[LEAPSECS] 2007-12-31 23:59:60 Z (sic)

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Tue Jan 1 23:06:12 EST 2008

John Cowan wrote:

> If the Government of Venezuela or any other country changes its mind

> about what the time zone in that country is, no one else in the world

> has a thing to say about it. There is and can be no contract, and so

> non-repudiation remains irrelevant.

International treaties have the force of law in the U.S., I believe,
and presumably in other countries as well. What is NAFTA, but a
contract between nations? So the assertion is that countries from
Sudan to Bhutan can move their timezones around with gleeful abandon,
but are somehow restricted by the ITU from issuing their own leap
seconds? Otherwise, what then is the point of the ITU?

> Civil time is the creation of civil authority, and has exactly as much

> relationship to mean solar time (or universal time, for that matter)

> as the civil authority thinks convenient.

The entire stoopid argument for ditching mean solar time centers on
seeking lock step synchronization - strangely, precisely because we're
deemed too craven to keep our clocks set properly. Here you argue the
opposite - that no possible ties can (or should?) bind our august

"Civil time" is also a term used in multiple ways in this discussion.
Your meaning here is that each country (or even municipality?) can
have a distinct system of time. Clearly something underlies these
diverse local conventions. This common international standard,
accessible to all, is what has been the focus of much of our


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