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

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Wed Jan 2 15:03:49 EST 2008

John Cowan wrote:

> True but irrelevant,

You may not be alone in finding me irrelevant :-)

> since (with one exception) local civil time is not

> the subject of any international treaties that I know of.

But you were arguing a more absolute position:

> There is and can be no contract, and so non-repudiation remains

> irrelevant.

You seem to find much irrelevancy in the world :-)

So now you admit there could be contracts in the form of treaties. My
job here is done.

>> but are somehow restricted by the ITU from issuing their own leap

>> seconds?


> They could, of course, do so, at the expense of being out of step

> with the rest of the world. It is choice, not compulsion, that

> makes every nation synchronize its LCT with UTC either de jure or de

> facto.

There is only choice in any arena. Compulsion is another word for
"remedy". Obviously an entity with an army can attempt to do anything
they want. (I'll refrain from an irrelevant political statement
here.) The question is what happens economically, politically,
scientifically, technically - etc. and so forth - as a result.

> Apart from the ALHP proponents, the desire of people who want to see

> an end to leap seconds is to redefine the day as precisely 86400 SI

> seconds, and when the discrepancy between MSolT

> (which is not quite LSolT, be it noted) and LCT becomes annoyingly

> large in a particular place, to adjust the local UTC-TI offset

> accordingly,

This notion results in a merry-go-round of timezones sliding around
the planet - including the International Date Line. I'm happy to
accept your arguments about happy-go-lucky localities willy-nilly
redefining their timezones, but as a result this seems a poor
technical foundation for timekeeping in a world in which better
timekeeping will be needed, not timekeeping at the whim of every local
legislature and Presidente-for-life.

NOTE TO ITU LURKERS: Consider here that partisans of quite diverse -
opposing even - positions consider the Leap Hour Proposal to be Absurd
(hence the ALHP). Perhaps you could invest five minutes to consider
what *will* actually happen as DUT1 grows? It's all well and good to
attempt to cheat on solar time, but even the current fractional second
difference between a solar second and an SI second adds up and the
difference is going to grow with time. I won't belabor the arguments
for why the ALHP is unacceptable, but John and I both think it is.
How about developing some coherent and workable plan *before*
dismantling the system we currently have? Note that it isn't just a
static offset, its the slope that matters.

> there is neither legal nor metaphysical necessity for it to be so,

> only convenience.

The fact that we live on a spinning globe illuminated externally in a
way that impacts a myriad facets of our civilization seems pretty
"physical" to me :-)

This may not be convenient, but it remains a requirement we're
beholden to.


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