[LEAPSECS] Cheating means more planning, not less

David Malone dwmalone at maths.tcd.ie
Sun Dec 28 14:38:47 EST 2008

> Firstly: The history shows that almost any violence can be done to civil

> time so long as everyone agrees to it. DST shows that sociology can trump

> astronomy. (Standard time shows the same thing, but DST's arbitrariness

> makes this fact much more starkly clear.) Broad agreement and consensus is

> the foundation of civil time. The way that leap seconds work clearly does

> not have enough consensus, in that people still produce software and

> standards and specifications that are incompatible with leap seconds.

This is not a particularly good metric. A lot of people (and systems)
are incompatible with the Gregorian calendar and make every fourth
year a leap year. Similarly, an amount of software was incompatible
with the twenty first century, but we went ahead with that anyway ;-)

(Also, you probably don't need people to agree - you probably only
need people to be able to claim that they agree and have the
disagreement lost in the fuzz. Poul-Henning has pointed out how
this is important in the EU, and I assume it is equally important
in all standards bodies.)


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