[LEAPSECS] What's the point?

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Tue Feb 8 16:39:57 EST 2011

Warner Losh wrote:

> How would it be any different than today? Every few hundred years, the government moves the time zone. Heck, they do that now every few years anyway. Each government would be able to move it as they saw fit, or follow other government's leads. If the US move and Canada doesn't, then what's the harm?

A) It would be taking what is currently a doubly indirect pointer and removing the layer in the middle. Dereferencing (converting to UTC) would no longer return a timescale stationary with respect to the synodic day. A robust system with innumerable connections across interfaces and stakeholders worldwide would be made brittle.

B) Detailed expert knowledge would become necessary to answer even simple questions of comparing both clock intervals and Earth orientation questions either in a single place or across epochs and locations. "What year did Queensland shift from NEW-UTC+10h to NEW-UTC+10h30m? No, no! The second time?"

C) As pointed out on numerous occasions in the past, these kaleidoscopic timezones would accelerate quadratically just like leap seconds.

D) It is asserted that interval timekeeping is hard to do. This would make it orders of magnitude more difficult for many classes of use cases. It ain't all about surfing the current instant into a future so bright we have to wear shades. (And I'm skeptical that sacrificing the UTC baby to the dingo on the beach really improves the surfing anyway.)

> I don't disagree that there's no plan.

Another point of consensus!


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