[LEAPSECS] LEAPSECS Digest, Vol 45, Issue 1

Rob Seaman seaman at noao.edu
Thu Sep 2 15:56:20 EDT 2010

Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

> railroads was what got us timezones in the first place, and to the right people they were fantastically profitable.

It was the railroads that were profitable. The timezones were an engineering response forced on the robber barons by real world constraints. Other such real world constraints were rivers and mountain ranges. The Mississippi River and the Rockies weren't amenable to being defined out of existence.

That the Earth is round was a similar physical constraint to the gravity that held the steam engines on the tracks.

> If you want to keep leapseconds, all you have to do is come up with the business case. And vice versa.

Precisely. "And vice versa." The ITU proposal should be paired with an engineering plan that considers the full range of issues. These include economic issues, but also aspects of physical reality too often neglected by short term business motives.

For example, GPS represents a rich (in all senses of the word) cluster of business niches. And yet the proponents of the effort to redefine UTC appear to deride GPS timekeeping even more than leap seconds.

E pur si muove

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