[LEAPSECS] Schedule for success

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Tue Dec 30 14:28:07 EST 2008


On Dec 30, 2008, at 1:57 AM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

> Changing all the other documents and teaching people about proper

> choice of timescales is a proven path to failure.

`The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call
the reality-based community," which he defined as people
who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious
study of discernible reality.'
- an aide to GW Bush, quoted by Ron Suskind, NYTimes


...and at 5:11 AM:

> We can argue until the cows come home, if that constitutes a "valid

> need for UTC" seem from a scientific point of view, but that would

> not change their legal need one iota.

The SI second is sacred because it is "scientific". But UTC is
profane because it is of interest only to scientists.


...and at 5:36 AM:

> Most of the population would consider UTC a fancy way to spell GMT

> and therefore, it is widely understood that outside england the

> latter should be read as the former.

Not only is the meaning of UTC to change, but GMT is to be redefined
as a result.

Also, it's unacceptable to use "universal" in a purely metaphorical
sense, but it's ok that "mean" will no longer have its familiar
definition as a measure of central tendency.

...and at 6:26 AM:

> Yes, it is geekcentric view, and that is because it is the geeks

> who have the trouble with the leap seconds, everybody else just

> ignores them.

Nobody other than geeks has a problem with leap seconds. Geeks are
competent to deal with what residual problems there may be. Therefore
leap seconds must die.

Rather than getting tangled into logical pretzels, why don't we simply
seek a better solution than the ITU's slipshod proposal? Though some
might want to, we can't just redefine the problem out of existence.
Personally, I suggest we start with a careful characterization of how
civil timekeeping fits into the society of people, not just the
society of geeks.


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