[LEAPSECS] Schedule for success

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Tue Dec 30 19:25:41 EST 2008

On Dec 30, 2008, at 1:25 PM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

> Rob Seaman writes:


>> 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.


> We in the "realitybased community" know this to be not true.

Um. It's the rest of us (whatever our positions) who are reality
based. You are in the other category. The quote continues:

"That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued.
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And
while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act
again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and
that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all
of you, will be left to just study what we do."

The assertion has almost literally been that the Earth and Moon, Sun
and stars bow down before the mighty ITU.

Some of us are skeptical. (Google "Ozymandias".)

The ITU proposal is insufficient - as a concept and as a document.
For those who may like the concept, the best way to sell it is to
improve the document. If this were a NASA or NSF proposal, the
referees would reject it as incomplete.

Others might have additional suggestions for improvement, but I would
like to see 1) a convincing explanation of why the Torino consensus
was rejected, 2) an improved mechanism for conveying DUT1 (since the
proposal makes the need much more critical), rather than
decommissioning the mechanism we have now, and 3) a clear analysis of
how the inevitable intercalary corrections will be handled.

(Maybe some of this text already exist as internal work products of
the WP7A, USNO, BIPM, IERS or other organization?)

In particular, those who like the entertainment value of the
perpetually circulating carousel of timezones would be well advised to
document how this might work in practice. This could be a tool to
help convince the holdouts in the working party to change their votes
in your direction.

It is to the ITU's benefit to demonstrate a little humility. Would a
coherent analysis of how the proposal mitigates risks hurt so much to
generate? After all, the announced motivation for making a change is
that leap seconds are risky. Document how they are risky and how
their absence is not. If you think a paragraph is sufficient to the
task, then just add it under the heading "Risks mitigated by this
proposal". No proposal avoids issues simply by failing to note them.
On the other hand, if an issue is truly trivial, it should be trivial
to discuss it.

I will still dislike the concept, but why do you care so much about
that? I'm not a member of WP7A.


More information about the LEAPSECS mailing list