[LEAPSECS] Coming of age in the solar system

Daniel R. Tobias dan at tobias.name
Sat Sep 4 14:59:35 EDT 2010

On 4 Sep 2010 at 6:22, M. Warner Losh wrote:

> That would be an argument against leap seconds too. When they

> were introduced, they obsoleted all mechanical clocks because none

> of them can handle leap seconds. Even today, the number of clocks

> that can handle them is vanishingly small.

Not really an issue, since the number of clocks that can keep time
with atomic precision is also vanishingly small. Clocks in actual
use outside specialized laboratories typically gain or lose entire
seconds (maybe even minutes) over the course of the days, weeks,
months, and years they are in operation. Even clocks in server-grade
computers are inaccurate in this way. Hence, if keeping correct time
is a goal, one must periodically set the clocks (manually or
automatically) to an external standard, which results either in the
time jumping a few seconds (or minutes if you've waited too long to
reset it) one way or the other, or else the seconds getting
"rubberized" if you smooth the change. Thus, there end up being
discontinuities or irregularities in your timekeeping, even without a
single leap second. Leap seconds just add an occasional addition to
this irregularity. People live with it.

== Dan ==
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