[LEAPSECS] Straw men

Clive D.W. Feather clive at davros.org
Mon Jan 9 15:31:52 EST 2012

Rob Seaman said:

>> You keep trying to cook the process so that it only winds up with your solution.

> I am not trying to "cook the process". The assertion of the notion that timezones will magically fix "the problem" is rather a confirmation of my point. There would be no problem, no engineering requirement demanding a fix, if time-of-day weren't the same thing as mean solar time.


> That is a requirement. It is a fact about the problem space.

If you're not trying to "cook the process", then stop making this

"time-of-day", as just about everybody uses the term, means "time on the
clock defined by my local jurisdiction". There is *NO* requirement that
this be the same as mean solar time. It may be the case in some countries
at the moment (including, arguably, the UK), but it's not a requirement for
civil time. The fact that many countries or part-countries are an hour or
more adrift from mean solar time proves that.

If you said that people prefer that the middle of the solar night be within
a couple of hours of 00:00 local civil time, I might be more ready to agree.
But that can be met equally well without leap seconds for several hundred
years from now, and then for another several hundred by a one-off
adjustment that, as Ian has already pointed out, is trivial to carry out
and has been done many times in many countries.

> 1) What is the cost of leap seconds?

A lot of programming, much of it wrong. I'll estimate at 2 milliard pounds
per annum.

> 3) There is an assumption - without benefit of any documentation whatsoever - that timezone adjustments can indeed serve this stated purpose.

If "this stated purpose" is keeping local civil time within 2 or so hours
of mean solar time, then it looks pretty obvious to me.

> If this is obvious (I don't find it such), then it should be easy to write a description of how this would work.

(1) Population of area note that sunset is getting earlier and earlier,
so that it's now 19:00 in the summer and 14:00 in the winter (substitute
other times if you like).
(2) Population invoke the local democratic process.
(3) Legislation is passed similar to the British Summer Time Act.
(4) On the appointed date:
(4a) If it's somewhere like India or Arizona adjust their clocks and
watches by the value chosen in (3).
(4b) If it's somewhere like the EU or California, people do absolutely

> a) Please address the northern/southern hemisphere issue.

What issue?

> b) Only a small fraction of the world observes daylight savings, please address what the others might do.

See 4a above.

> c) Please indicate how this addresses the problem of acquiring Universal Time in between adjustments.

What problem? I don't need Universal Time, therefore there is no problem.

> d) And what is the cost of implementing this?


> Currently the zone system is tied worldwide to an underlying mean solar time standard. The notion is to fragment this such that different localities will separately realize whatever synchronization they deem necessary.

That is total nonsense.

Clive D.W. Feather | If you lie to the compiler,
Email: clive at davros.org | it will get its revenge.
Web: http://www.davros.org | - Henry Spencer
Mobile: +44 7973 377646

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