadcasts by

> changing the name of the ITU-R time scale. That is a matter of

> political will.

Short of convincing 26% of the delegates to vote no (delegates who may not at this point know they are going to be delegates and who are likely completely unaware of the existence of this mailing list), Poul-Henning's telebureaucracy will do what bureaucracies always do.

So - assume UTC is a dead loss. Then what? It appears that the ITU-R is uninterested in planning for the results of their actions. Others will have to pick up the slack.


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