[LEAPSECS] Skepticism

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Thu Dec 30 21:04:36 EST 2010

On Dec 30, 2010, at 5:06 PM, Jonathan E. Hardis wrote:

>> NO ONE is advocating a perpetual drift apart between atomic time and "universal" time (sundial time).

On Dec 30, 2010, at 5:49 PM, Greg Hennessy wrote:

> What do you base this on, since I think the ITU proposal is exactly that?

...the precise wording lacks focus. Leap seconds are precisely the mechanism that allows the current expression of atomic time (TAI) and the current expression of universal time (UTC) to drift apart perpetually. (Where there is a lot of interesting physics in the meaning of "perpetually".)

I think we can take the intended assertion to be "NO ONE is advocating a perpetual drift apart between <redefined UTC> and <some expression of mean solar time>".

Actually, it's an interesting assertion no matter what it is based on. To feel the need to make such a statement is a "statement against penal interest", that is a recognition that such a perpetual drift is unacceptable. I agree - it's unacceptable and should be addressed in any proposal to change the status quo.

One more time...leap seconds are a means to an end. If you don't like the current leap second scheduling policies, there are other options. Of course, these other options may not trivially permit TAI to be deprecated. Laziness is not a justification.


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