[LEAPSECS] Meeting with Wayne Whyte

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Tue Feb 1 05:09:35 EST 2011

In message <E1PkCoW-0005Fn-3U at grus.atnf.CSIRO.AU>, Mark Calabretta writes:

>OK Tom, I'm prepared to accept those odds. I'll give you $16

>if you correctly predict the date of the next leap second, and

>you give me $850 if I predict the date of the next leap day.

And in extension of the previous discussion about words, I think
this provides us with the correct word to describe the deficiency
of the UTC timescale: "unpredictable".

And anyone who cannot see a pythonesque dialogue in this needs a

A: Well, you see, we have this timescale called UTC, so that
we all can agree what time it is.

B: Brilliant! That sounds like a jolly good idea, what with
all the ships and planes and whats not.

A: Yes, but there's a snag you see. Due to an embarrasing
little misunderstanding in the past, we cannot tell how
long time there is to one year from now.

B: Say again ?

A: Ehh, we sort of don't know how long a year is...

B: Uhm, I mean, February has 28 days (counts on fingers) yes,
28 days, March has 31 days and so on, couldn't you just add
them up ?

A: Ohh yes, no worries there, February and March are no problem
and May is fine too, as is July to November, but June and
December are a bit of a problem for us.

B: (flips to the middle of his desk calendar, counts pages)
Just wanted to make sure, but it seems to me that that June
is 30 days, and as I recall so was it last year, right ?
In fact, I don't remember any year where june wasn't 30
days and I am pretty sure that good old Ms. Wormwood taught
me that this would generally be the case ?

A: Yes, absolutely, 30 days, no doubt about that.
It's more a sort of "how long are the days in June" or
to be more precise, "how long is the last day in June" ?

B: Ohh, I see! The God Ol' Bards troubling you isn't he ?
"Shall I compare the to a summers day" and all that ?

And so on...

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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