[LEAPSECS] leapseconds on trains

Ask Bjørn Hansen ask at develooper.com
Thu Nov 17 13:57:20 EST 2011

On Nov 17, 2011, at 10:21, Rob Seaman <seaman at noao.edu> wrote:

I've been following the list for a while and seen many examples of communities and significant industries where leap seconds are causing problems (and just stopping them with cause no new friction).

> That you can't imagine that any system or procedure in the modern world might care about Earth orientation doesn't make it so. I'm flabbergasted that the blatant evidence of damage that will be caused to astronomical and aerospace infrastructure is rejected.

Count me in with the uninformed then and please help inform us. (Just to be clear here; I'm completely serious - I understand the general concept of course, but I genuinely don't understand the specific use cases for having leap seconds).

Other than telescopes and some related equipment, I have yet to see an example of industries or communities that'll have problems with no new leap seconds being introduced. Whenever it's brought up, there's just hand-waving about "further inquiry is necessary".

> But that aside, it is also simply the case that this vast panoply of systems is "coordinated" *on top of* mean solar time. [....] Leap seconds are a sideshow. The main event is the redefinition of UTC to no longer be Universal Time.

In my experience the vast panoply of systems is coordinated based on NTP or other similar equipment. Most of which does a terrible job handling leap seconds.

Making UTC not have leap seconds would make it more "Universal" in that the number of systems telling the same time would go up.

Can you (or another participant) give me some concrete examples of stuff that needs leap seconds and don't already have well established mechanisms for adjusting the time output from their GPS or other time keeping equipment appropriately?


Ask Bjørn Hansen, http://askask.com/

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