[LEAPSECS] tinkering with time ?

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Mon Jan 31 12:38:33 EST 2011

On 01/31/2011 09:17, Stephen Colebourne wrote:

> On 31 January 2011 15:59, Poul-Henning Kamp<phk at phk.freebsd.dk> wrote:

>> In message<12988684-B911-481B-B557-90E55CD736A4 at noao.edu>, Rob Seaman writes:

>>> On Jan 31, 2011, at 1:07 AM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

>>> Is there really a requirement to render the concept of "universal

>>> time" meaningless? Or is UTC merely collateral damage from an

>>> intellectually lazy campaign to "suppress TAI"?

>> There is a desire to see computers work reliably together.

> Is that the only desire driving the abolishing of leapsecs?


> What about the desire for a human day to remain meaningful (midnight

> at night et al)? Is that irrelevent/not considered/secondary?

Keep in mind that the time scales involved for such a drift are measured
in centuries. Also, the rate at which the earth is slowing is
geometrically increasing, so we have the coming quadratic collapse of
the whole leap second solution looming on the horizon well before we
accumulate more than a couple hours of offset.

Humans use timezones, and that is sufficient to keep midnight from
becoming noon for most people. This will keep the day meaningful for
people. People are already used to minor variations in time of day on
the watch vs time of day of the sun (daylight savings time, china
spanning five time zones of area, but having only one etc), so falling
back an hour once every few hundred years or so isn't going to be a big
burden on people. It is a lower cost solution to keeping things in sync.

Navigators and astronomers will just need to track the accumulated
difference to adjust their instruments. They are the only ones that
will have additional costs. Everybody else will have lower costs.


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