[LEAPSECS] Toasting Unix timestamp 1234567890

Magnus Danielson magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org
Sat Feb 14 12:02:21 EST 2009

Dear Rob,

Rob Seaman skrev:

> Magnus Danielson wrote:


>> However, celebrating 1234567890 seconds of time_t makes no sense at

>> the time that time_t reads 1234567890 since it is not the number of

>> seconds from the reference epoch, it is a form of "mock seconds" to

>> make the scales fit.


> Is that really a good reason not to celebrate a silly milestone on a

> Friday afternoon? :-)

Yes, since it occured evening time here, in my time-zone... all 4
events... you could have crammed them into one party.

> This is like the inane debate about whether the millennium was New

> Year's Eve 1999 or 2000. The real answer is to celebrate both - as a

> reason to have a most excellent party, that is. If forced to choose,

> pick the earlier event since that preserves the second opportunity as well.

Whatever arbitrary numerology cause you to be happy, go for it. OK?

It's like the leap second. I notice that they go by, but I actually
spent the time seeing a good movie and find it in the logs afterwards.

The point here however is to point out that time_t is not necessarily
what you may think it is.

>>> I think it's clear that Unix time has the well-established naive

>>> mapping to some form of UT. You can pick UT1 or UTC, giving answers

>>> that differ by a fraction of a second. Anything that secularly

>>> counts other than 86400 per UT day isn't Unix time: this includes

>>> counting either UTC or TAI seconds.


>> It is naive yes...



> From Dictionary.com:


> naive -adjective

> 1. having or showing unaffected simplicity of nature or absence of

> artificiality; unsophisticated; ingenuous.

> 2. having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information;

> credulous: She's so naive she believes everything she reads. He has a

> very naive attitude toward politics.

> 3. having or marked by a simple, unaffectedly direct style

> reflecting little or no formal training or technique: valuable naive

> 19th-century American portrait paintings.

> 4. not having previously been the subject of a scientific

> experiment, as an animal.


> The little dig here, of course, is that Zefram means naive with a

> definition something like #1 and Magnus is asserting #2.

I think you should consider that my statement covered several senses as
listed above rather than asserting that I was only meaning one of them.

Be careful not to act as a judge of what others actually meant, you
yourself might have not fully understood what they meant, but you can
have an interpretation of what you think they meant. Also, none of us
consulted the particular dictionary that you choose and selected some
particular meaning of the word naive, so explaining what we said by
using that method is not particularly helpful.

> However - there is real value in preserving simplicity of design as with

> definition #3. Zefram's explanation is succinct and accurate. UTC is a

> flavor of universal time. UT is phase-locked to the Sun.

The definition of UNIX time_t has varied. There have been a wish to keep
things simple and for "most purposes" useful. The POSIX time_t is a
compromise with side-effects. Regardless of which time_t definition the
side-effects cause head-aches and we need to be aware of them. To cure
some of these additional interpretations can be found. The time_t is not
as good time-scale as people imagine and this we need to know and deal
with it.

Darn, I just discovered yeat another interpretation of that the time_t
could be... isn't very helpful, now is it?

While simplicity is a beautiful thing, over-simplicity may cause
horrendously complex problems at a later stage. I think time_t suffers
from this to some degree.

> Meanwhile, while we chat amiably, the ITU is treating the whole world

> like #4.

Well, if you mean that we have not experienced the stop of leaps seconds
and that we should not be frigthened by experience the stop of leap
seconds from experience it the first time, then I think I agree with
you, since this is how that form of the term naive is used for animals
during treatment, their use is to be interpreted as "they are just to
become experienced, so they will no longer be naive". The naiveness lies
in the lack of experience of what to come from say firing the stun-gun
and is mainly used in a concerned way.

If you meant that ITU is treating the rest of a world as a experiment as
such I think it is not covered by that meaning.

What meaning you had interpreted to naive in the #4 sense I am still not
quite sure, but I think I have some guesses from your previous posts,
yeat again I cannot be completely sure.


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