[LEAPSECS] What's the point?

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Tue Feb 8 11:50:30 EST 2011

I said:

>> Civil timekeeping is a worldwide system.

Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

> No it is not.

It is remarkable how the most aggressive responses to my posts are when I mention "system engineering" or "best practices" or otherwise suggest that this is fundamentally an exercise in proper system design.

> Nobody can prevent your government or my government from defining local time as UTC + Xh 31 minutes + 41.5 seconds.

Sounds like a good argument for a coherent international process, not for tossing the UTC baby to the dingos.

> UTC is not civil time anywhere,

I understand that you wish to assert that local time == civil time. But you also assert that computer networks worldwide must be synchronized. Is this latter somehow not a civil function?

Local time is layered on UTC

The former deals with local foibles. The latter with global standards. One of those standards is the synodic day. UTC is layered on TAI, which introduces a separate global standard, the SI-second.

The three layers work together. If we're to entertain remodeling the underlying architecture on a fundamental scale then system engineering best practices are the tools to do this.


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